Give Your Dog a Break During the Holidays

As we all know, the holidays can get a little crazy sometimes. Between all of the parties, family gatherings, family members coming home from college or coming from out of town, our schedules can get really mess up.

This time of year can be especially stressful for our pets too. They don’t read calendars, they don’t understand holidays and they surely don’t understand what to think of all that noise and people coming and going at all hours. Even the most laid back dog can become overwhelmed when it’s routine is turned upside-down and completely disrupted.

So before all of your guests, relatives and friends begin to arrive, take a few moments to make sure your dog has a quiet place to go so that it can escape the all of the craziness.

Even if it’s just moving the dog’s bed or crate into a quiet corner of the basement or into your bedroom, it can be enough to create a quiet retreat for a stressed out dog.

The first signs that your dog is becoming stressed out is that you will see the dog pacing, panting, licking it’s lips, yawning or just trying to find a place to be alone. Your dog may also become easily irritated or want to go outside or anywhere it can get away from everyone. If you see any of these signs, make sure you do something to remove the dog from stressful situations. If there are young children around, make sure that you ask them to leave the dog alone for a while. Just tell them that the dog needs a nap, break, or even a time out.

So give your dog a break from the holidays … give it quiet place of his own.

Mental Health Days With Your Dog

The hustle and bustle of life can really twist you up and wear you down. Stress is a killer, and is one of the major causes for illness and poor health in adults today.

It is a fact that when you have daily interaction with your pet it offers a lot of calming, mood-enhancing benefits. A recent study found that people with serious illnesses were less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet.

Yes, it’s possible for me to used ACE inhibiting drugs to reduce my blood pressure. But they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. And besides that, I don’t role that way!

In a recent study, a group of hyper-tense New York stockbrokers who got dogs or cats were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t have pets. When they heard of the results, most of those in the non-pet group went out and got pets!

Now I’m no rocket scientist, but this should tell us ALL something! And it shouldn’t take a Mack Truck hitting us to get our attention.

I have personally found that it’s completely impossible to stay in a bad mood when a pair of loving puppy’s eyes are looking into mine. When I get home in the evening it doesn’t matter how bad my day has been. When I walk through that door my focus changes completely. But sometimes it just isn’t enough.

For over 15 years I have been taking one day per month, and used it as something I like to call a “Mental Health Day” … By that I mean: I Unplug, Turn Off, Shut Down, Get Out, and Get Away with my dogs.

This past Sunday was one of those days.

After “sleeping in” for an extra hour or so, I got up. I let the dog out to do “her thing” and announced to the neighborhood that she was out and on-guard. About an hour later I met some friends for a nice leisurely brunch at a nearby restaurant.

Afterward it was back home to relax and unwind for the day. I opened the door, grabbed the leash and we were off for a nice long walk. On our walk we ran into several dogs and their owners. On a few occasions we stopped to chat and swap a few stories. Then we were back on the walk.

At the end of the walk we stopped to visit my next door neighbor who was busy working in his yard. While we talked, we turned our dogs loose to run around the yard and play. We had a blast watching them, and they were having a lot more fun than we were.

Before I realized it, most of the afternoon had passed. But I wasn’t surprised … or upset. I was however, completely relaxed.

After returning home, we went inside. I joined the dog on the living room floor and we played with her toys for awhile. When she had gotten enough playtime she went out to the kitchen for a drink of water. Then she settled down on her doggie bed and closed her eyes.

I made a quick bite to eat and settled into my recliner. I turned on the TV and promptly fell asleep. After a few hours, I got up and went to bed!!!

What a GREAT DAY!!!


NOTE: It is important to note that owning a pet isn’t for everyone. Pets require additional work and responsibility, which can bring its own kind of stress. However, for most, the benefits of having a pet outweigh this extra work. Having a cuddly best friend can reduce stress in your life and bring you support when times are tough.