Irene

Holiday Stress and Weight Gain Affects ALL of Us–Humans AND Animals

In animals, cats, diet, dogs, exercise, fitness, health, holiday, nutrition, weight gain, wellness on November 24, 2011 at 2:10 pm

It’s easy to forget, but holidays can be just as tough on our animals as they are for us.  We always see an enormous amount of advice geared toward humans (I’m even teaching a class this Tuesday evening) on getting through the season–but what about our furry friends?

Parties, long days, late nights, houseguests, travel, separation from owners, and more can wreak havoc on the well-being of our pets during the holidays.  Signs of stress might include stomach upset, scratching, shedding, growling, restlessness, avoiding eye contact and more.

I spoke to some veterinarians and experts.  Here are five tips to help you get your pets through the Thanksgiving to New Year’s period happily and healthfully.

1.  Keep their routine as close to normal as possible.  Make sure they get plenty of sunlight and stimulation.  If you know you’re going to have a long day, ask a trusted friend– someone your pet knows and likes–to walk him or her, or even use your lunchtime to go home to spend a little time with them.  You can also employ a pet sitter, but just be sure the animal knows him or her beforehand.

2. Plan Ahead. “This isn’t the time to introduce someone new to your pet,” said Jillian Pagano, DVM, West Chelsea Veterinary in New York City.  Be sure to plan ahead.  If you think you might need some help during the holidays, be sure your pet is familiar with any pet sitters, groomers, dog walkers, or day care.  Ask a lot of questions and leave instructions and phone numbers.  Don’t be embarrased about asking questions–pet sitters expect it– but if anyone seems annoyed by them…well….you have your answer to not use them!

3.  Make sure there’s a special room, or area, where your pet can go to get away from it all if you have houseguests or if you’re having a party.  Include any special items, such as blankets, toys, water, a few grains of dried kibble, maybe an article of your clothing.

My Westie, Baxter, loved his crate so much I always kept it with the door ajar so he could go in and out as he pleased. Baxter saw the crate as his  room, a place of his own where he could get away from it all.  Once I had a house full of guests so he just let himself into the crate—and shut the door with his nose.  “Did he just do what I think he did?” asked one of my guests.

4.  Monitor diet.  Avoid table food, and a good alternative is to put a handful of dried kibble in your pocket so you can give a grain as a “treat.” “They really only care about being rewarded” said Dr. Pagano, “They don’t care about the types of food or the amount—the reaction will always be the same.”

When you buy pet biscuits or treats, read the labels as you would for your human family.  You want to be sure the crude fat content is very low, or non-existent.

Added Liz Luboja, the practice manager at West Chelsea:  “Overeating can also lead to things like pancreatitis—and we often see an upsurge of this on the days after Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

Whatever you do, don’t forget also that some food items can be toxic to an animal, namely chocolate, onions, raisins or grapes.

5.  Exercise.  This is a must, both physically and mentally, as it will help stimulate them and get them through any stress.  How much should your pet exercise?  “It really depends on the breed and the health of the animal,” said Dr. Pagano.  Generally, you may want to walk your dog ½ hour or a full hour a day. If it’s a cat, try to aim for five to 15 minutes of play.

Note:  My holiday wellness and nutrition coaching class will be Tuesday, November 29, from 6:30 to 7:30.  It is completely FREE.  For more information, and to register, please visit:  www.eating4achieving.com and e-mail me at: irener@eating4achieving.com.

For my pet blog, please visit:  www.furryfriendshavefun.wordpress.com.

 

Advertisements
  1. What did you use to design your blog? It’s really awesome can you send me an email and let me know?

  2. very nice submit, i definitely love this website, carry on it

  3. All I can say is keep it up. This blog is so needed in a time when everyone just desires to talk about how a lot of men and women someones cheated on their wife with. I mean, thanks for bringing intelligence back to the web, its been sorely missed. Wonderful stuff. Please keep it coming!

  4. I must say, youve got among the greatest blogs Ive seen in a long time. What I wouldnt give to be able to generate a blog thats as interesting as this. I guess Ill just need to maintain reading yours and hope that one day I can write on a subject with as considerably understanding as youve got on this one!

  5. I hope you never quit! This is among the greatest blogs Ive ever read. Youve got some mad skill here, man. I just hope that you simply dont lose your style because youre definitely among the coolest bloggers available. Please maintain it up since the world wide web needs someone like you spreading the word.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: