Preparing Pets for Holiday Visitors
Holidays are stressful for everyone, including your pets. If you’re into the whole “impression management” thing (and I admit that we tried for years, but have long since quit caring), you know that there’s not much you can do about the chewed up couch (other than a well-placed blanket) or those pet beds scattered throughout the home, but there are things you can do to make visits from neighbors and friends less stressful for you and your pets. This article is devoted to the introvert in all of us!
In this article, we focus on trying to keep our pets from jumping on visitors (easier than you may think), properly introducing our pets to company, training children on how to approach and work with animals, and keeping everyone (as well as your home) smelling fresh.
Post your Priorities
Hang your favorite sign at the door so that everyone knows not only that you have pets, but also the right of way. It’s also good to remind people that the cats should never be let out (no matter what they tell you) and that your pets live with you, but visitors are temporary. These are a few of the signs we like.
Introduce Your Pet Properly
If you have new visitors in the home, you should introduce them to your pets properly. Here is a guide on how to introduce your pet to strangers. This is particularly important when dealing with children, so be sure every child who enters your home is aware of the rules of the roost – this is a fun graphic that you can use to teach kids the rules of pets. Print it, share it, post it. It’s important. You don’t want to wind up taking some other person’s child to the hospital (or end up in a lawsuit) because a child didn’t know how to handle your pets. (Download a PDF here)
Teach Basic Commands
Kids and pets are very similar in that they need to understand basic courtesies.Things like “don’t jump” and “no rushing visitors” and “no licking” and “don’t sniff everyone’ are things that your pets should be pretty familiar with. Here is our list of the top 5 commands every dog should know. The most basic command is to teach your pet not to rush the door – and lucky you – we have an instructional guide on that as well!
Another important thing to teach your pets is how to ignore the doorbell (read how to do that here: Training Tips: Training Dogs to Ignore the Doorbell). Otherwise you’re going to make yourself crazy during the holidays (and let’s face it – criminals rarely use the doorbell).
If you’re short on time (because training does take time), you can try a shortcut. Personally, we like to use Stop! Quiet! Off! Dog Training Spray which is a spray bottle containing an all-natural, herbal solution that is designed to get a dog’s attention through smell. It smells wonderful to us, but dogs don’t like it. Simply spray towards them (actually, once you use it once or twice, you will only need to pick up the bottle) during unwanted behavior such as jumping or rushing out of cars or running towards people. We also like the canned air approach (don’t use either of these for highly sensitive dogs!)
Eliminate Your Pet’s Anxiety
- Keep your pet exercised. This is the most important thing you can do to have a well-behaved dog. We highly recommend checking out PetZen as they are our choice for stimulating exercises you can do with your dogs that will keep your pets healthy and inspired. Not only do we at PetsWeekly recommend them, but so does the US Army, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Pet Obesity Prevention association, America’s Vet, and Best Friends Animal Society. Trust us – you need to get involved in their comprehensive program.
- Use Anxiety Wraps: Anxiety Wraps are perhaps the best way to eliminate anxiety on an emergency basis. There are two brands we can confidently recommend. One is Thundershirt , the other is AKC Calm Anti-Anxiety and Stress Relief Coat for Dogs, Medium . Both will work wonders in keeping your dog or cat calm while company is here for the holidays.
Keeping pets smelling great (without baths)
If you have a dog that tends to be a bit stinky no matter what you do, utilize scent neutralizers so you don’t have to subject them to frequent baths. There are a few safe sprays and treatments we can recommend for use during the holidays (or any day). Check out these quick fixes for smelly pets:
- Nootie Daily Spritz: We like the Warm Vanilla Cookie, Japanese Cherry Blossom, or Coconut Lime Verbena (our personal favorite).
- Wahl Odor Neutralizer: This eucalyptus spearmint spray smells great and is not harmful to pets. It also leaves coats feeling soft and smelling neutral. Check out our review here.
Keep Home Smelling Great
We have several ongoing things that we use to keep our home odor-free:
- CritterZone Wall Plug-in Pet Air Purifier: This tiny wall unit is easy to move from room to room. You can buy them on Amazon, or you can save yourself $10 by using coupon code: PETSWEEKLY and ordering directly through CritterZone.Here’s our review of the CritterZone – we honestly can’t recommend this product enough and feel confident in saying it will be the best $80 you have ever spent!
- Blueair 403 HepaSilent Air-Purification System: If you have friends or family who have allergies, this is an excellent unit that removes allergens from the air. Run it continually and you’re air will be recycled each hour. Learn more by reading our review here.
For quick cleanups from over-excited pets, try these amazing products:
- OUT! Pet Stain and Odor Remover: This is a great product for quick cleanups from over-excited pets
- Zero Odor General Household Odor Eliminator Spritz lightly throughout home for a quick refreshing scent of clean.
We hope this helps you prepare your pet for visitors this holiday season!