I spoke to two dogs and a cat, all from the same family. They were moving from Australia to United States. They were on a plane and then travelled with their animal parent from LA to Michigan; needless to say, a long and potentially stressful trip for the human parents as well as the animals!
All three animals informed me of their concerns, shared their wisdom about the trip and also their needs and wants, which I shared with their animal parents. The parent was in a great position to prepare and care for the two dogs and cat and ensure they are all fine, as relaxed as they can be and arrive safely to enjoy their new home.
During festive seasons, many people will go on holidays, have parties, or find themselves out and about attending parties and family gatherings.
Similar to moving house, events such as holidays and festive seasons, can be very stressful for our animal family members as well; we often forget this. If we do not prepare our animals, they will not enjoy the festive season and may become agitated, may develop anxiety and feel very much left behind.
Here are some tips which may help you and your animal to enjoy these events even more.
1. Tell your animal what is happening
Are you going on holidays? Do you have people coming over? Are you visiting family and friends resulting in being away from home? Whatever you are going to do, make sure you tell your animal what is going to happen, who is involved and whether you include your animal in the event.
It is important to understand that your animal senses what is going to happen, however, may not be sure if they are involved. Explain when your animal is part of the festivities and who is going to be there. If you leave the house, tell them who is going to look after them and when. If you take your animal with you, then explain where they are going, what the environment is going to be like and how they behave in that environment.
Your animal will be much more relaxed knowing you are looking after them and include them as part of the family.
2. Find the best animal carer you can
If you are planning to be away for a length of time, ensure you plan well in advance so you have carers for your animal, whether this is in your own home, with family or friends, or via a kennel or other organisation.
Keep your animal up to date with the planning, so they know that you are doing the best you can to find them carers.Talk them through the process and observe the behaviour of your animal when you mention what you are thinking of doing. Your animal will provide feedback by responding through body language, looks and sounds. If you feel that your animal is not happy with your choice (yes, you can feel this also!), than listen to this feeling and act accordingly, all the time making sure your animal is informed.
Keeping your animal in their own environment will ensure stress levels are kept to a minimum and offers the least interruption in their schedule. If you are looking to have someone stay in your home, a great place to start, without it costing lots of money, could be: www.trustedhousesitters.com. This is a wonderful website with people who love animals and looking after them and your house (personal experience!)
3. Create a safe space during parties
Similar to holidays, we need to prepare our animals for parties held at our own home. If people come over to our house to party and play music, especially with larger groups of people, this can cause stress and anxiety in our animals. To avoid this, we inform our animal before the event and explain what is going to happen, who is coming over and how the animal will be looked after during the event.
We also talk to the people who are coming over, to explain you have an animal, especially if they don’t already know, and talk to them about where the animal is during the party and how to approach them, if they choose to do this.
Ensure you have a safe place for your animal during the party; a place the animals feels relaxed and comfortable, a place they can be completely quiet if they choose to do this and also provide permission to the animal to approach people, if they choose to. For example, a dog may have their favourite bed and toys, however, we may move this to a bedroom if the party is going to be loud, with music and dancing. This way the dog has the option to remove itself from the ‘noise’ and have peace and quiet, however, we explain to the dog, that this is temporary and that his bed and toys will be moved back after the party.
4. Beware of the hot summer days!
As festive seasons are during summer in Australia (and other parts of the world), we also need to remember the hot days animals are exposed to during the summer period. Make sure they have water and a cool place to be. Do not leave animals in a car and then go off and do your thing; make sure they have access to a cool place if you leave them at home for a short period of time and, if you have a dog, make sure you walk them during the cooler periods of the day and take them swimming if you can.
5. We can also use music, essential oils and crystals
In addition to us communicating to our animals and include them in the preparation of festive events and holidays, we can also help reduce any anxiety, stress and confusion by using some alternative healing options:-
some soothing music in the house or just the room they are in can be a great tool to relax our animals;
essential oils are also very popular, such as a Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, Australian bush flower remedy “Calm & Clear”, lavender oil, to name a few of my personal favourites;
crystals are great for your animal to carry with them or have in their sleeping environment. A crystal such as amethyst can work really well to help them relax, calm and feel included.
What do you do to ensure your animal is enjoying festive seasons and holidays?
I am keen to find out how you experience the festive season and holidays using these tips. You may have your own wonderful tips: share your experience via a comment below.
Wishing you and your family wonderful festive seasons and holidays withh lots of fun, laughter and (animal) love!
Feel free to directly connect with me if you have questions or would like support with your animals.