While excessive handouts or inappropriate holiday foods are often the cause of bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, stress can be a huge factor. Our schedules take on lives of their own—we’re on the go more, overloaded schedules disrupt households and last minute remodeling set everyone on edge. Then there’s travel and guests. Pets, like humans, “swallow” their stress. We see it in digestive issues and possibly escalating to self-mutilating chewing and licking. Take precautions to maintain your pets’ meal schedules, a diet of healthy foods, regular exercise and try to give extra attention with positive attention and gentle grooming. If your dog or cat is prone to digestive upsets, consider adding probiotics and other digestive therapies to support them through the holidays.
Cats depend on set routines. When interrupted, they become very resourceful. If access is blocked to their favorite litter box by an accidentally closed door or even guest activity, your cat may seek another solution. It’s not intentional, it self-preservation. Expecting guests and your cat uses the guest bathroom? Introduce another box in a quiet location prior to their arrival. Make sure it has a protected entrance and egress for you and your cat. If it’s hard to get to, you’ll avoid cleaning and your cat will not use it. Don’t decide to change litters if other household stressors are present. Because stress is one of the leading causes of urinary tract disorders and often presents as house-soiling, learn the warning signs and contact your veterinarian or an emergency clinic immediately if you think your cat may be in distress.
If your cat or dog finds themselves in a scary situation, they have two primary responses: flight or fight. With guests coming and going, deliveries arriving, repairmen invading, or you disappearing for days on end, your pet may show stress through new, even scary behaviors. While it’s a natural instinct to coddle and soothe when your pet is scared and fearful, they may not respond as you’ve come to expect. If possible, seclude pets in an isolated room or area with familiar things—separating them from commotion and preventing an accidental slip out the door. Don’t reach and grab for them. In fact take extra precautions handling them to prevent injury to yourself or them. If your pet has anxiety, perhaps one of the many natural medicines available for stress or behavior issues may be beneficial. Be sure to use formulas specific to a dog or cat and discuss all therapies with your veterinarian to avoid complications with current medications.
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