7 tips to welcome a new dog into your home over the holidays
During the holidays, family is home and people have more free time. To help ensure a smooth transition, here are some tips to make sure your new dog feels right at home from the beginning.
First impressions are everything: If you know you will have a lot of visitors over during the holidays, make sure to plan ahead for how they will meet your new pet. Consider keeping your dog in a room away from the front door while your guests arrive. Leaving a radio or a TV on can also help create calming ambient noise. Once everyone has arrived and has settled in, bring your dog out for a calm first greeting.
- Play by the rules: Dogs like structure, especially when they are in a new environment. Rules help them understand the new situation in the home and with you. Once your dog knows the rules, he or she will relax and start developing confidence.
- Create a safe space: Adopted dogs sometimes have fear and anxiety in a new home. From the moment you get home, find a place that can be the dog’s safe zone. This needs to be a place where they can retreat if the commotion of guests or your family gets too much for them.
- Get your game on: Some rescued dogs have separation anxiety when they first come into a new environment, so it’s important to have “anxiety busters” on hand. Helpful ideas include food puzzles and problem-solving toys to keep your dog occupied so they don’t get into anything they shouldn’t!
- Know what to do in case of emergency: To avoid stress during the holidays, find the number for your emergency 24/7 vet clinic and keep it handy. It’s also useful to plan out your route so you’re not trying to find it when you’re already panicked and stressed.
- Watch the dinner plates: Guests might think it’s cute when your dog begs at the table, and this could result in them slipping some human food under the table. It’s important to avoid this! A lot of popular holiday human food is toxic for your pets, including chocolate, turkey, sweets and yeast dough.
- Decline the extra pet guests: If your guests want to bring their pets along to the party, politely decline. The holiday bustle isn’t a great time to introduce dogs to each other. Wait until the season settles down so you make sure the interaction is a calm one.
To find an adoptable dog in your area, visit your nearest Ontario SPCA animal centre or visit ontariospca.ca