Preparing your Pet for the Christmas Celebrations

Bury-based dog home boarding business Digs for Dogs has issued a list of tips to help owners prepare their pets for the new noises, sounds and sights that come with the festive period.

Debbie Pomfret, owner of the Tottington-based business explains more:

“After months of planning the festive season is finally here. With it comes one of the busiest – and noisiest – times of the year. While this is exciting for us humans, it’s not always the case for our canine companions.

“With more people about, unpredictable noises, strange smells and bright lights – not to mention the New Years Eve fireworks, it’s no surprise that according to the RSPCA, 45% of dogs in the UK show signs of fear during this time.

“With a dog’s hearing estimated to be 4 times more sensitive than ours, it’s essential that owners understand how distressing this can be for pets, and put plans in place to reduce their anxiety.”

Here at Digs for Dogs, we’ve put together our top tips for helping our dogs over the next few weeks:


Alter your routine

You may need to take your dog out a little earlier than normal to avoid party-goers. Large groups of people, excited children and bright Christmas lights could be frightening for your pet, so be mindful of this.

If you do come across groups, cross the road if it’s safe to do so and keep a firm grip on your dog’s lead – even the most passive pet may respond unusually if startled.

On Christmas and New Years Eve, take your dog for a super long walk early in the day, so they will be extra tired when the celebrations begin.


Build a den

Create a safe space – or den – for your dog to retreat to if they become unsettled. Pick a quiet room and make it comfortable and warm, filling it with your pet’s bed and favourite things such as toys, blankets and treats. For extra benefit, you could add an item you’ve recently worn so they can identify that familiar smell.

If your dog is crate trained, a blanket over the top will add an extra layer of security – and if not, a blanket over a table top will do the same job.

It’s really important that your dog is able to move around the den freely and leave whenever they wish, to prevent them from feeling trapped.


Try sound therapy

It can be beneficial to slowly acclimatise your dog to new noises. The theory is that with a gradual build up, the animal will become desensitised to distressing sounds, such as fireworks.

The Dogs Trust have partnered with vets Sarah Heath and Jon Bowen to offer a “sound therapy for pets” treatment programme, which can be downloaded for free with full instructions.

On the big nights, cranking up the TV or Radio a few more notches than usual can be a great distraction. And believe it or not, you can even download doggy relaxation to add to a chilled-out atmosphere.


Carry on as normal

As a caring owner, you’ll probably already be well aware that your dog can pick up on your moods. Your natural instinct is probably to give your dog lots more fuss and extra cuddles – yet, however well intentioned, this may actually make things worse.

Your dog will quickly pick up on your nervous energy and sense that something is different – so if you act as you usually would and keep calm, your dog is more likely to stay calm too.


Speak to the professionals

If you know your dog is likely to show signs of extreme phobia, speak to your vet in advance. They may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication in the weeks running up to the events, or maybe suggest a plug in or spray to help soothe your pet with the release of pheromones.

There are also a number of natural remedies which you can try to help calm your pet which you can buy from a pet shop.

Never give your pet any form of medication or remedy without first consulting your vet.


Digs for Dogs is a great alternative to kennels, providing doggy holiday homes for dogs with a loving Home Boarding Family whenever owners can’t be there. They also provide a range of Pet Services for dogs, whether it’s a daily walk, a home visit for puppies and elderly dogs, pet taxi services, holiday house visits or a doggy day trip to the beach in the summer months. The company also offers a franchise opportunity for dog-lovers looking for a career change, who want to start their own home-based business. For more information visit

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