The holiday season is a time for having fun and celebrating with the entire family, including your companion animals. We know the holiday season can be stressful and we hope your companion animals are able to keep you entertained and merry with unconditional love. The holidays simply wouldn’t be the same without dogs decorating Christmas trees or cats being … well, cat-tastic!

However … we realize that having pets around the holidays isn’t always completely stress-free. Even a nice pet might turn naughty with the added excitement of lots of company and food. They want to have fun too! (Be aware animals might get nervous as well)

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If your holiday caroling has ever sounded like this: “Tis the…NO! Off the table!… season…NO! Get off the tree!…to be jolly…NO! Not on the rug! Falalala…NO! Don’t jump on her! Lalalalala NO! Drop the tofurkey!!” well, perhaps you should check out some tips to keep your pets behaving, so the whole family can enjoy celebrating together!

1. Play With Your Pet Before Company Arrives

Okay, so we understand you are probably busy preparing for guests by cooking and cleaning. But, another way you can prepare is releasing your pet’s energy by letting her/him run around in the yard, taking them for a walk, or playing games. Perhaps then your animal will be tired enough to say a quick hello to visitors and then head off to sleep … maybe …

2. Keep Your Pet in a Room With the Door Closed Until Your Guests Have Arrived

You may then slowly introduce your dog or cat to guests by bringing her/him out on a leash. Meeting new people is so exciting! While everyone likes a happy puppy, being jumped all over can be overwhelming for little kids. Give your pooch a minute to calm down in a safe place beforehand to ensure everyone get off on the right paw!

3. Ask Your Guests to Ignore Your Pet Until They Become Acquainted With Visitors

When people respond immediately to a canine’s excitement, for example, the result is energy overload! Allow your companion animal some time to calm down before pets and snuggles.

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4. Never Feed Your Pet Scraps From the Table

Be sure to let your guests know that you don’t want your animal being fed scraps from the table in order to not encourage negative behaviors. Feeding from the table will encourage your furry pal to beg and steal. This might also lead to some tummy issues for your pet. Check out this list of foods you can and can’t share with your pet – but just to be on the safe side, discourage guests from sharing their meals.

5. Prevent Naughty Temptations

Don’t leave chewable decorations laying around on the floor of your house (ornaments, presents, sweet treats, etc.). In other words, don’t even give your pet the opportunity to be naughty. If there is nothing your animal can find to make a mess with (or consume, resulting in a potential very expensive veterinary visit), then s/he won’t make a mess and everyone will be happy. You may even want to put a small pet playpen around your Christmas tree to avoid tree “accidents.”

6. Watch Wires 

Not only would guests be disappointed in you for letting your animal chew on wires, it is also very dangerous for your pet. To discourage your pet from chewing on cords and wires, coat them with a bitter, non-toxic substance (such as bitter apple) or make sure they are secured out of reach of any curious mouths.

7. Teach Your Pet to Jump on Pillows, Not Laps

Some of your guests may be uncomfortable with having your dog or kitty climb up on them. Train your pet with positive reinforcement (use treats/rewards) to encourage her/him to lay on a pillow instead of a person.

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8. Hire a Professional Trainer

If you are in a time crunch for training and you desperately need your dog to learn basic holiday manners, a professional trainer might be the answer. Important commands you will want your dog to know is sit, stay, and to remain calm in the presence of strangers or familiar company.

9. Relax, Have Fun and Enjoy the Holidays

If you are stress-free, your pet too will be calmer. Be a positive role model for your furry friends and sing along to their caroling!

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Image source: Melanie Levi/Flickr