Hey-it’s a holiday. Let the good times roll! Maybe not for everybody. Some pets get badly unsettled and engage in unhealthy and dangerous behaviors because they’re nervous or scared. The racket from people they hardly know, moving around in their house can be a major fear trigger. Anybody coming near a stressed dog can cause her to raise her lips, growl, and maybe lunge and snap. They can be quick as a snake.

For overwhelmed dogs it’s all about fear and a sense of overwhelm. It might seem natural to manage potentially dangerous behaviors with a stern reprimand or even physical punishment. But startling or intimidating an already scared dog would worsen her defensive reactions. It would also damage her trust and the bond with her leader.

Dogs can stay busy foraging. Nobody should ever approach, lean over, reach for, or stare at a reactive dog. Giving her the security of uninterrupted scavenging, away from the crowd, makes a big difference.

I hope you find this information useful. You’re welcome to share this video with any of your pet-loving friends. If their pets are nervous during holiday gatherings, well, they’ll be glad for the advice.

Each week I share a short video, a podcast, or a blog to help bring out the best in pets. You can sign up at no charge on my website, drjeffnichol.com. And when you do, I’ll send you my free at-home pet first aid and CPR guide.

Thanks for watching. I’m Dr. Jeff Nichol.