Preparing Pets for the Holidays: Tips for a Season of Good Cheer

PetSmart offers training tips to help pet parents give their pets a wonderful holiday season while celebrating alongside friends and family

PHOENIXNov. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — As the holiday season approaches, pet parents may be wondering how their new puppy, kitten or recently adopted pet will handle the bustle of activity associated with this festive time. Keeping pets on their best behavior and out of harm’s way is important when guests visit, especially for pets that are high energy, have existing stress or anxiety, or aren’t used to visitors.

For many who welcomed a pet into their home during the pandemic, this may be the first time the pet is gathering with family and friends for the holidays. Fortunately, there are ways pet parents can help their pets put their best paw forward during the celebrations.

“The holidays are a wonderful time of togetherness, but they can also be hectic for pets and pet parents if they aren’t accustomed to having people in their home,” said PetSmart training expert, Jodie Havens, CPDT-KSA. “No matter the age, some simple tricks and training tips can go a long way in supporting your pet during this time.”

Tips for a Stress-free Holiday Gathering

  • Pregame playtime. Before guests arrive, cats and dogs need a way to expend their physical and mental energy. Try taking them on a walk or engaging in a play session before the celebrations begin to help keep them calm and less hungry for active attention.
  • Provide activities and space. To help pets feel included in the festivities while keeping them safe from getting underfoot or jumping on company, try giving them a new toy or long-lasting treat and space to enjoy it. If a pet is stressed or anxious when visitors are over, give them their own dedicated quiet space so they can relax and feel safe.
  • Make manners matter. Ahead of planned holiday gatherings, teach pets some basic etiquette with easy training techniques. Short and frequent table manner training sessions, for example, help pets understand that begging for scraps is a no-no. It’s never too late to teach them these skills, and even older pets can benefit from this type of training.

To get pets holiday ready, PetSmart is here to support everything from training and boarding to grooming. “Beyond helping your pet feel more comfortable while guests are over, there are many other things you can do to help your pet shine during the holidays and make memories together that will last a lifetime,” Havens says.

Training Opportunities
From barking to begging, PetSmart offers an array of products and services both in-person and virtually to help pet parents manage pet behavior. PetSmart’s virtual dog training offers one-on-one instruction with accredited trainers that is a great option for pet parents who want to customize their curriculum and work on their dog’s problem behaviors in the environment where they occur.

PetSmart also offers in-person training options for dogs of all ages and levels to help them learn essential behavioral skills or new tricks. Classes are available to meet each dog’s needs, including Beginner Training, Brain GamesTM Training and even a new Stress LessTM Training, a 3-week program that helps dogs experiencing anxious behaviors related to separation anxiety feel more confident and secure.

Doggie Day Camp and Pet Boarding
The PetSmart Doggie Day Camp™ offers full or half-day sessions where dogs receive expert care, exercise, play games for mental stimulation and socialize with other pups making this is a great option to help dogs work out excess energy before a gathering, or for pet parents needing to run errands and prepare for the holidays.

Additionally, for pet parents traveling away from home this season, the PetSmart PetsHotel® is a full-service hotel for dogs and cats where they will be loved and cared for 24/7 by safety-certified associates and an on-call veterinarian.

Pampered Grooming
No matter the celebration, the PetSmart Grooming Salon leaves cats and dogs feeling and looking their holiday best. Pets receive hands-on care from academy-trained and safety-certified stylists that do everything from baths and blow-outs, to ear cleaning, nail trimming and more. An extra festive touch, PetSmart offers special add-ons so pets can walk out with a holiday bandana and a spritz of sugar cookie cologne.

For more information on how PetSmart can help get pets holiday ready, visit

About PetSmart
PetSmart LLC is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. At PetSmart, we love pets, and we believe pets make us better people. Every day with every connection, PetSmart’s passionate associates help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they, together, can live more fulfilled lives. This vision impacts everything we do for our customers, the way we support our associates and how we give back to our communities.

PetSmart operates approximately 1,650 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as more than 200 in-store PetSmart PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities. The retailer provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and products, as well as services such as dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart Doggie Day Camp™ and pet adoption.

PetSmart, PetSmart Charities® and PetSmart Charities® of Canada work with nearly 4,000 animal welfare organizations to bring adoptable pets into stores so they have the best chance possible of finding a forever home. Through this in-store adoption program and other signature events, PetSmart has facilitated more than 9 million adoptions, more than any other brick-and-mortar organization.