Super Sunday typically equals several hours logged jumping up and down on the couch, shouting at the television, and consuming mass amounts of waistline expanding substances that lead to a serious calorie overdose, all while a befuddled pet looks on. Pets aren’t passing judgment as they watch the party’s outrageous antics. They are simply imploring you with their eyes to take care of their special physical, mental, social and emotional needs, which in turn, will surprisingly help pet parents avoid the dreaded Monday morning, “Big Game” hangover.
Here are some helpful tips to avoid overdoing it on game day.
TIP #1: By recording halftime commercials you can take care of your pet’s physical and social needs by taking a quick trip to the dog park. Not only will this provide your pet with the exercise it needs to care for its physical health, it also provides social benefits for you – pet owners have a tendency to want to talk with other pet owners. Plus, February 14 is coming up and if you don’t already have a Valentine, you may find one at the dog park. And for those worried about missing the second half of the game, opt for an activity closer to home like a walk around the block or a rousing game of fetch in the yard.
TIP #2: Fans will consume some 11 million pounds of chips and 450 million chicken wings on game day, which makes this America’s second biggest food consuming day of the year behind Thanksgiving. Guests may be tempted to sneak these fattening foods to pets, but people food can be harmful, particularly chicken wings, which pets can choke on. Do pets a favor and offer healthy, pet-specific treats like Nature’s Variety’s Instinct grain-free chicken biscuits so pets can share in the big game spread. Plus, antacid sales see a 20 percent increase the Monday morning after the big game, so follow suit with nutritious snacks for people to ensure that no guests’ physical health suffers.
TIP #3: When the action gets intense and fans are on the edge of their seats, take a moment to pet a furry friend. Giving a pet some love strengthens the human animal bond, provides for a pet’s emotional health needs and studies show it has even greater benefits for people. The hormone oxytocin kicks into high gear when petting an animal, helping to reduce blood pressure and decreasing cortisol, a hormone related to stress and anxiety. Even stopping to watch fish swim will make a difference in your mood. And if your team is on the losing end, therapists have been prescribing pets for years as a way to deal with depression.
TIP #4: Create a quiet place. Loud party voices and booming music can make pets anxious. Even well-socialized animals are likely to be pushed beyond their limits. To take care of pet’s mental health, make sure pets have a restful room or area to which they can retreat. And if you’re getting particularly worked up, it may be good for you to have a timeout from the game too!
For more information on caring for a pet’s physical, mental, social and emotional health, visit: www.petco.com/wholepets.
Dr. Debra Horwitz is an animal behaviorist and Dr. Marty Becker is known as “America’s Veterinarian.” They have partnered with Petco to translate for your pet and share these ‘game day’ tips. Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice that make it easier for customers to be great pet parents.