SOURCE: PetSmart


December 01, 2009 09:00 ET

Keep Pets Off the Naughty List This Holiday Season With Tips From PetSmart

PetSmart® Expands Online Pet Behavior Guide for the Holidays

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - December 1, 2009) - Whether battling the frightful weather outside or carefully hanging stockings by the chimney, 71 million U.S. households face the seasonal struggle of balancing parties, travel and decorating with the day-to-day care and affection their pets require.

This holiday season, PetSmart partnered with noted animal behaviorist Dr. Suzanne Hetts to update its popular online guide to pet behaviors, If Your Pet Could Talk, with practical ideas and suggestions about the gifts and activities that will make and keep pets healthy and happy during the holidays. The guide contains new quiz questions, videos and one-on-one exercises designed to help pet parents continue to enjoy their pets and meet their needs during the hustle and bustle of the season.

RESOURCE GUIDE: Updated If Your Pet Could Talk

"When you are stressed from too many activities with too little time, your pets can feel the effects," says Dr. Hetts, certified animal behaviorist. "Our updated materials on address some of the possible pet behavior changes during the holidays, such as growling, hiding or hissing, while giving pet parents engaging activities designed to relieve stress and have a little fun. Of course, If Your Pet Could Talk also provides gift giving tips on finding the perfect present for your pet. It's not as hard as you may think!"


Keeping in mind the harried nature of the season, PetSmart recommends these five simple tips for a happy and healthy holiday for pets:

  • Cater gifts to each individual pet: Even though pets can't tell you what they want, pet parents know which play behaviors pets love. Give gifts that center on the activities your pet likes.

  • Know the signs of potential pet stress: Certain changes in behavior such as growling, snapping, hissing, swatting, destructive behavior or increased hiding can indicate stress rather than malicious intent.

  • Ensure Christmas trees and other decorations are pet-friendly: Keep Christmas trees in place by anchoring the top of the tree to the ceiling with a strong cord. Hang tinsel and decorations out of reach and cover holiday light cords to keep pets from "snacking" on them and causing serious injury.

  • Nix the mistletoe: While pets surely appreciate a quick smooch under the mistletoe, it can be a danger to their health. Mistletoe, holly berries and poinsettia plants are all poisonous, so skip them as decorations or make sure they are out of reach.

  • Give the gift of time: Simple activities done together like a relaxing walk, snuggle time on the sofa, or teaching a new trick can be the greatest gift given to pets during the holiday season, and may even lessen anxiety or stress for your pets and for you.


RELATIONSHIP BUILDING: Exercises to practice at home

Santa Claws In-Store Event

According to a national PetSmart survey, nearly half of all pet parents plan to include their pets in their family holiday photos. PetSmart offers the perfect opportunity for pets and their parents to spend quality time together by posing for a picture with Santa at PetSmart's annual Santa Claws Photo Event. The event will be held in all PetSmart stores from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 5-6, Dec.12-13 and Dec. 19-20.

Santa Claws photo packages are $9.95 with a PetPerks® card, and $5 from each package goes to local PetSmart Charities adoption partners. Pet parents receive a digital photo of their pet with Santa and an exclusive holiday frame.

*Note: PetSmart stores in New Jersey will hold the event the first three weekends of December on Friday and Saturday. Friday event hours are 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday event hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. New Jersey event dates include: Dec. 4-5, Dec. 11-12 and Dec. 18-19.

For more information about providing pets a happy and healthy holiday, or to talk with a PetSmart expert, call the PetSmart 24-Hour Media Line at 623-587-2177 or visit

For more information about If Your Pet Could Talk, pet parents can visit To learn more about holiday gifts available at PetSmart, visit

About PetSmart

PetSmart, Inc. is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. The company operates more than 1,149 pet stores in the United States and Canada, 161 in-store PetSmart PetsHotel® cat and dog boarding facilities, and is a leading online provider of pet supplies and pet care information ( PetSmart provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and pet products; and offers complete pet training, pet grooming, pet boarding, Doggie Day Camp(SM) pet day care services and pet adoption services. Since 1994, PetSmart Charities, Inc., an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit animal welfare organization, has funded more than $87 million in grants and programs benefiting animal welfare organizations and, through its in-store pet adoption programs, has helped save the lives of more than 3.6 million pets.

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