With all the food, fun, and football on Super Bowl Sunday, it can be surprisingly easy to neglect your furry friend. But just because it’s the game of the century doesn’t mean your pet can suddenly fend for himself. Petco has some tips for making the balance work:
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.
Since not everyone speaks dog, cat, fish, hamster, or the like, esteemed animal behaviorist, Dr. Debra Horwitz, and “America’s Veterinarian,” Dr. Marty Becker, have partnered with Petco to translate for your pet and share these four tips to avoid neglecting your pet on game day.
TIP #1: By recording halftime and taking a quick trip to the dog park you can take care of your pet’s physical and social needs and still see all the highlights. 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 so they can share in the big game spread without the risk of getting sick.
TIP #3: When the action gets intense and you’re on the edge of your seat, take a moment to pet your 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 decrease 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!