While some crowd-loving canines (or curious cats) love to be the center of attention during a get-together, others get very stressed. Some pets are highly socialized and enjoy all of the pats and treats, while others are curious or want to take advantage of food opportunities. Other pets may feel anxious or overwhelmed by the noise and the crowd.
This holiday, ask yourself whether your pet should be part of the reveling, or whether you should make other arrangements. Think ahead about your pet and plan how to keep your pet safe during parties while you focus on your guests. Here are our top tips for keeping your pet safe during holiday parties.
Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe During Parties and Other Gatherings
Hosting a party can be highly distracting (if not sheer chaos), so waiting to think about your pet during the event can be disastrous.
- Plan ahead. If you know your pet is averse to loud noise or strangers, you may want to board them or hire a pet sitter. If your pet is anxious or overexcitable, you may even want to administer a mild sedative before the party. Knowing your pet’s comfort level around crowds is key to making the right arrangements for them.
- Create some quiet space. If you want to entertain with your four-legged friend, that is great. However, it is important to have a pet-safe space for your pet to relax in. White noise from a radio, some treats, and favorite items can make them feel more at ease.
- Don’t force it. When the doorbell keeps ringing and new people start pouring in, make sure to introduce your pet slowly. If he is uncomfortable, allow him to go back to his safe spot. Also, don’t force guests to deal with a dog who jumps on them in excitement at the door.
- Keep food and booze out of reach. There are many delicacies served at holiday parties, including alcohol. Alcohol, Xylitol (found in baked goods and candies), chocolate, grapes and raisins, onions and garlic, and other items are toxic to pets. No one wants to leave their own party to rush a family pet to the emergency room.
- Keep pets away from both the buffet table as well as away from food that ends up in the trash. If your pet is likely to steal from guests, remember that guests are distracted and won’t be constantly guarding their glasses or plates.
- Ask partygoers not to feed your pet. Your pet will likely be in full force when it comes to begging. Request that guests do not dole out any treats to pets (even when those big soulful eyes are begging otherwise).
- Appoint a pet guardian. If you are too busy being the hostess, we recommend asking a family member or friend to keep an eye on your pet while you entertain.
- Keep it mellow. You may be the life of the party, with big crowds and rocking music, but this may not appreciated by your pet (or neighbors). Keep invitees to a reasonable number and the sound at a fun but moderate volume.
- Wrap it up. When people are leaving, make sure to watch your pet closely. Many animals escape accidentally through an open door or gate. You may wish to move your pet to another room, like their safe space, when you are saying your goodbyes.
Keep in mind, if you decide this is a two-legged party affair, it is safer to board your pet or keep him with a trusted pet sitter for the night. After all, this will be a lot more fun for your pet and will allow you to cut loose with peace of mind.