There are several holidays in a year, and households grandly celebrate some of them through home parties. These are the perfect opportunities to gather family and friends for some good food and other fun activities. For families with pets, naturally, the furry four-legged ones are included in the festivities.
However, vets point out that home parties are not always the best situations for pets to be in. These gatherings tend to overload the animals’ senses. Plus, parties present a variety of temptations and triggers that could agitate them.
As such, to make your home parties safe for pets, here are six simple tips to throw dog-friendly home parties.
1. Create a Safe and Quiet Spot for Your Dog
The frequent ringing of the doorbell as guests arrive, the delicious scents wafting from the kitchen, and the crowd of people moving around your home can prove to be too overwhelming and stressful for dogs, especially a new pup. All of these can send your dog into a loud barking fit, and he may even bite unfamiliar people.
To prevent this from happening, create a safe and quiet spot for the furry ones, and perhaps secure him with a leash. If you have family and friends who want to play with the dog, get them acquainted with the four-legged one first in the safe room. Have them bring treats to get friendly with your pet (so, make sure to order a fresh set of snacks or dog food online).
If your dog doesn’t seem to stress over new friendly faces, you can gradually integrate him into the party. But, keep him on his leash, just in case he gets too excited. The leash will help you keep your dog under control. You can then take him back to his quiet and safe room until he calms down again.
2. Never Leave Sweets Lying Around
One of the most common practices for home parties is to make candy and other sweet goodies accessible to everybody. Quite often, you will just dump chocolate and candy in a big bowl or plate for everybody to pick from. This is a big no-no if you have a dog happily mingling with everybody.
The colorful wrappers and the sweet scent of the treats can be difficult to resist for Rover. It’s better to place these treats in jars with a cover. They will still be accessible to your guests, but you can be sure that your dog wouldn’t be able to get a share.
Not only that, be sure to inform your guests, especially the little kids, that it’s not safe to give the dog anything sweet. Chocolate and xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free candy and gum) are toxic to animals. But, if you want to make it easier for children to become friends with your pup, set out a jar of healthy treats for the dog, which the little ones can take from when playing with your pet.
3. Say No to Candles
Candles make pretty sources of illumination for home parties, but they can be quite dangerous to have around if you have a happy pet mingling with the guests. Your dog (or even a cat) can easily knock candles over with his wagging tail. Besides that, food-shaped and scented candles are even worse; a lot of pets like to lick and nibble on them, too.
Replace traditional (as well as cute food-shaped) candles with battery-operated ones if you can’t do without their aesthetic contribution. Or, opt for other fun lights that have a similar glow to your candles but are much safer to have around when you have a crowd at home and a jolly animal taking part in the fun and frivolity.
4. Have a Dress Rehearsal
If you like dressing up your dog for important occasions, make sure to conduct a test run first. Inspect the outfit for potential problems such as loose embellishments that your pup can chew or choke on. Likewise, see if your dog doesn’t get irritated wearing the attire.
Pet professionals recommend opting for loose-fitting styles of animal clothing and avoiding heavy fabrics like wool and fleece, especially if your dog’s already quite furry. Likewise, ascertain that your pup won’t have much difficulty moving in his outfit and that the clothing doesn’t have pieces that cover your pet’s ears or eyes, and tangle with his legs.
As for pet dog supplies such as collars and tags, it’s better if there are no noisy parts such as bells or charms that tinkle together, which can annoy your pup.
5. Decorate Your Home with Care
Holiday festivities aren’t complete without decor, but some decorations can be pet hazards. For example, a lot of Halloween decor is quite dangerous for cats and dogs. Avoid decorative items that have a lot of loose glitters, such as those decked-out pumpkins, because the small glitter used for them can block the air passage of small animals if ingested.
Another typical decoration that’s not safe for animals is fake cobwebs. According to animal care experts, cats and dogs can end up eating these, and the material for fake cobwebs can cause intestinal problems in pets.
Christmas trees can be an issue as well because of the wide variety of ornaments hung on it, which never fails to catch pets’ attention.
This doesn’t mean that you need to do without decor for your home celebrations, though. Just decorate with care by placing everything out of your dog’s reach. At the same time, make sure not to leave your pet alone in a heavily decorated area of your house.
6. No Feeding the Dog Straight from the Table
Lastly, when everybody’s ready to sit down at the table for dinner, set your dog’s meal as well. It’s best to keep the dog preoccupied with his own meal while all the guests are enjoying dinner. This can help prevent the furry one from begging for treats from the spread for humans.
Also, instruct everybody not to give your dog treats or scraps from the table because human food is often too rich and hard to digest for canines.
A pet dog is definitely a member of the family, and while it’s nice to make him a part of all the party activities, it’s more important to look after his well-being using the tips shared above. These are the best ways to ensure your pet will be around to celebrate even more dog-friendly home parties with you in the future.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear, and Rogz.