By Dr. Tiffany L Bierer, Scientific Affairs Manager
With the big game just around the corner, it’s time to finalize party plans! One preparation that may be overlooked, though, is pet safety when entertaining. With new people, sights and sounds – as well as many foods and beverages – there are multiple ways for pets to get into trouble.
If pets appear agitated or frightened on party day, it may be better to crate them, at least temporarily. Keep them in a safe, controlled space until people have arrived, the doorbell has stopped ringing and the noise level has moderated. Not sure how to know if your pets are anxious? Check out these dog body language tips and these signs of cat stress.
Many party foods can be toxic to pets, including onions, grapes, garlic, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, chocolate, avocados, diet foods (containing artificial sweeteners) and many nuts. Bones are also a danger because they can cause blockages or perforations if eaten.
Let your guests know there are pets in the house, in case they have allergies or are afraid of animals. This is also a good time to tell guests you take pet safety seriously! Let them know you don’t want your pets to eat people food or beverages during the party. Here’s another resource about pets and food safety.
Pets can be frightened by loud sounds, so watch the noise level at your party. If your pet becomes agitated with loud noises, keep him or her in a secure room away from the activity. Leaving a radio or TV on in that room may help to reduce stress and mask noise.
Have covered trashcans around for your guests. Remind them to throw paper plates, cups and napkins away, rather than leaving them on tables or chairs. Non-disposable tableware should be brought to your kitchen sink or counter. Another part of pet safety when entertaining is periodically walking around the house to gather waste materials that may not have been disposed of properly.
Make sure your dog or cat’s bed or crate is accessible, so they have a place to relax or hide out if they start to get overwhelmed. Cats will generally seek out a safe hiding place on their own. Not sure if your dog is unhappy? Download our Happy Pet Handbook (PDF) for pictures of different dog body language and what it means.
We all have at least one friend who adores our pet. Maybe she wants a dog but doesn’t have one yet. Or maybe he’s known your cat as long as he’s known you. Choose an adult you trust and ask that person to help as a pet watcher during the party. They can help make sure pets don’t eat what they shouldn’t, get into trouble or accidently get outside.
As the party is winding down and people are getting ready to leave, put your pet back in his or her crate or in a secure room. This will help keep him or her from following people out the door. To be safe, though, all pets should be microchipped, in case they somehow get outside unnoticed. This video from the American Veterinary Medical Association gives a great explanation of the importance of microchips.
A little planning goes a long way to helping keep pets safe any time you entertain. We hope these tips help. Have a great time watching the game!
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