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Pups and Parties Don't Always Mix

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

Some Things to Watch for and Some Tips for a Happy Holiday

Sleeping dog with a party hat

The holiday season is here and that often means parties. However, pups and parties don't always mix.

While some dogs are party animals and love a crowd, most dogs don't enjoy the loud and energetic party scene. And if your humans are hosting a party, there are times even some human guests at your house party aren’t excited about engaging with a dog or other animals.

During the holiday season, party hosts need to keep their pet’s and their guests’ comfort in mind.

Some Pet Party Hazards to Watch For...

Children’s Toys – Dogs chew. That’s what we do. If a child’s toy is around, then odds are it will end up in our mouth. But not all children’s toys are pet friendly. They can have small parts that get swallowed and lodge in an animal’s intestine.

Balloons – The balloon may be harmless to humans, but not to pets. When they pop, the sound can frighten animals and the left over balloon bits become choking hazards.

Toothpicks, Giftwrapping, Ribbons and Food Wrapping – These are just some of the items that get left laying around and can end up being swallowed. The end result being a trip to the veterinarian to remove whatever is lodged in our digestive system or mouth.

Alcohol and Party Food – Foods that are served at parties can be toxic to animals. For example, cookies, cakes and other sweets with xylitol can make a dog sick, because xylitol is toxic to dogs. Other foods like raisins, grapes, onions and chocolate are also toxic, especially in large amounts.

Alcohol is also toxic to pets. During holidays, veterinarians see more cases of alcohol toxicity or alcohol poisoning in animals. Either household pets accidently are exposed to accessible glasses or bottles of alcohol laying around, or irresponsible party guests feed it to the dog or cat.

Crowds & Party Noises – Loud noises like fireworks and music can raise a pet’s anxiety levels. Likewise, crowds of people or groups of children can really overstimulate a pet. When overwhelmed or feeling territorial an excited dog may scratch, snarl or bite a person. Even the most well behaved dog can become reactive when they feel threatened or anxious.

Open Doors – With people coming and going, doors get left open. That’s when a pet can get out and get lost. Often when a dog or cat bolts for the door during a party, they are looking for an escape route and a place to relax. The minute they see an open door, they are likely to take the chance to run for it.

Tips for a Happy Holiday Party with Your Pets

Remind Your Party Guests of Your Happy Holiday House Rules. It’s completely okay to give a friendly and brief reminder of your house rules when they come over. Most guests appreciate knowing the household dos and don’ts when they come over. So, take the opportunity to give them a friendly reminder about pet safety.

Don’t leave alcohol or food, especially toxic food items, at snout level. This seems obvious, but it’s easier said than done. Some party guests may not have pets or be used to living with dogs or cats and might leave food or alcohol around.

Set Your Pet Up in Their Own Private Space. While your pet may like being around their family, they may not like to feel crowded. Setting up a private space for your pet with their bed, favourite safe toys or crate is a good idea. At first your dog or cat may wonder why they can’t join, but once they hear all the noise your pet will likely be thankful.

Don’t Leave a Child or Children Alone with Your Pet. Not all children know how to behave around an animal or have the capacity to respect an animal’s space. Children should never be left unsupervised with an animal. If a child or children want to play with your pet, then ensure that they are being supervised by an adult who can spot the signs of stress in an animal.

So, take the time to plan for your pet’s safety when you are hosting a holiday party. That way, everyone can have a happy and safe holiday.

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