Pets may not realize that for us humans, this is a special time of year. We host parties, go out more often, and keep extra goodies around the house. But while we are enjoying the festivities, our pets might be unhappy or end up sick from eating something they shouldn’t.
As you invite your company over for a party or a multi-day stay in the guest room, you need to think about how your pets will handle the intrusion. Here are some aspects of bringing visitors and pets together that you may not have considered.
● Give your pets a safe place - If you are leaving town for Hanukkah or Christmas, you might be boarding your pets or placing them with friends or family. However, if you have visitors, find a place for your pets to go for a “time out” or to relax away from guests. If your pets are not used to seeing large groups or small children, this space gives them a break from the activity. The space might be a spare room or crate for dogs or even the area behind the couch for a cat. Let your guests know not to bother your pets if they are in these spaces.
● Alert your guests - Those with allergies or compromised immune systems (such as women who are pregnant) will want to know what pets you have so they can take precautions.
● Set some rules - Make sure your guests know not to feed your pets table scraps or holiday treats. Some of these foods are dangerous (see our list of these in a prior post), but many are just unhealthy, especially when each of your guests is offering a bite here and there, which can really add up.
● Teach children to be gentle - This is obvious to most pet owners, but parents without pets may not realize their cute toddler is yanking your dog’s ears or terrorizing your cat. If your guests are not courteous, work with the children on how to pet gently. If that fails, put your precious fur baby in another room.
● Watch for dangerous items - Whether it’s the risky holiday foods or poisonous plants, keep an eye out for things your guests may bring into the house. They may not realize that vase full of lilies is tempting and dangerous for your kitty. Guests may also leave out medications on dressers or other places cats and dogs can reach. The ASPCA has a list of plants hazardous for dogs and one for cats. Monitor ornaments, candles, and tinsel to make sure your pet doesn’t break, knock over, or eat these items.
● Watch the doors - Pets who are nervous may try to squeeze out the exit as people are coming or going. If your pet does not have a microchip, now’s a good time to get one.
We hope you and your pets have a safe holiday season!