One of the great things about the holiday season is all the time spent with friends and family. If you are a dog owner, or if you have friends that are dog owners, planning a dog friendly party is a wonderful way to change up the routine.
Planning a dog-friendly party does take a bit more planning than a human only party. However, with just a bit of advanced planning and preparation, you can be sure your gathering will be a hit with two and four-legged guests alike.
To help in the planning and preparation, here are some important do’s and don’ts for the holiday season.
Things to Do
- Invitations in advance – make sure that you provide plenty of advanced notice for your invited guests. A unique idea is to address the invitations to the dog and indicated the dog should bring their humans along. Ask for an RSVP so that you can keep an eye on the number of pets and people given your space.
- Choose your guests – this is always a bit tricky, but if you know people with aggressive or highly anxious dogs or dogs that are not socialized, inviting them to a party with lots of dogs, people and activity can be too much for the dogs to handle. Instead, plan to meet with these people and their pets in a more comfortable setting for the dog such as at the park or maybe going for a walk together to celebrate the lights of the season.
- Plan the food – there are lots of healthy options for dog-friendly snacks and treats that can be out is special “treat dishes” throughout the house. These will need to be clearly marked as “Dog treats” and should be placed well out of the range of dogs of all sizes that may be attending.
- Consider paper and plastic – rather than being very formal with the dishes and utensils for the human guests, go with paper and plastic. This will eliminate the risk of broken glasses or plates and the possible risk of dogs with cut feet.
- Plan some events – setting up a fun agility course in the basement or planning an evening of caroling with the dogs along builds in something to do for people and their pets.
Things to Avoid
- Don’t burn candles – burning candles and excited dogs are never a good combination. There are amazing looking LED candles that offer the flickering look of flames that are very safe.
- Christmas ornaments at dog level – while your dog may not grab the garland or chew on the tree lights and decorations, other dogs may. Take the time to remove all decorations that are lower than the reach of the largest dog in attendance.
- Plants of concern – holiday or even houseplants can be a risk to dogs. Make sure all plants are out of reach or put in the spare
Talk to your friends and family and find out if any dogs (or people) have food restrictions or other issues that you need to be aware of when planning your party. Remember, keep it fun and plan to spend time enjoying your guests, taking great pictures and starting a new dog-friendly holiday tradition.