How To Keep Your Pets Safe When You Are Entertaining For The Holidays

Inviting family and friends into your home to celebrate the holidays is a fun way to reconnect and have lots of fun, but for your pets, there could be dangers. As you make your holiday party plans, do not forget to prepare for how your furry friends might react to having a crowd in their home, suggests Some animals love the extra attention — more people means more hands for belly rubs — but not all pets feel that way. Unfamiliar people combined with extra noise can be anxiety-inducing for your furry friend, and you don't want your fun to come at the cost of their discomfort.

You know your pet's personality best. Do they get along with strangers, or are they a bit skittish? Are they food thieves? Do they want to run outside every time the door opens? These are just a few things to consider when you are planning your party. Regardless of your pet's personality, a little planning can help keep them safe and calm when you entertain during the holidays.

Give your pets a safe space

If your furry friend tends to be nervous around strangers, or if you are not sure how they will handle the situation, make sure you have a safe space prepared. Dogs who love their crates might feel more comfortable in a quiet room that is off-limits to guests. If they like to chew, make sure they have something safe to chew on, like a Nylabone, in case they are still a little nervous about being away from the family. Their favorite toy might also give them comfort, states the American Veterinary Medical Association.

While some cats also like crates, they are generally more free-roaming. To keep your kitty from panicking and hiding somewhere unsafe when guests arrive (and save you the subsequent panic of trying to find them when the party is over!), place them in a separate room inaccessible to guests. Avoid putting them in a bathroom since visitors may accidentally let them out. A better option is a utility room or bedroom in the back of the house that you can close securely. It's also a good idea to put a "No Entry" sign on the door for extra safety.

Watch the door

Dogs who are well-socialized and can join in the festivities are fun to have around, but if someone leaves the front door open, it may tempt even the best dog to explore the great outdoors, according to My Pet. To avoid spending the holiday season looking for your beloved pet, assign someone to watch the door as guests enter and leave. A friendly sign on the door reminding guests not to let the dog out can also be helpful.

Cats can be quite sneaky escape artists and are small enough to crawl around your guest's feet as they enter and leave. If you have an indoor kitty that longs for the outdoors, the safest option is to put them in another room. With your cat tucked away safely, you can fully enjoy the party without worrying about where your furry friend is. And, when the party ends, you rest assured that all your family members are safe and sound.

No table scraps

Many non-pet owners do not know the dangers some human food poses to pets, so they may be tempted to share a few nibbles off their plates. While some foods are pet-safe, others are dangerously toxic, states Hills Pet. Common ingredients in holiday foods like grapes, chocolate, macadamia nuts, and artificial sweeteners can cause death if not treated quickly. Fatty foods, like turkey skin and some processed meats, can cause a serious and potentially deadly condition called pancreatitis. If your pet is going to be part of your holiday gathering, be sure to instruct your guests not to feed him off their plates.

Even if everyone keeps their food to themselves, big or clever dogs may decide to help themselves to your food spread. If possible, keep food out of the reach of sneaky snouts. Little dogs may take advantage of dining room chairs to help themselves to the buffet, so keep anything they can climb on away from food. If you are not sure you can trust your pet to stay away from food, keep them in another room to save yourself a hefty vet bill or worse.

Manage anxiety

For some animals, just being away from the party is not enough to calm their anxiety. Even hearing loud noises from another room can make your dog or cat very nervous, especially if they tend to be generally anxious. There are a few products for pets that can help them feel calm in stressful situations. Fear Free Happy Homes suggests getting a plug-in pheromone dispenser. This product reproduces the pheromones produced by mothers to keep their kittens or puppies calm.

Another option is a ThunderShirt which comes in many sizes for dogs and cats. This product uses the swaddling principle to calm your pet. You can use these pheromones and ThunderShirts any time your pet might get anxious, like during storms or if you are having work done on your home, so they are useful investments even after the party. If you are concerned your pet's party anxiety may be a serious problem, talk to your vet about getting medication.

Keep tags and microchip information up to date

If the worst happens and your pet escapes the party, you can prepare for the best possible outcome by keeping their tags and microchip information up to date, according to Petco. Make sure your pet's collar is properly snug, so it cannot slip off as they slip out of your house. If you do not have your cat or dog's microchip information in their medical records, call your vet to get the manufacturer's name, then contact them to ensure your contact information is correct.

Since you want your sweet family member back as quickly as possible, taking care of this before the party is vital. Vet offices and microchip companies may be closed for the holidays when your pet goes missing, but if your information is already up to date, anyone with a chip reader who encounters your pet can get them back to you quickly. No one wants to spend the holidays worrying, so taking the time to prepare your pet for your party is worth the time and energy.