5 Tips for a Dog-Friendly Holiday Gathering

Ah…the holidays. They conjure up warm images of getting together with friends and family for merriment and cheer. And because so many of us consider our dogs part of our family, we can’t begin to imagine this scene without them.

However, it does take a little planning to make sure holiday gatherings are just as fun (and safe) for your pup as it is for everyone else. So whether you’re hosting a classic Christmas dinner or throwing a rowdy New Year’s Eve bash, here are a few tips for a pooch-perfect party:

  1. Implement a closed door policy
    With so many people coming and going, it can be easy for your pup to slip out unnoticed. Ask guests to watch for your dog any time they leave or enter. You might even consider making a sign and hanging it on the door as a friendly reminder. To be on the safe side, make sure your pet is wearing a collar and ID in case they do dart out the door.
  2. Dog-proof the decorations
    Most dog owners know that shiny lights and shimmering ornaments can be almost irresistible to their canine companions. But holiday parties take decorating to a whole different level and additional steps should be taken to keep pups safe. Keep lit candles above tail-wagging level and make sure that tablecloths aren’t so low that they can get easily caught on collars. In addition, mistletoe, poinsettias and holly can all be toxic if ingested, so opt for the artificial kind whenever possible.
  3. Doggie delights, not human goodies
    Dogs are just like us when it comes to the delectable dishes that frequent holiday tables. Unfortunately, many of those tempting treats can also upset the canine constitution…or worse! Never feed your dog onions, grapes, raisins, turkey bones, chocolate or alcohol.Instead, set up a separate puppy buffet with things he (and other canine guests) can have, like turkey without skin, green beans, baby carrots and of course, Full Moon treats! Really want to impress? Craft some doggie goody bags for guests who want to take treats home to their four-legged friend.
  1. Play Fido-friendly games
    Many holiday get-togethers include friendly competitions like board games or touch football. Why not have a few that your pup can play, too? Instead of a football, toss a tennis ball around. Or play hide and seek by having one or more people hide and then call to your dog to find them.Tag is also a fun game and helps burn off a few extra calories. Give each player a hand full of treats and then have each person call the dog’s name. When the dog comes, say “tag!” and reward with treats. As your dog gets better at the game, pick up the pace.
  1. Create an escape
    Some dogs are natural party animals. There’s nothing they like better than being at the center of the action. Others, though, can get stressed and anxious around too much noise or too many unfamiliar people. If this is the case, block off a quiet area of your home just for your dog. Provide him with comfy bedding, soft music, food and water. Let guests know that that room is off limits.

With just a bit of pre-party preparation, your four-legged family member will enjoy the festivities just as much as you will!