Tips for Handling Pets During Parties

Parties are a fun break in the routine for humans, but pets don't always understand the disruption.

Take care of your furry family members, and your guests, with our guide to keeping every creature safe and happy at your event.

  • Feeding from the Table: Notify guests that feeding pets from the table is not recommended. Leave small notes on tables as reminders—and keep all food and drink items out of reach.
  • Decorations: Keep decorations out of reach, especially those that contain ribbons or string.
  • Choking Hazards: Be on the lookout for stray olive pits or shrimp tails that have fallen to the floor, namely around the appetizer table and trash can.
  • Drink Mishaps: Clean up alcoholic drink spills immediately so pets don’t come into contact with a potential health hazard.
  • Hostess Gifts: Secure plants and gifts that arrive with guests to ensure animals don’t eat or destroy anything they’re not supposed to.
  • Animal Preparation: Feed animals and exercise them before guests arrive so they beg for food less and become tired and calm quicker. Provide toys to keep them distracted during the festivities as well.
  • Safe Haven: Consider shutting pets in another room that isn’t being used—it’ll save you (and them!) unnecessary stress. If it’s not possible, barricade them into a certain area of the house with a baby gate or chairs. You may want to consider boarding your pet for the night if necessary.
  • More than Cats and Dogs: Cover caged animals with sheets, and seal aquarium lids with tape so people aren’t tempted to put anything inside like fingers, food or drinks.
  • Guest Awareness: Make guests aware ahead of time that pets are part of the household in case they have allergies or a fear of animals.
  • Doors: Keep an eye on doors opening and closing, and be sure all animals have up-to-date shots, tags and microchip information on file at the veterinarian’s office.
  • Behavioral Issues: If pets are mingling with guests, pay attention and immediately curb nuisance behavior like jumping, running, sniffing, biting, scratching and hissing.
  • Flea Problems: Do not invite people inside your home if a flea infestation has occurred. Consider postponing the date, since fleas easily spread from animals to guests.