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How to include your dog in holiday festivities

American Kennel Club on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

The holiday season is sure to bring about parties and get-togethers with friends and family. But how can you make sure your party is dog-proofed as well? Here are some tips from the American Kennel Club to make sure your dog, and your guests, have an enjoyable and safe party experience.

Controlling the crowd:

— When inviting guests to your celebration, remind them your dog will be present and will be walking around as the party goes on.

— Even the most well-adjusted dogs can get nervous and/or excited when greeted with large groups of people. Set a calm tone by giving your guests treats for the dog or by showing them how to properly introduce themselves to the dog. That way, your dog will be more familiar with the people who will be walking around.

— If your dog gets excited when people arrive, consider putting them on a running leash so they can’t dart out as guests enter. Once most guests have arrived and your dog has adjusted to the increasing crowd, you can undo the leash.

— Designate a safe area where your dog can retreat from the crowds if he is getting overwhelmed. This is especially important if the celebration is a particularly noisy affair, or if your dog gets anxious around new people.

— Hang signs as gentle reminders on any entry/exit points that your dog could escape from. In the event that someone does leave an opportunity for your dog to run off, make sure your dog is wearing a collar and is microchipped so you can find them again.

Dangerous foods:


— While most people know chocolate is toxic for dogs, make sure your guests know not to feed your canine anything else either. Even foods like grapes, raisins, icing and yes, bones, can be dangerous, so avoid letting people feed your dog entirely.

— Keep food above your dog’s level of access. While side tables or coffee tables may seem like the logical place to keep snacks, food shouldn’t be anywhere in your dog’s reach. If your dog can get to it, even by climbing on other furniture, consider moving it elsewhere.

— Make sure you and a few others are keeping an eye on your dog. That way, you’ll know if any guests are slipping your dog food, and you’ll know where they are at all times, even if someone leaves a door open by accident.

Appearance matters:

— While it’s important for your dog to be well-trained and well behaved when having guests over, they should also look presentable; it can never hurt to bathe and groom your dog before events like these.

— Clean up as much hair as you can if your dog sheds. Pets do carry odor, so consider also spritzing a pet odor eliminator prior to the party.

— Consider giving your dog a brightly-colored collar with its name readily visible, so guests are more aware of them — especially if you have a smaller dog. This will not only remind guests of your dog’s presence, but further include them in the party.

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