Cats and dogs are generally well-behaved when it's just you and the family at home, but it's a completely different story when you're having guests over. Whether you're hosting a fancy dinner party or a casual backyard barbecue, pets can stir things up and stress out everyone involved. Read on for tips on how to wrangle your furry friend when you're entertaining guests.
1. Advise guests ahead of time.
Close friends and family may know about your pets, but for those who are visiting your home for the first time, a heads-up is appreciated. They'll probably find a poodle adorable, but some people are afraid of larger dogs. If you let them know in advance that you have a boisterous pup (and assure them that he's affectionate), they'll know what to expect.
2. Exercise them beforehand to tire them out.
Play with your pets before the party so they can release all of their pent-up energy. Take the dogs out for a round of fetch and let the kitties chase that toy mouse around. By the time the guests arrive, your pets will be calmer and will probably be more interested in sleeping.
3. Consider putting them on a leash.
If you know that your dog will make a run for the door as soon as it opens, consider putting him on a leash. This will keep him safe, even with the door constantly opening and closing as people start coming in. It also prevents him from jumping around and becoming too boisterous as you greet your guests.
4. Pet-proof your party space.
If your pets are allowed to roam, make sure that toxic food such as chocolate and nuts are out of their reach. Candles, tinsel, and ribbons can be harmful and potentially fatal when ingested, so take extra precaution when using these items for decoration. Keep breakable items like glasses and vases out of reach so that they don't accidentally knock them over.
5. Prepare a room where they can retreat into.
If your pets are used to other people and trained in basic commands (like "sit," "stay," and "heel"), then it's business as usual. But if they get nervous around strangers, it's better to have a room where they can stay during the party. Leave them some food and water, as well as their favorite toys. Check on them every now and then to make sure they're okay. This is also helpful in case you have guests who are afraid of dogs.
Pets are part of the family and you don't want to make them feel left out in their home, however, you also want to make your guests comfortable and at ease. Try these tips when you have a party so that everyone - you, your pets, and your guests - have a great time.