Should they stay or should they go? The holidays are full of friends and family and of course your four-legged bestie falls into that description. However, there are dangers lurking when booze, chaos and many people passing through are on the menu. Guests are a break in the normal routine. Depending on your dog, the guests might be perceived as friends or as trespassers, but in both cases they are a change. Not all dogs respond well to crowds and some guests may have issues with a dog so by following a few helpful tips you can avoid any awkward moments.
There are the physical risks:
- Being stepped on.
- Going outside through a door that is inadvertently left open and ending up in the road.
- Being hit or kicked by wild limbs during a racaous game.
- Consuming something unhealthy that drops on the floor or that a well-intentioned guest offers—including alcohol.
There are also psychological risks:
- It may be too loud.
- Your dog may panic if unable to locate you.
- The amount of activity may be overwhelming.
- Loud or unusual behavior by guests may cause stress in the dog.
- Staying up later than usual may be problematic.
There are many solutions for making sure that dogs do not suffer because of a party at their house.
- They can visit friends or family members and avoid the party altogether.
- They can be taken to a professional boarding facility.
- If they are comfortable with it, they can spend the party cozy in a crate in a closed room.
- They can be put in a closed room without the crate.
If you decide to let your dog join the festivities:
- Keep the food and drinks far out of reach. Many holiday parties include chocolate treats and alcohol, both big no-no’s for a dog. If these items are in places a dog can reach you put his health at risk. To play it safe, keep all food and drinks high enough up that your furry friend can’t get at it and tell your joker friend not to slip him any sips of eggnog (believe us, someone will try it!).
- Put his collar and tags on. If you usually let your dog roam the house sans collar now is the time to put it back on. With a home full of party revelers you can never anticipate how your dog will react to loud noises and if his dog collar isn’t on it can be very hard to restrain him. With his collar on at least you have the ability to quickly grab it and hold him back from doing something regretful. And with his tags on, should he escape to the neighbors yard, they’ll know where his home is.
- Assign a Sitter. Another option is for the dog to be under the watchful eye of a sober sitter constantly watching them to make sure that the dog is protected from any party dangers. This is a big job, similar to watching a small child. It is not enough for the person to just casually attend to the dog. That can lead to a situation in which someone asks where the dog is and the answer is something like, “Hmm, he’s around here somewhere,” which indicates inadequate supervision.