Although we love them, well-meaning family and friends may not be as pet savvy as we are, so make sure your pets aren’t set up for disaster when guests come for a visit!
Dedicate playtime just for you and your dog or cat BEFORE company arrives, and then let the kitties in particular retreat to a quiet back bedroom with safe toys to keep them out of mischief — scratching post, kitty tree, kong or chew toys for dogs, maybe even quiet music or a radio to drown out noise coming from the boisterous humans.
Know how your pet reacts to people and noise, and if you feel he can make a brief appearance, by all means, let him join in the fun. Remind children (0-99) not to bother pets when they are eating or sleeping, and to never pull ears or tails. If kitty’s ears and whiskers go back or your pup utters a low gutteral warning, it’s time for socializing to cease. There are various interactive toys on the market to keep your pets busy while safe in a separate room, so investigate and keep them stress-free. Aromatherapy products such as Canine Calm by Earth Heart Inc. may take the edge off for dogs while Rescue Remedy is safe for most cats.
Pets in a room full of company can easily escape out an opened door or window so give guests a few rules about keeping your home secure such as making sure they close all doors and gates behind them. Let them know that your pets are part of your family and mean the world to you, so that they’re paying extra attention to your furry family member’s safety!
Stress the importance to visitors of closing guestroom doors as well, or at least keeping suitcases zipped to avoid pets sniffing out medications, sugar-free gum (xylitol poisoning) or anything else they should not consume. Meds & Xylitol are on the Top 10 Lists of Toxins dogs consume and meds are also on the cats’ list!
Resist serving hors d’oeuvres with toothpicks that could be dropped and consumed by your pet, and ask company to kindly NOT feed Fluffy or Fido. Most of the time humans feed pets off their plates those they themselves don’t want — fat, gristle and skin which although your dog or cat may enjoy, could cause Pancreatitis and a visit to the Animal ER. Have “approved” pet treats available so that guests can “make friends” with your dog or cat and give them something that won’t mess with their diet.
Supervise, supervise, supervise, and keep your best pals safe!