Whether you're hosting a sophisticated evening with co-workers or having friends over for a fun ugly-sweater party, you have to plan. As a pet-parent, part of the plan has to include what to do with your dogs when guest start arriving.
Most of your friends will probably be used to your dogs, if you have people over on a regular basis. However if you don't often host more than a few people, the situation could get stressful for your dog - and in turn some of your guests.
When planning a get-together, consider the following:
- Will people have to ring the doorbell to get in? Will the door be open for several minutes at a time?
- Will there be many plates of food at an easily attainable level for your dog?
- Will there be lots of food unsupervised?
- Is it a pot luck function where some food might be toxic to dogs?
- Will there be mistletoe (which can be toxic)?
The list could go on, but you get the idea. Holiday parties can be their own beast. Quite often people are coming and going - December weekends can be very busy. The foot traffic alone can get your dog excited. If your pup is a runner, then consider crating or putting them in a completely different room. If that isn't an option, then there is no shame in putting a sign on the door that says "Please keep dog indoors!"
Then there is the issue of food. Lord knows that holiday time is not the season of healthy eating. People bring over all sorts of goodies. The dangerous ones for the dogs include chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) and fruit cakes (these still exist for some reason) that have currants and raisins. If someone brings these over, place them well above dog-level. If it's a gift, then store it in a cupboard before you can regift it to someone else (face it - it was probably regifted to you).
Don't Sweat the Dog Stuff
The important thing to remember is to have fun! This is your party, so don't sweat the doggy-related stuff. If your friends insist on wearing sleek black clothing to your home, they are responsible for getting the dog hair off themselves. (Although there's nothing wrong with having a lint brush handy).
Your dog could even be the hit of the party. There's nothing wrong with letting your pooch mingle about if she's comfortable with new people. Dogs make great ice breakers at social gatherings. Be aware of when your dog is just excited when new people are around, and when she might be anxious. After a while she might just seek you out or head to her bed. As long as she has a place to lie down eventually when the excitement wears off, she should be fine.
And if you want to make your party extra pet-centered, you could always ask your guests to bring over some dog food or a toy that you can donate to a local shelter or pet food bank. Even people who don't have pets can get involved with this type of action.
Holiday planning with pets doesn't have to be stressful at all - just spend a little time planning for a few things and then let yourself and your pet have fun.