The holiday season can be stressful for everyone, even our pets! Especially if those pets aren’t party animals. If you’re planning on having people over, it’s important to set expectations for your guests and prepare your pets to ensure everyone has a holly jolly time.
Weeks before your company is due to arrive, designate an area in the house where your pet is comfortable. This will become their “safe space” when guests arrive. Before your gathering begins, let your dog or cat check out any changes to the house (like party decorations or sleeper couches pulled out for guests). Your four-legged will likely want to sniff anything new to see what all the fuss is about.
Create a safe space for your pet
The same clingy pets that get separation anxiety when you leave the house can also become overwhelmed with too many visitors. Your best bet is to learn how to make your cat comfortable and how to calm your dog when visitors come to your home.
Both dogs and cats need a safe place where your guests won’t pay attention to them. You can make your bedroom off-limits to party guests so that your pet has a calm, familiar spot to hide. If your pet is very skittish and doesn't want to be around people at all, set them up in a quiet, safe space with the door shut. The laundry room or a bathroom that guests don’t use make great safe spaces.
Baby gates and crates also come in handy to separate your pet from the action. Since music is calming, drowning out your Aunt Gertrude’s voice with a soothing playlist is a good idea. Puzzle toys and KONGs are also great distractions for your pets! Even if you aren’t having a large gathering, give your pet time to adjust to any new people inside the house, especially if they are staying overnight.
All safe spaces should have your fur baby’s necessities:
- litter box or pee pad
- food and water
- a comfy bed
Advice for guests
- Tell your guests to pay attention to your cat’s or dog’s body language. This will help your guests determine if your fur baby would like attention, or if they would rather be left alone. This is especially important when dogs and cats are exhibiting symptoms of anxiety.
- Never leave small children unsupervised with pets.
- Ask your guests not to feed your dog or cat any treats or table scraps unless you’ve given them the okay.
- For small parties, give each guest a dog treat when they arrive, and show them how your dog will perform a trick for a treat. This will help your doggo associate guests with a positive feeling and a chance to show off.
Best of luck for your next paw-ty!