Summer is a great time to entertain. Barbecues, pool parties and just inviting over a few friends to hang out on the deck with a cocktail are fun and relaxing ways to enjoy the season. But there's no need to lock away the pets when friends come calling. Taking a few extra precautions before your company arrives to make sure everyone is safe and comfortable can allow Fido and Fluffy to enjoy the festivities as well. Here are a few things you can do to make your next summer get-together pet-friendly.
Enforce Your Rules
Pets have an uncanny sense of when we let our guard down, and don't feel a bit guilty about taking advantage of our inattention. Be sure to enforce your rules just as you would if you were home alone with your pets. Don't get so wound up in the fun that you lose track of their whereabouts or behaviors.
Be on the Lookout for Pet Lovers
When I entertain, there are usually a few guests who love pets just as much as I do. I take time to introduce them to my pets and maybe even get out a toy or two. Don't be surprised if you have guests who seem more interested in Fido than in the party. The good news is they help keep your pets occupied and out of trouble.
Watch for Non-Pet-Lovers, Too!
Not everyone loves pets like we do, and to some, an enthusiastic wet nose is not something to celebrate. I watch the interaction between my pets and my guests, and if I see that someone is less than excited about having my dogs around, I intervene and change up the environment.
Time Their Dinner to Coincide with Yours
I have found food to be the biggest cause of stress for me and my dogs at a party. Most of the time, it's because my guests feel obligated to share their tidbits with my pups. Without turning it into a big production, I try to subtly let it be known that they don't get table food. Although that doesn't completely alleviate the problem, it does help keep it under control. I also postpone my pets' normal dinner time so that they eat at the same time we do. That keeps them out of the area during the prime temptation hour.
Be Mindful of Food, Drink and Trash Placement
When designing the entertaining space, try to only use tables that are high enough to be out of your pets' reach. A half-eaten burger resting on a low deck table can be too much temptation, even for a well-trained dog. Clear dirty dishes often, and make sure trash receptacles are prominent and convenient.
My dogs are always an important asset to my parties. They add entertainment and character, and quite frankly, have rescued a few get-togethers that might otherwise have bombed! Just be sure to watch the interactions closely, and always be prepared to adjust your plans if needed.
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