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December 2023

'Tis the Season: Top Tips to Keep Your Dog Calm at Parties

Behaviour & TrainingCommunity

How To Keep Your Dog Calm During A Party

When you’re faced with a situation you expect may be stressful for your dog, preparation is key! While parties can be a source of stress for dogs, with enough careful consideration, you can make the evening far easier on them.

10 Easy Tips To Prepare Your Dog For Guests

1. Exercise is Essential
A tired dog is often a calmer dog. Make sure your dog gets a good long walk on the day or encourage a strenuous play session before the party to help release excess energy.

2. Maintain Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit, and regular routines help them feel more safe and secure. Try to maintain your dog's regular feeding and walking schedule as closely as possible. This will better equip them when they’re faced with unfamiliar situations.

3. Consider Calming Supplements
If your dog is on the anxious side, try a calming supplement prior to the party. There are a variety of calming products available – from treats and supplements which you can add into their food, to calming diffusers and pheromone collars which introduce scents to calm your dog. You can also try a calming blanket, which feels like a hug and helps your dog feel safe and reassured.

4. Create a Safe Haven
Set up a quiet, comfortable area for your dog to retreat to that’s well away from the party. This could be a separate room or a cozy corner with your dog's bed, blankets and familiar toys. Instruct your guests not to bother your dog if they’ve gone to their safe space.

5. Provide Distractions
Dogs are less prone to anxiety when they’re kept busy! Offer your dog engaging toys like treat-filled puzzles or chews to keep them entertained. This can help divert their attention from the commotion. If possible, it’s a good idea to give them something new or exciting to capture their interest and distract them. Try filling a treat dispenser with something of high value or get them a new puzzle (provided you know your dog is safe around puzzle toys and won’t try to ingest the plastic while unsupervised).

6. Praise to Perfection
Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement – if your dog is keeping their cool, reward this behaviour with pats, treats and encouragement! Make sure you keep calm yourself and don’t wind them up by acting overly excited or using loud inflections.

7. Separate if Necessary
On the night, monitor your dog for signs of stress and separate them from the party for quiet time if they need it. This is where you can make use of the safe space you’ve created.

8. Update ID
Ensure your dog’s ID tags are on and that their microchip is up to date. While awful to think about, guests coming and going can result in accidents like gates getting left open and your dog going for walkabout. While this isn’t a nice scenario to think about, it’s better that if it does happen your dog can easily be identified by your neighbours.

9. Keep Your Guests Informed
Let your guests know in advance that you have a dog, especially if they are not familiar with pets. Make sure they’re aware to close gates and doors behind them and discourage them from invading your dog’s safe space if they’ve retreated there.

10. Mind the Menu
Last but not least, familiarise yourself with popular holiday foods which are toxic to pets. If you’ve got a large number of guests, it may be a good idea to avoid certain ingredients if there’s a risk guests could unwittingly feed them to your dog. Grapes, dark chocolate and macadamia nuts for example are all toxic in small quantities, so are perhaps best avoided altogether. Alcohol is also toxic, so keep this in mind in terms of spillages.

Toxic Treats

Did you know that many popular festive foods are actually dangerous for dogs to consume? Read the blog for the naughty and nice list.

Read More

Dog-Friendly Christmas Party Tips

Celebrating Christmas with your dog is a joyous occasion, but it's important to keep in mind their safety and well-being. Here are some tips for a dog-friendly Christmas:

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Secure the Christmas Tree
Ensure that the Christmas tree is securely anchored to prevent it from falling over if your dog decides to investigate it. Consider using a stable tree stand and avoid hanging ornaments too low as your dog may interfere with them if they’re easily accessible.

Consider Pet-Safe Decorations
Choose pet-friendly decorations and avoiding items that could be harmful if ingested. Steer clear of tinsel, which can cause intestinal blockages if eaten, and opt for unbreakable ornaments. Snow Globes are also best avoided, as they contain anti-freeze. If smashed, anti-freeze tastes sweet to dogs and is highly toxic, even in small quantities.

Avoid Toxic Christmas Plants
Many holiday plants, such as poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly, can be toxic to dogs. Keep these out of reach or choose artificial alternatives.

Go Wireless
Keep electrical cords and wires from Christmas lights out of your dog's reach. Dogs may be tempted to chew on them, posing a risk of electric shock.

Avoid Fire Hazards
Be cautious with open flames (which often make an appearance over Christmas due to the popularity of candles). Keep candles up high and out of reach of pets and consider using flameless alternatives to eliminate the risk of fire if your dog knocked them over.