From the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association
Hosting Parties and Visitors
Visitors can upset pets, as can the noise and excitement of holiday parties. Even pets that aren’t normally shy may become nervous in the hubbub that can accompany a holiday gathering. The following tips will reduce emotional stress on your pet and protect your guests from possible injury.
- All pets should have access to a comfortable, quiet place inside if they want to retreat. Make sure your pet has a room or crate somewhere away from the commotion, where your guests won’t follow, that it can go to anytime it wants to get away.
- Inform your guests ahead of time that you have pets or if other guests may be bringing pets to your house. Guests with allergies or compromised immune systems (due to pregnancy, disease, or medications/ treatments that suppress the immune system) need to be aware of the pets (especially exotic pets) in your home so they can take any needed precautions to protect themselves.
- Guests with pets? If guests ask to bring their own pets and you don’t know how the pets will get along, you should either politely decline their request or plan to spend some time acclimating the pets to each other, supervising their interactions, monitoring for signs of a problem, and taking action to avoid injuries to pets or people.
- Pets that are nervous around visitors should be put it in another room or a crate with a favorite toy. If your pet is particularly upset by houseguests, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions to this common problem.
- Exotic pets make some people uncomfortable and may themselves be more easily stressed by gatherings. Keep exotic pets safely away from the hubbub of the holidays.
- Watch the exits. Even if your pets are comfortable around guests, make sure you watch them closely, especially when people are entering or leaving your home. While you’re welcoming hungry guests and collecting coats, a four-legged family member may make a break for it out the door and become lost.
- Identification tags and microchips reunite families. Make sure your pet has proper identification with your current contact information – particularly a microchip up-to-date, registered information. That way, if they do sneak out, they’re more likely to be returned to you. If your pet isn’t already microchipped, talk to your veterinarian about the benefits of this simple procedure.
- Clear the food from your table, counters and serving areas when you are done using them – and make sure the trash gets put where your pet can’t reach it. A turkey or chicken carcass or other large quantities of meat sitting out on the carving table, or left in a trash container that is easily opened, could be deadly to your family pet. Dispose of carcasses and bones – and anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings, bags and packaging – in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash container outdoors (or behind a closed, locked door).
- Trash also should be cleared away where pets can’t reach it –
especially sparkly ribbon and other packaging or decorative items that
could be tempting for your pet to play with or consume.
When You Leave the House
- Unplug decorations while you're not around. Cats, dogs and other pets are often tempted to chew electrical cords.
- Take out the trash to make sure your pets can’t get to it, especially if it contains any food or food scraps.