Follow up on the RSVPs. Plan the menu. Make a list of supplies needed. Clean the house. It seems like everything is taken care of for hosting a party until I remember to think of our furry family members. We recently hosted a large potluck brunch for all ages. There would be about thirty people coming to our home and I did not consider how this would affect our cat and dog. So how do you plan a party with your pet in mind? When you are hosting an event there are many aspects to consider in order to successfully entertain. Having a large group of people or even a smaller sized group over definitely affects your pet.
One important consideration is your pet’s personality. Is your pet social? Will they thrive and be excited at the sudden arrival of people? Or is your pet shy and reserved? Will an arrival of people she doesn’t know be a cause for anxiety?
Also when considering your guest list it is important to think about how your pet behaves toward children. At our brunch there were many children most of whom were five and under. This is the age where most kids are either extremely excited about a pet – think “I want to hold you and love you and kiss you for ever and ever!” or they may in fact be terrified by the pet’s existence. As a mom, I know it is impossible to predict each child’s reaction to your pet but the best thing to do as a pet owner and host is to think about how your pet will react to either of these situations. Will your pet feel overwhelmed by too much attention from a little person? Will your pet feel anxiety if a little person cries when they see them? If either of these are the case, it is important to have a “safe space” your pet can go to where she can have some quiet time alone. It is wise to remind your guest when your pet is in the safe space she is needing alone time and will come out if she wants to socialize.
However – you may also have a wonderful experience! Our Labrador was certainly the life of the party for a little boy who threw a tennis ball for him in the backyard almost the entire party. He definitely made a new friend. Other kids were fascinated by our tuxedo cat who surprisingly did not spend the entire time under the bed. But it is important as a host and pet owner to note and be aware of your pet’s body language. There was a point where I could tell my cat had enough of a toddler’s attention and looked as if she may want to take a swipe with her paw. This is where I intervened and took my cat to a quiet part of the house to have some alone time.
I have been to parties where the dog is put in a spare room or crate or where the cats hide on their own accord. I have also been to parties where people bring their dogs and there is a good sized pack of pooches playing in the backyard during the BBQ. Each home and each occasion as well as each owner have different preferences. I don’t know if it is possible to talk to your animal and prepare them for a huge change in your environment. Because it is their home and when something so different happens it could throw your pet for a loop. Either way, you know your pet’s personality better than anyone. You also know the type of party you are hosting and the guests who are coming. It is something to think about before the first knock on your door.
What has been your experience in hosting parties with a pet? Did your pet become the life of the party or seem anxious and hide? Do you have some tips on how to successfully host an event with a furry friend in mind?
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