A dog licking the grillWe know how to party in Chicagoland, especially after a long, cold, gray winter.  When the sun’s rays first make their appearance, we can’t wait to get outside and enjoy them with family, friends, and, of course, our pets. Summer activities may include a family visit, your boss’s barbecue, or a friend’s doggie birthday party. Learn how to celebrate safely with your pets this summer using proper etiquette using these tips from the Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center!

Dear Miss Manners… How Is Your Pet’s Party Etiquette?

You know your pet better than anyone else, so only you can determine whether he or she should participate in the particular festivity. If your pet is overly excited or could use more training, maybe taking Fido to your boss’s barbecue isn’t a good idea. Is your pet overly anxious, shy or aggressive? If so, make sure there is an out-of-the-way location for your pet to chill out rather than forcing him or her to be the life of the party.

No uninvited guests. Don’t show up at a friend or family member’s house or party with your dog unless you’ve confirmed that it is okay. Don’t just expect your friends or family (or their other guests) to be happy about the uninvited guest.

Leaping lizards. Nobody wants to be knocked over at the front door by an overly excited dog – even a cute one. If you can’t manage to keep your lively dog from jumping up on your guests as they arrive, or your host’s guests, it may be time to re-think having your pet on the invite list (or at least the welcome wagon).

Curious cats. While you may not mind Fluffy hopping up on your kitchen counter or kneading your knees as you chat, guests might feel differently. Find an alternate location for a curious kitty, such as an upstairs bedroom or home office, with a door that can be closed.

Leash love. You know how well your dog behaves (or doesn’t) off leash. Have a leash handy in case it is needed, especially with all of the party excitement. If the party is located at a local park, check to see if the park requires a leash.

Say no to begging. Remove your dog or cat from the party if you can’t keep him or her from begging. Or consider having a small container of pet-safe treats ready for those who just can’t resist your pet’s “puppy-dog eyes”.

Paw patrol. It is considerate to take wipes along to clean your pet’s paws before tracking dirt into your host’s house. It also helps to avoid tracking dirt into the house if your dog play in their yard. If you’re hosting others’ pets, you may want to have wipes handy.

Clean up. Be prepared with plenty of plastic bags and be watchful to clean up any messes left in the yard or park by your pet.

Safety First for Pet Guests

If your party animal will be joining in on the party fun, a little planning can help you create a safe and fun environment for your pet.

Tasty temptations. Many of the mouthwatering delights we associate with outdoor dining are toxic to pets. Make sure you keep your pet away from the following foods:

  • Onions and garlic
  • Grapes
  • Avocados
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Overly fatty foods and chicken skin

When in doubt, do not give any human food items to your pet or others’ pets. You never know how a pet may react to any given food, so it’s better to err on the side of caution.

Well-meaning guests. Sometimes it’s not always the pet that needs etiquette lessons! Be aware of well-meaning partygoers slipping table scraps to begging pets.

Tempting trash. Watch what non-food items you or others may throw out. Items such as foil, string, skewers, and plastic wrap can be interesting to pets, but can wreak havoc if ingested. Even corn cobs and fruit pits pose a danger if they can become lodged in the intestinal tract. Make sure to keep all garbage away from pets and in covered containers at all times.

Last But Not Least…

In the fun and commotion of a party, accidents happen and your pet could escape or become lost. Be sure that your pet is wearing his or her collar or harness with ID tags and if you have not had your pet microchipped, be sure to do so before you begin this season’s outdoor celebrations. Contact the Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center with any questions.

Have a safe and fun summer with your furry loved ones!