How to host a pet safe party

Updated 29 May 2024
Read time: 9 mins
article author
Written by Corinne Homer

For many of us, Christmas and the winter season are teeming with parties and family gatherings. Dogs aren’t the most relaxed when it comes to noisy visitors in their space - even if they’re excited, they can still be a handful! 

There’s no need to call off the festive bash just because your pooch is particularly hyper; with a few extra preparatory steps, you can throw a party that is fun for both your guests and your four-legged companions.

Read on for our full guide to hosting a pet safe party. We've covered tips for before, during and after the celebration, so that parties aren’t stressful for you or your pooch. 

Before the party… 

It’s time to party-plan! Be it a big blowout or a cosy gathering with crisps and dips, hosting a bash that won’t upset your pooch is all about preparation, so that both your guests and dog are well equipped to enjoy each other’s company. 


Tell guests about your dog

People have different ideas over what a party entails, so let your guests know what the vibe will be, and that your dog will be home at the time. With this news, they’ll know to adjust their behaviour for the presence of a cute pooch. If any of your guests have allergies to pets, this also avoids any awkward introductions/sneezing fits on arrival.

Before the party (as well as in person on the day), give a short summary of what your dog is like, what rules you have in place for your pooch (no jumping on sofa, for example) and kindly ask your guests not to overwhelm your dog.

Set boundaries for feeding

Rules for feeding your dog should also be laid out before the party. If not, on the day your guests might impulsively share food after receiving those irresistible puppy dog eyes, especially if drinks are flowing.

To avoid having to do damage control when the party is ongoing, tell everyone in advance not to sneak the dog any human food - and give good reasons why this is. If people know that your dog can’t digest certain foods or could become really ill, we’re sure they won’t be tempted to break the rules on the day of the party. 

Then again, it’s nice to give the dog something, so stock up on treats or dog biscuits that are suitable (some healthy meaty dog treats, for instance, or healthy Christmas treats for dogs), so that your guests, and pooch are somewhat satisfied! 

Create a calm space for your dog 

Depending on your dog’s personality, they could be super excited around all your friends and family in a party environment; or feel on edge that their home is being invaded. Even a dog who loves visitors might need a moment to regain a sense of calm after all that socialising - even we humans know the feeling! For this reason, arrange a ‘safe space’ that’s just for your dog to keep them stabilised throughout the party. 

For instance, you could place their dog bed in a clean, quiet room, have dimmed, serene lighting and soft scents, with a long-lasting dog chew and their favourite toys nearby. If you usually use crate training, you should put your dog’s crate somewhere quiet and away from guests so they can retreat for some relaxation if necessary. Be sure to show them where this safe space is beforehand, especially if you’ve moved their bed or crate for the party.


Consider a dog sitter

If you’re not sure your dog would respond well to the sensory stimulation of a party, play it safe and arrange a dog sitter for the evening. If your dog can’t relax then neither will you, and a party should be fun for everyone - even the host! 


A Basset Hound dog with a gold present bow on its head, against a pale green background


The day of the party…

Party day is here - and your dog’s behaviour will be greatly affected by what kind of day they have. Follow the below tips to lead them towards a calm, happy and visitor-friendly mood. 


Stick to your dog’s regular routine

On the day of the party, be sure your pooch has had a calm, structured day with regular meals and a good walk to tire them out. Exercise releases soothing endorphins for dogs, and sticking to their regular routine should have them in a cordial, laid-back mood for when guests start to arrive. 


Clear away potential hazards

It’ll be impossible to keep track of what your dog’s up to when you’re busy entertaining. So why not ask your guests to help watch over your dog, but make life easier ahead of time by getting rid of any obvious hazards in the house. Some examples could be:

  • Hiding plants, ornaments or other decor that could be broken or knocked over
  • Getting paper or plastic cups to avoid the risk of glasses or dishes breaking, and shards injuring your pooch’s feet
  • No chocolate or other gifts toxic to your pooch should be displayed within their reach
  • Any musical or flashing ornaments that trigger your dog (a singing Santa, for instance) should be put away


Try calming food and treats

For an added safety measure, your pooch might enjoy calming dog food or treats during the build-up and on the day, with serotonin-boosting ingredients having them feeling their most relaxed. Try a few calming dog treats (e.g. Pooch & Mutt Probiotic Calming Treats contain turkey and hemp as natural mood-enhancers), or a bowl of tasty calming dog food for their lunch. This is an especially good tip if your dog has a tendency to be hyper around visitors.


A small golden coloured dog with 2 wrapped presents, against a bright blue background


During the party…

There will be a lot going on while the party’s in full swing! Pay attention to the following steps throughout the event to ensure your dog stays cool as a cucumber.


Remember dog treats

As your guests start arriving, remember to slip your dog a few calming dog treats. Not only will they feel content at being given a treat, the naturally soothing ingredients will relax them. Keep some regular dog treats available, too, in case your guests want to spoil your dog (they’ll enjoy this kind of attention). 


Stay in control

If your dog jumps up at guests or barks a lot, be authoritative in your directions. Your pooch needs to know that this is an event where they must behave, and they will feel safer knowing that you are in control.


Keep human food out of reach

Eating fatty, sugary foods will wreak havoc with your dog’s digestion and mood. Remind guests to keep food out of the way of hungry snouts - don’t leave plates of leftovers on the floor and have a designated space to put dirty dishes. Maybe appoint one or two friends to help you clean food away as it’s finished with, or else your pooch will soon be hoovering it up!


Have a safe way for your dog to go outside

As well as the safe space you’ve arranged for your dog, allow them to go outside intermittently; perhaps into a secured back garden so they can get some air and space. Don’t let guests take your dog outside without asking, and be sure there’s no way for them to escape (doors left open should be a no-no). Also ensure your dog’s been microchipped and is wearing an ID collar (it’s the law, as well as the easiest way to locate missing pets!).


Check on your dog regularly

You’ll be easily distracted at your own party, so be sure to check in your pooch whenever you can - show them some attention and affection and ask some trusted guests to do the same (if they’re not already!). If your dog seems nervous at any time, remember to show them to their safe space so they know they can take some time out. 


Ask guests to keep it down

You can’t entirely control the decibel level at a party, but if things are getting rowdier than your dog can handle, or the music is a bit loud, don’t feel afraid to ask guests to keep it down. This is especially true if your dog is getting distressed and their safe space isn’t feeling all that calm due to the noise in the other room. 


A pooch inspired cheeseboard with dog meat, dental sticks, and other treats, alongside cheese spelling out "Poochmas"


After the party…

The party’s over, but you’re not done pet-proofing… 


Dispose of rubbish quickly 

Dirty dishes, leftover food and possessions left behind are all fair game for a nosy dog. Do a superficial clean-up as soon as guests leave to clear away any post-party hazards - anything your pooch might get their nose into should be swept away out of their reach. The next morning, be sure you’re up as your dog is, ready to clean up properly and get the house back to normal. 


Take your dog for a walk

Your dog likely needs some air and exercise to recalibrate after the festivities. Whether you take them for a short walk right after guests have left, or a longer one in the morning, it’ll do your pooch’s mood the world of good to get straight back into routine.


Keep an eye on your dog’s behaviour

Hopefully your dog has taken the party in their stride, but keep an eye on them for any unusual behaviour. If they seem lethargic, nervous, unhappy or have a dodgy tummy, it could be that the party has stressed them somewhat, or they ate something that doesn’t agree with them. If this continues, get them to a vet for a quick check up. 


Assess whether your dog and parties can mix

With the right preparatory steps, your dog might handle a party just fine! If they seemed on edge throughout the night, however, or had a sort of ‘doggy hangover’ after all that socialising and stimulation, you might want to get a dog sitter for any future shindigs. It’s up to you to make that call. 

Are you all set to plan that party? Stock up on healthy treats for your dog, including calming dog treats with natural relaxants, to have them cool and collected for Christmas fun and festivities - without the digestive hangover. 

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