Parties and Pets: Hosting Pet-Friendly Holiday Gatherings

people taking a holiday photo while holding dogs

The holiday season is upon us, and it’s a time for joy, celebration, and spending quality time with loved ones. For pet owners, that includes our furry companions who are an integral part of the family. At West Loop Veterinary Care, we understand the significance of including pets in your holiday celebrations while keeping them safe and happy.

Preparing Your Home for a Pet-Friendly Gathering

Before you send out those holiday party invitations, there are some essential preparations to ensure your home is safe and welcoming for your pets and guests alike.

Pet-Proofing Your Space

Pet-proofing is the first step to consider. Make sure that decorations, plants, and any potential hazards are out of your pet’s reach. This includes securing the Christmas tree, ornaments, and other decorations that may be tempting to playful paws.

Avoid using toxic plants like poinsettias and mistletoe in your décor, as well as decorations such as tinsel as they can be harmful if ingested by your furry friends.

Creating a Safe Haven for Your Pet

Set up a quiet pet-friendly space where your furry loved one can retreat to if they need a break from the festivities. This area should include their food, water, and a comfortable bed. Inform your guests about this designated pet space to ensure they avoid it so that your pet isn’t overwhelmed during the gathering.

Pet-Friendly Holiday Treats

While you indulge in holiday feasts, it’s only fair to let your pets join in the fun with some special treats. However, it’s important to choose treats and holiday foods that are safe for them.

Homemade Pet Treats

Consider making homemade pet treats using pet-safe ingredients. There are plenty of easy recipes available that your pet will love. Just be sure to avoid using any ingredients that may be harmful, such as chocolate or excessive sugar.

Store-Bought Pet Treats

If you prefer store-bought treats, make sure to choose high-quality options that are appropriate for your pet’s size and dietary needs. Always read the labels to ensure they don’t contain any harmful additives or preservatives.

Keeping Stress at Bay

The hustle and bustle of holiday gatherings can be stressful for pets. It’s crucial to watch for signs of stress and take steps to keep your pet calm. Signs of stress include excessive panting, pacing, hiding, or changes in behavior. If your pet shows any of these signs, gently remove them from the party and allow them to relax in their designated safe space. Consider using calming techniques such as soothing music, pheromone diffusers, or a weighted blanket specifically designed for pets to help ease their anxiety during the event.

Pet Safety During the Party

During the actual gathering, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your pet’s safety and the comfort of your guests.

  • Supervision: Assign a responsible family member or friend to keep an eye on your pet during the party. This person can make sure your pet doesn’t get into any trouble or sneak any forbidden treats.
  • Leash or Secure Enclosure: If your pet tends to get overly excited or anxious around strangers, consider keeping them on a leash or in a secure enclosure to prevent any unexpected incidents.

After the Party: Cleaning Up Safely

Once the festivities have come to an end, it’s time to clean up. Make sure to do so safely to avoid any accidents involving your pets.

  • Remove Hazardous Items: Double-check that all hazardous items such as leftover food, trash, and decorations are safely disposed of. Pets can be curious, and you don’t want them getting into something harmful.
  • Restore Your Pet’s Routine: Pets thrive on routine, so after the party, get back to their usual schedule as soon as possible. Giving them love and attention helps reduce any lingering stress they may have experienced during the gathering.

Hosting pet-friendly holiday gatherings can be a delightful experience for both you and your furry companions. By following these guidelines and safety measures, you can ensure that everyone has a joyful and stress-free time.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s health during the holidays, please don’t hesitate to call our West Loop location at (312) 421-2275 or our Streeterville location at (312) 766-5959 to make an appointment. At West Loop Veterinary Care, we’re here to support you and your pets throughout the holiday season and beyond.


West Loop:
(312) 421-2275

(312) 766-5959