If you’re a dog owner, one of the decisions you’ll have to make when heading off to a BBQ, birthday party, or dinner is whether or not you should bring your four-legged friend along. While in some cases it may not be appropriate to make Fido your plus-one, there are times your pal might be a welcome guest. Taking your dog to social occasions can aid in socialization, zap their energy, and stimulate their active minds.
So how can you decide if you should take your dog to a party, and if you do, how can you ensure that they’ll be invited to the next event?
If you’re thinking about taking your dog to a party, first make sure they will be gladly received. Ask the host if they would be willing to have a dog at their event, and if they say yes, follow up with questions to determine if it makes sense to take your dog along. Are there any venue rules? Do any attendees have serious allergies? Will there be small children? Other dogs? Any potential safety hazards? Doing your homework before you go can save you from trouble (or even having to leave) once you get there.
2. Teach Your Dog Manners
Even if a gathering sounds dog-friendly, you need to decide if your dog is party-ready. A dog who runs around like a bull in a china shop, steals food off tables, plays rough with children, or otherwise misbehaves will be a nuisance to guests and to you, and could cause serious damage or even injuries. Before taking your dog to a party, make sure they know some basic commands like “sit” “stay” and “come”. If your dog is prone to being fearful, aggressive, destructive, rough with children, or hyperactive in new situations, deal with those issues before subjecting a party to their furry presence. If you need help, contact a trainer or animal behaviorist.
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3. Bring a Dog Party Kit
If you decide to take your dog to a get-together, bring a dog party kit along. The kit should include items that will make your dog feel comfortable, keep them from becoming bored, keep them safe, and distract them if necessary. For example, bring your dog’s bed or a blanket and set it up in the corner of a quiet room. You could also bring their favorite toy, a new and engaging toy, or toys that guests can use to play with the dog (such as a tennis ball or frisbee if there is a backyard). If you want to distract your dog while the group eats dinner, bring a chew toy or Kong stuffed with peanut butter. And don’t forget a water dish, poop bags, and a dog first-aid kit.
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4. Supervise Your Dog
Your dog is your responsibility no matter where you go. When you arrive at a party, don’t let your dog off their leash and then forget about them for the rest of the evening. Remember that people who don’t own dogs may not be as tuned into their needs as you are, and may not know to let your dog out to use the bathroom, keep the garbage bin secured, or stop your dog from consuming poisonous foods left out on a table. Keep an eye on your dog, check on them regularly if they are hanging out with other guests, and when necessary, attach a loose leash to keep your pal by your side.
Do you take your dog to gatherings? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.