By Jessica Remitz
It’s a wonderful pleasure to be able to host a party in your own home, but they can quickly turn into a catastrophe if your pet gets into something it shouldn’t. We’ve rounded up some tips on how to decorate, what food to serve and how to successfully dog proof your apartment or home for any party.
Scented candles and liquid potpourri’s with alluring apple cinnamon or pumpkin spice scents can also pose a problem during parties. Dogs can knock candles over and burn or poison themselves trying to eat them. Liquid potpourri is highly corrosive, so if your dog knocks it over and licks it they can get chemical burns on their esophagus and stomach, according to Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. So it’s best to keep these types of things up high and far out of your dog’s reach.
What type of plants you decorate your home with should also be carefully considered when dog proofing for a party. Poinsettias, commonly thought to be extremely poisonous to dogs, will not put your dog in any danger beyond an irritated stomach if consumed. The most dangerous plant for dogs, according to Dr. Wismer, is the Kalanchoe. This small potted plant has beautiful, seasonal flowers in reds and oranges but can cause serious heart problems in your dog if consumed. There are also other poisonous plants for dogs such as the daffodil, tulip and amaryllis. It’s best to consult your veterinarian for other potentially deadly decorative plants.
It may seem like common sense for you to keep your coat and purse off the floor, but guests at parties may not know about your dog’s affinity to get into things. Sugarless gum, prescription medications, hard candies and ibuprofen are all toxic to dogs, Dr. Wismer says. Make sure you keep all of your guest’s coats and purses locked in a closet or bedroom your dog can’t get into.
As the night goes on and your party swings into high-gear, guests may put down drinks or plates of food and leave them unattended. Dogs can easily swipe a few pieces of food or swigs of alcohol in this situation that may leave them with nausea and alcohol poisoning. Prevent this by keeping your dog out of the kitchen and away from areas with tables of food.
These medications will help prevent any flea and tick infestations from occurring should a party guest (person or pet) unknowingly brings a parasite into your home. There are many different types of preventatives to choose from (collars, spots-ons oral medications, etc.) so it’s best to consult your veterinarian and decide which is best for you and your pet’s lifestyle.
If a dog-related emergency does arise at any point during your party, the first thing to do is not panic, Dr. Wismer says. A panicked owner won’t be able to help their pet and you will need to be able to call your vet or poison control and explain exactly what your dog got into. The vet or consultant will want to know specifics on your dog’s weight, age and state of health and will be able to assist you in next steps. There are fees associated with poison control hotlines (the ASPCA’s is $65) but Wismer says calling as soon as trouble arises can help determine if your dog has a life-threatening issue that requires a trip to the veterinarian or animal hospital.
Your home can literally be a revolving door of guests throughout a party, and all of the comings and goings through a garage or front door may provide ample time for your dog to get loose. If you know your dog likes to run or is easily frightened in loud, crowded situations, put them someplace where they’re not involved in all of the action, Dr. Wismer says. Parties can be very exciting to some dogs but be stressful for others, so know when to keep your dogs around and when to let it relax in a quieter area.