What To Do If Someone Brings A Pet To Your Party

This holiday season, many of us will welcome family and guests into our homes for meals, games and gift exchanges. Your pet may enjoy being around your visitors, or having a safe space available for when he needs a break from the action. But what happens if another pet comes over for the festivities? This could make your furry family member very stressed.

I think we have all had times when our pets were unable to stay with a pet sitter or perhaps needed to be continuously monitored for health reasons and there was no way they could be left at home. What’s an owner to do other than bring them to the holiday get-together? It’s part of the responsibility we take on as pet owners. With the right planning, your pet and the visiting pet can either get along in the same household peacefully, or find places where each of them will be comfortable alone.

My family has been on both sides of this scenario and I can say, first and foremost, that communication beforehand is key. You should discuss who will be at the house and what the visiting family should plan to bring to acclimate their pet as best as possible. At the very least, the visiting owner should bring a pet crate to use as a safe space and a leash either for around the house or to go outside. Food and water dishes, favorite blankets and toys are great to bring as well.

If at all possible, have the visiting owners come early with their pet so that both owners can work on the pets’ first meeting before guests arrive. Let them greet each another with a few sniffs and give verbal praise if they are nice to each other. Generally, pets that are often socialized with other pets will do much better in this situation than pets that don’t get out very much.

Pay attention to the body language of each pet. Playful behaviors like pawing or the energetic bow are positive signs that the pets want to play. If hair is on end, body stiffens, eyes are staring at the other or teeth are bared, you can bet they will not be getting along and separating the pets will be the best solution. Keep in mind that the home’s pet may feel territorial of his space which may cause some aggression. Also, some additional tension will occur if any of the pets are not spayed or neutered.

To safely separate pets, put each pet in their own enclosed space with a bed or crate to rest, along with food and water. If you have a cat, be sure that their litter box is in the room, too. These rooms should be quiet and away from the activity of the other guests. Be sure to check on both pets periodically throughout the day to see how they are doing.

Pheromone calming collars and calming diffusers can greatly help your pet in times of stress and fear due to travel and new environments. These emit a calming pheromone similar to what a mother dog or cat would produce to calm her young. Consider buying one if you plan to go somewhere with your pet… it could be a lifesaver during the busy holiday season!

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