Holiday Hazards 8: Houseguests and Parties


Welcome to our eighth and final holiday hazard blog series installment! If you are planning on having houseguests or house parties, then this blog is for you.

Pets do well with daily lifestyle routines that are predictable. When houseguests enter the equation, this can mean confusion, anxiety or fear for some pets. Enhance your pet’s acceptance of having houseguests around by considering the following points:

Minimize Stress:

  1. To the extent possible, keep your pet’s feeding and bathroom schedule the same.
  2. Give your pets time to warm up to houseguests. Guests should go slow and give pets their space. If they run away or hide, children should not chase them.
  3. Guests may gain the pet’s acceptance with healthy treat rewards, fetch, or laser pointer games.
  4. Synthetic pheromones may be beneficial in helping your pets feel calmer. Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats are options for consideration.
  5. Make sure your pets have a safe place to retreat. Crates, carriers (if your cat has been desensitized), or rooms set aside for pets are all good options.
  6. Never leave your pets unsupervised around visiting children. If the child does not know how to interact gently with animals, the child could accidentally harm your pet. Additionally, pets that are scared or hurt are more likely to bite or scratch.
  7. If you feel your pet has extreme anxiety about visitors, consider speaking with one of our doctors to discuss additional options.

Remind Houseguests About Pet Hazards:

  1. Table Scraps
  2. Human Foods that can be harmful to pets
  3. Medications should be kept out of pet reach. Pets can easily ingest pills accidentally dropped on the floor or even get into purses or bags belonging to houseguests. The Pet Poison Helpline has some additional helpful information on this topic. Also according to the Pet Poison Helpline, the top 10 human medications poisonous to pets include NSAIDS, acetaminophen, antidepressants, ADHD medications, sleep aids, birth control, ACE inhibitors, Beta-blockers, thyroid hormones, and cholesterol lowering agents.
  4. Advise houseguests to make sure animals are not nearby and ready to run out a door before opening the door.

House Parties:

  1. It may be best to simply find safe havens in the house for your pets when you are having a party. Boarding your pet may even be an option to consider.
  2. Parties can be loud and scary for pets. Keeping them out of the party atmosphere can help them stay calmer.
  3. Parties mean food – on tables, and dropped on the floor. If pets are put away then there is no risk of the animal eating the food. Additionally, there is no temptation for party guests to feed the pet.
  4. Pets may ingest alcoholic beverages left sitting around. Pets that ingest alcohol can become intoxicated and get very sick. Symptoms can include vomiting, weakness, coma or even death.
  5. Don’t forget about fireworks, especially around New Year’s Eve. Many animals are scared around these loud sounds. Curious pets could even get burned if they get too close to the fireworks. Keep pets inside and somewhere safe.

Lawndale Veterinary Hospital wishes you all a happy (and pet safe!) holiday season!

Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS