Q: With the holidays here and doing entertaining, how can I convince my guests not to give any food to the dog and cat? Last year my dog got sick from eating too much food he shouldn’t have had. He loves to be out with the people, but I don’t want him getting sick again.
A: This can be hard, especially if children are visiting. Dogs tend to be drawn to little ones with food. If possible feed your pets their meal before guests start arriving. They may be less inclined to beg if they are full.
As guests arrive I would kindly ask them to please not give anything to eat to your pets. Explain they have sensitive stomachs and easily become ill and that some of the foods, like chocolate, can be toxic to them. For the children (and adults who can’t refrain from giving snacks) you may want to have a bowl of dog treats and a bowl of cat treats they can hand out to your pets one at a time, and explain once they are all gone that is it for feeding the critters.
If guests bring gifts of food or candy, please don’t put them under the tree. Even though they are wrapped, a pet’s nose can detect the smell of goodies through that Christmas wrap and try to get to them by chewing through the paper.
Holidays are also a good time to be sure pets have identification tags on, even if they are microchipped. With people coming and going, you don’t want your precious furry friend slipping out the door. If they do happen to get out and lost there is a much better chance they will make it back home having identification on with the correct information.
Another safety measure is to set the pets up in a room of their own with all the necessities. Food, water, litter box and some toys. If guests want to see the pets you could take them in to visit and give an approved treat.
If you are a guest in someone’s home with pets it is always considerate to ask if you can give their dog or cat a treat before doing so.
Hope some of my tips help and everyone (two- and four-legged) has a happy, healthy holiday season.
Sally Salopek is the owner and operator of Attend-A-Pet pet sitting services in northern Door County. She has also worked professionally with animals in health care, pet grooming, training, wildlife rehab and rescue. Send your pet-related questions to her at [email protected].