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Pet Party Safety Tips

Updated on March 12, 2016
Fatbat the cat wearing his Halloween costume.
Fatbat the cat wearing his Halloween costume. | Source

A few simple considerations can keep pets safe during parties

We've all heard of party hosts waking to discover a beloved family pet missing the morning after a party. Fun can turn to tragedy when a pet slips outside with the comings and goings of party guests. Party mishaps can send you and your furry family members to the emergency vet if pets consume toxic human foods or unfamiliar sounds and circumstances cause your pet to panic and injure himself by bashing into walls or windows trying to escape them.

These tragedies can all be avoided by a little pre-party planning. A few simple precautions can keep your pets safe and leave you free to enjoy your party without worrying about your scaled, furry, feathered, or fishy friends.

© 2009 Kylyssa

Watch the Door

Greet party guests at the door and walk them out when they leave to maintain control of opening and closing the door. Be sure you know where your pets are when you open and close the entry door.

Enlist your guests to help keep your pets inside by applying door signs both inside and out such as "Mind the Cat" or "Pets Stay Inside for Safety."

Separate the Pets from the Party

The safest move is to isolate your pets from your party. This prevents pet escapes by containing pets in safe areas. It also prevents well meaning guests from feeding tasty but toxic party foods to sensitive pets.

To ensure party guests don't let your pets out of the safe area, lock the door or put up a do not disturb sign.

You also can gate pets in and party guests out of a room or hallway using baby gates. This generally works well with dogs. While a single baby gate seldom works for cats, one baby gate atop another in a door or hallway can sometimes work - but not always as cats can climb rather well.

Ginger cat hiding in a blanket tent
Ginger cat hiding in a blanket tent | Source

Create a Safe Zone

However, it is not always possible or practical to put pets in a locked room of their own during your party, especially in smaller living spaces. You can still create a "safe zone" where pets can escape guests in a corner, open closet or even under a table.

Baby gates are particularly useful for this. Simply place the baby gate in a closet doorway or hallway which you intend as the pet's safe zone leaving a space under it big enough for the pet to easy get under. Apply a "Do Not Disturb" or "Pets Only" sign to the baby gate and reasonable guests should respect the boundary you have created.

You can also create a barrier by tacking up a blanket or sheet or draping one over one or more chairs to block the safe zone from the common area of your home. This will provide your pet with a safe, cave-like hiding spot.

Provide your pets with food, water, toys, and bedding in their safe zone. If the litter box requires kitty to cross an area expected to be busy, give her a temporary litter pan in her safe zone.

If you use a closet to create a safe zone, do not close the door to the closet, always use a "door" such as a baby gate or curtain which allows for air flow in such enclosed spaces.

You Can Lock Even Little Doors to Keep Pets Safe

Bird cages and other small animal cages can benefit from a bit of wire used to secure cage doors to limit access to your little friends. If your pet is bothered by strangers, cover his cage loosely with a blanket or cage cover to limit intrusive stimulus.

You may also wish to move his cage to a quiet room, well out of guest traffic.

This cat ran off with a saltine cracker. Luckily, Rupert's tummy wasn't upset by his dietary indiscretion.
This cat ran off with a saltine cracker. Luckily, Rupert's tummy wasn't upset by his dietary indiscretion.

Keep People Food and Drinks Away from Pets

If pets are allowed to mingle with guests be sure to gently remind guests not to share their treats with your pets. Popular party foods such as chocolate, alcohol, cheese, grapes, raisins, and nuts can all be harmful, even deadly to pets. Be quick to clean up spilled alcohol or party snacks to avoid digestive upsets and pet poisonings.

These Common Party Foods and Drink Can Harm Your Pets:







Keep the Fish Under Cover

An awful thing happened to my one of my friend's big, beautiful angelfish. A party guest dumped some dregs of Mountain Dew into the aquarium, killing off all the lovely fish.

Even if you know your guests, people can do strange and unpredictable things at a party so it's best to err on the side of caution and greater safety for your pets.

A bit of tape lightly sealing your fish tank lid or lids shut can limit the chance of finding foreign objects or dead fish in your aquarium in the morning. This precaution can also keep guests from getting bitten by carnivorous fish or stung by venomous ones.

At Twenty-One, Fatbat had Survived a lot of Wild Parties.

Fatbat the cat wearing his alien eye Halloween costume
Fatbat the cat wearing his alien eye Halloween costume

Decorations Can Be Deadly

Use judgment in your choice of party decorations and favors. Streamers, candles, and electric lights can all pose hazards so keep them out of pet's reach or use them when pets are in their safe room. Balloon pieces, confetti, and candy wrappers also pose choking and intestinal blockage hazards so be mindful of their use.

Poodle Maus chills out in her cage. A closed bedroom door keeps out sounds and guests that might frighten her.

Poodle Maus chills out in her cage. A closed bedroom door keeps out sounds and guests that might frighten her.
Poodle Maus chills out in her cage. A closed bedroom door keeps out sounds and guests that might frighten her.

© 2009 Kylyssa Shay


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