Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Pet Etiquette for the Holidays

It’s the holiday season and most of us are entertaining or are being entertained.  It’s exciting and fun times as we make the rounds from home to home, enjoying good food, drinks and conversation.

At any one of your destinations, the co-host may be four legged and furry. Co-host? Yes! We love our cats and dogs like family members, however when it comes to pet manners and pet love, everyone differs. So here’s a little petiquette for those visiting a home with pets or those co-hosting their soiree with their furry loved ones.


Let guests know that you have pets so that they can prepare themselves if they have allergies or phobias.

Greetings & Holiday Cheer

Pets get excited, and jump up to greet visitors when they come to the door - that feeling of adoration is what makes  your day. Who can resist Bruno’s hugs and sloppy kisses? Obviously non-pet lovers but don’t be surprised that other pet owners also don’t like it, because they have a different standard of what’s acceptable – not everyone is alright with licks and kisses on their face.  And really, when all dressed up, folks become more concerned about paw prints, and slobber on their fancy holiday duds.

As well, visitors may be down right scared, especially pint-sized kids who aren’t accustomed to pets. If kids are clinging to parents for dear life and screaming when your little morkie approaches – they are scared. Kids or parents are not going to enjoy themselves. It might be time for you to separate them from the crowd.

Begging for Food

No one really wants to see the begging eyes or  smell the breath of  your pooch while eating.

If your pet is trained, then you have nothing to worry about, but sometimes they can get excited with all the strangers and the music and increased noise level.

Cats normally stay far from the fray and people, but there are many cats that are as friendly as dogs. 

In the end, it might be best to separate your pooch or feline from the crowd, for both your pet and visitors sake, either in an area far from all the activity or a pet pen.

Hosts - kissing, playing, petting, touching your pets while preparing food for your guests is a no-no. You may not think about it because your pet is your family, but to your guests…well, they notice, and they won’t eat your artichoke dip you worked tirelessly to prepare.  Everyone has different standards, but to keep it neutral, think of what would be required in a public restaurant’s kitchen. That’s right - no pets.


Do not bring your pet to the soiree without first asking if your pooch is invited, even if your host has pets.

It never fails - the pet will show the most attention to one who doesn’t like them or are afraid of them. Do not take it upon yourself to lock them in a room! Speak to your host. It is the pet’s home; you are a visitor in their home. However the host should already have noticed and taken care of this situation.

Do not feed the pet unless your host says its OK. Regular human food can be fatal to a cat or dog. You are not being nice by sharing the rich delicious chocolate cake - you may in fact fatally harm the pet.

Pet parents,  you know your pets and how well they behave, their triggers and reactions so the call is yours, but do not feel bad if you have to separate your baby from the crowd. Create a calm comfortable space, with his/her favorite toys, foods, beds or pens and everyone will be sure to enjoy the the evenings festivities.