Partying with your Pets!
The silly season is well and truly upon us and if you haven't already climbed aboard the annual Xmas party merry-go-round you're probably not too far off.
For the single & unattached, spur-of-the-moment drinking sessions, sleep-overs and hangovers don't usually require too much forethought. This is very different for people with children (for obvious reasons), and depending on the age of the child/children prior PRIOR planning needs to take place just to be there in the first place! But what about those of us who have pets? Have you ever considered how your partying may affect your Pumpkin or your Princess? How much of their routine might be affected by your indulgence and have you taken steps to ensure that they are also safe, secure and sane amidst the silliness?
There's plenty of questions we may pose when planning our partying around living with children, such as "do we need to book a babysitter?", "what time should they expect us home?", "how will the babysitter get home?", "how are we getting home and do we have any responsibilities we have to be up for early in the morning?", "is staying out all night even an option, and if so what happens tomorrow?"
Although it may seem very different to planing for pets, depending on your animals personalities and their temperament you may need to consider putting some contingency plans in place so that you can go out and have a good time, and even let it blow out into a bloody great time without creating undue stress or anxiety for your pets. So here's a list of things you may want to keep in mind, and give some consideration to, so that your pets can also enjoy a cracking holiday season!
If you have been at work all day and are now heading out for the night have you made sure that your pets have access to enough clean water, appropriate shelter and access to bathroom facilities whilst you're gone?
If you think it might turn into an all-nighter is there someone that can check on your pet if need be? Or feed them? Someone that your pet already knows well so as not to stress them out?
If it's going to be a big one is there someone that can walk the dog for you in the morning or feed the animals if getting out of bed is just really not going to happen?
If you think you might bring people back to your place is there a safe space for your pet to be alone if they are not good around strangers or groups of loud people? Is this space going to remain private for them (i.e. laundry or study) rather than become a crash pad for someone else (i.e. the spare room) and freak them out?
On this same note, if your pet is very protective of the family and the home what steps do you need to put in place to ensure your guests are also safe, or would it be more appropriate to have your pet spend a night away with trusted friends, family or a pet sitter?
If your pet is very social and loves to join in a party do you need to consider what food and snacks may be around and if these are safe for your animal given that someone (generally the person who doesn't own a pet) will invariably feed something to your fur-ball!
Same goes for alcohol, especially if you have a dog. The last thing you want is people leaving their drinks sitting on the floor in open cups or glasses that your pooch can easily stick his nose into. Alcohol is a poison and you do not want to be trying to find someone sober enough to take your precious dog (or cat) to the vet hospital in the middle of the night. Or worse yet, not even realising there is a problem until the morning, when it might be too late!
Christmas food (almost by definition) tends to be quite rich and table scraps at this time may be very different to the few tidbits your fur-ball receives at other times of the year. The odd bit of left-overs is generally OK, but bear in mind if your pet is grabbing tasty morsels from multiple generous sources around the table they can quickly overload their system with too much fat. (Lets be honest it's going to be the extra fat off the ham or turkey, end bits of sausages or meats, bits of bread, cheese, or sweets...) Dogs in particular have a much higher incidence of pancreatitis over the holidays due to over-indulgence in fatty foods, and this is a VERY serious condition, one that will put a bigger downer on your Christmas dinner than that creepy drunk family member we all know but don't talk about!!
How does your pet react to loud noises, sudden movements, fireworks, champagne corks popping, loud music etc? If your pet is the sensitive type it may be an idea to create a safe, quiet, private space inside that they can run to anytime something gets a little too much for them, or again, consider a pet sitter.
Do you have a real Christmas tree in your home? Have a cat? Whilst watching them try to climb it may be wildly amusing for you, if it is not properly secured it can also be wildly dangerous for them. Make sure you have adequately weighed down and balanced your tree so that any midnight attempts to climb it don't end in disaster!
Similarly, if you've got strings of fairy lights around the tree or around the house try to ensure that any extra lengths of cord are neatly tucked away or put out of reach, and that lights are secured above the reach of your curious pets. Keeping them on for extended periods can quickly heat up the globes and you don't want your loved ones getting burned or tangled, tasting the glass, or possibly creating a fire hazard!
If you return home drunk please be aware that it may be tricky for your pet to identify you, and they may feel confused, scared or aggressive. Alcohol has a strong odour which can mask your natural scent, and actions such as unsteady walking, tripping, falling, stumbling, mumbling, lack of eye contact, more makeup than usual, and the accompaniment of strangers make it much MUCH harder for your pet to easily recognise you. Try to maintain your balance, speak clearly and approach them slowly and gently, or just leave them alone. If your dog does become aggressive please don't dish out any harsh punishments, they are merely protecting their home and you are the one who is acting out of line.
Similarly please be gentle if your pet acts out of character at this crazy time; accidental soiling, barking, marking of territory, nervousness, and shyness can all manifest from feeling scared, unsafe, anxious and stressed. Be reassuring and skip the punishments, it's difficult for them to understand exactly what's going on and why, and in a few short days or weeks it will all go back to normal like nothing ever happened.
If you would like an extra helping hand in dealing with the stress and craziness during this busy period, I highly recommend giving (or gifting) your pet our Stress Less Pet Potion. It's a unique combination of three highly effective yet very gentle herbs plus additional vibrational flower essences that support the nervous system whilst also relieving many of the symptoms associated with stress such as muscle tension, digestive upset, anxiety, panic attacks, irritability and more. Emotionally it is calming and balancing, can reduce worrying, release trauma, and provide energetic protection for your loved up furry!
If you have any other recommendations or suggestions on caring for your pets at this time of year please feel free to add them in the comments below.
Happy Silly Season!!