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Helping your pet cope in groups of people

It is great to catch up with family and friends, but if you’re hosting don’t forget about your pets! 

While some pets love a party, many find the noise, excitement and number of faces overwhelming.

Checking everyone is having a good time, including our furry family members, makes for the perfect party so have a look at our top tips for keeping everyone happy. 

Dogs

Some dogs love a party, but for others it’s just too much.

Signs your dog might not be having a good time include:

  • Panting
  • Yawning
  • Pinned back ears
  • Excessive drooling

Even very sociable dogs might find a big party a little overwhelming, so all dogs need somewhere they can retreat to if they want some quiet time. Make sure they’re familiar and happy in that space so they can relax.

They should have access to water and their normal food routine away from the crowd, and be taken out to toilet in a calm spot where they can do their business in peace!

Before the event starts, you can also tire them out by taking them for a long walk.

If your party has children attending, make sure that they know how to interact safely with dogs and never leave dogs and children unsupervised. Even the friendliest dog has a limit, and dogs who are already stressed are more likely to behave uncharacteristically.

Read more about anxiety in dogs

Cats

Cats are rarely party animals, and tend to shy away from large groups. They are also lovers of routine, and often struggle with any changes to their normal lifestyle.

This means it’s really important that they have their own quiet space to retreat to if you’re hosting people at home.

As they thrive on routine, their ‘safe space’ should be somewhere they commonly like to relax.

Ideally cats should still have a ‘non-party area’ so that they can still have access to their normal food, water and toilet locations too but if this isn’t possible try you can move these resources a few days in advance to get your cat used to having them in a new spot. 

Pheromone diffusers such as Feliway can help calm worried cats, but do need to be plugged in, in advance of the party date.

Common signs to look out for in a distressed cat include:

  • Being quieter than usual
  • Pinned back ears
  • Excessive grooming
  • Urinating outside of their litter tray
  • Hissing
  • Holding their tail close to their body
  • Physically shaking

Read more about anxiety in cats

Small Furries

Don’t forget about your smaller pets when hosting large groups of people. They can experience distress just as much as larger pets like dogs.  

This is especially true of house rabbits who can be quite territorial, especially if they are not neutered.

Making sure your pets are moved away from the excitement of the party to a quiet area of the house is the best way to minimise stress for them.