When you're planning a dog party, safety might not be at the top of your 'To Do' list, but it IS important
When you get a lot of puppies/dogs/people together there's always the potential for accidents and squabbles and you don't want your pup's party to be spoiled by someone getting hurt, over-excited, or sick!
But if you follow the tips below you'll have taken an important step towards making sure everyone (two-legged and four-legged) has a great time at your dog's party and stays safe.
Luckily, most of the potential safety issues that might come up can be avoided with just a little bit of planning and preparation.
Here are some of the things you need to check out, or be aware of.....
If your party is being held outside and the weather is even a little bit warm, make sure there's plenty of shade and lots of fresh, cool drinking water for your guests. Water games are great for summer dog parties!
Dogs can get overheated really fast, especially the short-nosed breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs, and thick coated breeds like herding dog.
It's not much fun partying in the rain or cold either, although unless it's absolutely freezing it doesn't pose much risk to the dogs (ice/snow and ice-melt or salt can damage sensitive paws) - but the humans will get pretty miserable!
If your dog party is being held in winter, spring or fall when cold or wet weather is a possibility (or probability) it makes sense to be sure there's an alternative, indoor venue in case of really nasty weather.
When making the guest list for your dog party it's best to choose pups
that are already familiar and friendly with your pet.
There's far less likelihood of trouble brewing if there aren't any 'unknown quantities' such as unfamiliar dogs that could be potentially dominant or possessive.
But remember, it's not just the newcomers who might over-react. If your dog isn't used to having unfamiliar dogs in his home/yard or more than a couple of friends over at a time, then he could get territorial or over-excited.
If you want to choose a 'neutral' venue for your party (such as a dog-less relative or friend's home) that can help in this type of situation.
Providing of course that you're in a private, fenced area like your back yard, it's best to keep all dogs unleashed because if some of the party-goers are running free while others are tethered to their parents it could lead to trouble.
A pup that is restricted by his leash can feel intimidated or threatened by one that is running free, and may react defensively or aggressively. This is not the way to encourage everyone to have fun, and can be dangerous.
Dog parks are another alternative location if you want a leash-free outdoor activity in a safely fenced area.
Dogs are like kids, and at a party they're likely to get over excited and forget their manners from time to time. Sharing can become a problem when that happens!
To keep everyone safe and squabble free (as much as possible) you need to make sure that there are plenty of 'resources' for everyone so that no-one is vying for attention or the limited treats.
This especially applies to things like:
Ask ahead of time if any of your doggie guests has food or toy guarding tendencies so that you can manage the situation and stay ahead of any problems.
A party isn't any fun without cake and other yummy treats, but too much of a good thing isn't good for anyone - and that included puppies and dogs.
So, any treats that you're using for prizes should be small, preferably bite-sized and not too exotic in terms of ingredients. You can always break up larger treats into small pieces.
The small size helps prevent the greedy puppy who's guzzled his snack already, from trying to
steal someone else's. Guarding and protecting food is something you
don't want to see at your party.
Don't feed your canine guests human party treats, cakes or snacks, at the very best these are going to cause loose stools, at worst you could poison a party-goer (check out this page for info. on potentially toxic foods/products.... Stuff Poisonous to Dogs)
Working to keep everyone healthy is a big part of your dog party safety preparation. Paying attention to food and treats as discussed above is part of this, but there are other aspects as well.
Dog diseases and illnesses are often very contagious and parasitic conditions also spread from dog to dog really easily.
To protect all the party animals, make sure all dogs attending are up to date on their vaccinations and parasite control (both internal and external), of course this applies to the birthday boy himself too!
Be on top of the 'pooper scooping' and make sure every owner cleans up after their dog right away. Hand out poop-bags/scoopers at the door and keep a supply somewhere central for the pup who has to 'go' more often.
Dogs of all ages will eat anything they find, and whether or not it's digestible isn't on their list of concerns.
Some things will usually 'come out the other end' without too much trouble, but it's never worth taking a chance. Intestinal blockages can happen quickly and quietly, and are life threatening.
Keep party decorations, wrapping paper, food wrappers, paper plates, plastic utensils, balloons and so on up out of reach and regularly do a 'sweep' of the party area to pick up stray bits and pieces.
One of most people's biggest dog party safety concerns is that the pups will get into a fight, but if you follow the guidelines above the chances of this happening are slim.
If a little squabbling begins it's often better to let the pups sort it out themselves if possible. A bit of growling, snapping or posturing is not usually a big deal and the 4-legged party guests will soon sort out the 'pecking order'.
But it IS possible for a dog to become aggressive (even if he's normally friendly) due to feeling overwhelmed, overstimulated, cornered, anxious or defensive. If this happens allowing the stressed dog to have space to himself and some peace and quiet is recommended.
It's a good idea to have a garden hose connected to an outside tap just in case things get out of hand. If a couple of the guests get too rowdy or a minor scrap looks like turning serious, a quick soaking with a strong jet of water will usually put a damper on things.
If you have a lot of big, strong dogs there make sure you also have some big, strong humans to pitch in!
As soon as the trouble-makers have
separated, leash each one and keep them away from each other for a short
while. Re-direct their attention and remove any object that they may
have been fighting over and the excitement should soon disappear. If that's not enough then respectfully suggest the one who's upset leaves the party, for everyone's safety.