Bringing Your Dog Along To A Holiday Party? Read This First!


The holiday season is quickly approaching and that means one thing—it’s time to parrrtttaaayyyy! Chances are, you’re going to attend a handful of holiday celebrations over the next month—starting with a food-filled Thanksgiving feast and ending with a New Years celebration (bust out the 2018 hats and noisemakers). If you plan on bringing your pooch along to any holiday party then it’s a good idea to think about canine etiquette. Read on for some tips to make Fido a welcomed houseguest!

Always Ask Permission

First and foremost, never just show up to a holiday party with your canine’s leash in hand. Make sure to call your host/hostess first and ask if it’s okay for your four-legged family member to tag along. You never know if they’re inviting other guests who are allergic to dogs, if they have a dog who isn’t welcoming to other dogs, or they just don’t want the extra stress of looking after a furry visitor. Chances are, if you’re heading to a dog-friendly home then they’ll say yes. It’s just safer to ask first!

Spiffy Up

Just like you’ll probably spend a little extra time getting yourself ready for a party or event, take a few minutes to get your dog ready too. I’m not saying that your dog has to dress to the nines, but if your canine companion is a major shedder then be mindful of that. Bathe and de-shed him before you head to the party. You may also want to dress your dog in a sweater or shed-proof bodysuit to prevent hair from spreading all over your hostess’ house. 

Make Sure Fido Knows How To Mind His Manners

Please and thank you, canine style! Before hopping in the car with your dog and heading to a holiday gathering, ask yourself the following:

  • Does my dog know the basic commands (sit, stay, come, leave it)?
  • Does my dog know not to jump on guests?
  • Is my dog pretty quiet (with only a few occasional woofs)? 
  • Is my dog friendly?
  • Does my dog get along with other dogs?

A good canine guest will listen to you when instructed and mind his manners. Remember: Your house rules don’t apply at someone else’s house. 

What To Bring

Your host/hostess will be busy preparing for the human guests. So, if you’re bringing your canine kid, anticipate his needs. Even if your hosts have their own dogs in the house, don’t expect your pooch to eat their food and play with their toys. Some dogs get very protective and even aggressive over their things. Be a considerate guest and bring the following:

  • Water bowl, food bowl, and food
  • Leash
  • Waste bags
  • Crate
  • Paw wipes
  • A favorite toy

When You Arrive

  • Keep your dog on the leash until you find out the house rules.
  • Be mindful of your dog jumping on other guests.
  • Don’t assume your pooch is allowed to sit on all of the furniture.  Ask first.
  • Don’t let your pooch uncontrollably bark and whine.
  • Ask where they want you to have Fido go to the bathroom. Don’t just assume you can let him relieve himself on the backyard grass. Many people don’t want dog pee and poop on their grass. Others don’t care as long as you clean it up. Ask first.

The Holiday Meal

Every time I bring my dogs to a holiday gathering, someone gives them table food (without asking my permission first). Since my dogs eat a gluten-free diet, I’m not the happiest when I see a piece of gluten-laden bread being offered to my pups. Also, most times holiday food is high in fat and contains ingredients that are toxic to dogs. For these reasons, I recommend keeping your pup away from the holiday table. Either crate him during the meal or leave him in a safe room. 

Bring A Special Doggy Treat

If there’s going to be other dogs in the house then you may want to make a dog-friendly snack to bring with you. With Thanksgiving a few days away, I’ve included a treat recipe that’s really easy to make and take with you. You’ll get a tail wag for sure.

Happy Thanksgiving!