How To Plan a Pet-Friendly Memorial Day Party

Published: May 20, 2024
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Memorial Day weekend is a time for barbecues, sunshine, and spending time with loved ones – including furry friends. A pet-friendly Memorial Day party lets you share the celebration with your four-legged companions. With some planning and pet-focused fun, you can host a gathering that you and your pet will love. Discover how to make your Memorial Day party safe, enjoyable, and tail-waggingly awesome for your furry family members.

Choose a Pet-Friendly Location

The right location sets the tone for your pet-friendly party. A spacious backyard could be ideal because it gives your pet a safe space and room to roam. Most backyards also have shaded areas if your pet needs a break. Parks are another great outdoor option, but you must ensure they are dog-friendly and check if they have leash requirements. It's usually best to choose a park with a fenced-in area.

If you want to host a party at a restaurant or bar, it is possible. Many locations have pet-friendly patios with plenty of space between tables. However, restaurant options should be limited to highly social pets, such as those that are people-friendly and calm. A rambunctious dog can cause a mess and might be trouble for the restaurant.

Shade and hydration are essential for outdoor parties. If your yard lacks natural shade, set up umbrellas and canopies. Place multiple water bowls in shaded areas so your pet can always access fresh, cool water. Refresh the water throughout the day.

If your Memorial Day party is indoors, make it pet-proof. Move breakable items, secure cords, and block access to potential hazards. For a bit of contained outdoor fun, the Trixie Portable Splash Pool is an excellent option to keep your dog cool and occupied. The pool can also be set up in a garage on rainy days.

Select Safe Foods and Treats

Food is a highlight of any party, and you can and should include your pet when making special treats and meals. While traditional barbecue fare might not be pup-friendly, there are plenty of delicious and safe human foods you can share with your pet, including watermelon, baby carrots, or plain, cooked chicken. Obviously, you should limit table scraps, opting for dog-specific treats, including homemade snacks (there are many great recipes online) or premade healthy treats.

You can make mealtime more fun and challenge your pet with the SodaPup Jigsaw Enrichment Licking Dog Mat - Blue. Instead of just gobbling food down, your dog will have to use their nose to sniff out each treat. The mat provides mental stimulation for your pet, keeping them active and engaged.

Memorial Day can be hot, so be mindful of this, and you can supply your pet with frozen treats. An ice cube tray filled with plain yogurt and dog treats makes the best, most convenient pupsicles. Make sure to keep dog treats and human treats separate to prevent any awkward moments.

Ensure Safety First

Even the most well-behaved pets need a secure environment. Before guests arrive, check your yard for any escape routes—loose fence boards, gaps under gates, etc. If the party is elsewhere, familiarize yourself with the space beforehand and assess for potential hazards. Your pets, as well as any visiting furry friends, should wear collars with updated ID tags. Microchipping offers extra protection if the unthinkable happens and your pet gets lost.

It's important to know your pet's limits. While some dogs thrive in big crowds with all the attention, others become overwhelmed. For pets that get easily stressed or anxious, you should provide a quiet, safe space indoors where they can retreat.

Staying prepared is key. If you don't have one already, purchase a pet ID tag, such as the USA Flag Engravable Pet I.D. Tag. Look into pet kennels and gates to create safe spaces for your animals. Finally, if your pet is the anxious type, tell guests and explain how they should or shouldn't interact with it.

Plan Fun Activities

A party isn't complete without a little friendly competition and adorable antics. Your pets deserve some fun and attention during the celebration. For skilled dogs, you can set up a mini agility course if you have the room. Use tunnel, weave poles, and jump bars. Fetch is also an excellent option for most dogs, and it's easy for people to join in. You can also purchase the Pet Park Blvd Paracord Rope Twisted Tug with Tennis Ball Dog Toy - Yellow for an old-fashioned game of tug-of-war.

Remember, the best activities are those that everyone can enjoy. Keep things lighthearted and friendly. Offer plenty of breaks, and prioritize having fun.

Prepare for Noise

Most Memorial Day celebrations close with fireworks. While Memorial Day fireworks can be beautiful for us, they are a major source of stress and anxiety for many animals. The loud noises and flashing lights can trigger fear responses, even in otherwise calm pets. If possible, keep your pet indoors during fireworks displays, offering them a quiet and comfortable space away from the commotion. Draw curtains, and turn on white noise, a fan, or calming music to help mask the sounds of fireworks. Calming dog treats also work best for helping your anxious pup relax.

A calming vest, like the RC Pet At Ease Dog Calming Vest - Dark Teal, is an excellent option to help your pet. The vest provides gentle pressure that can be reassuring during stressful situations.

With thoughtful planning,  including safety precautions, delicious treats, and fun activities, your Memorial Day party will be a hit for both two-legged and four-legged guests. Remember, even a small gathering can be incredibly enjoyable for your pet. So, celebrate the holiday, honor our heroes, and make some unforgettable memories with your furry best friend by your side.

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