Gatherings can be a lot of fun for both you and your pup. But sometimes, between consuming toxic food and being cornered with no escape, events can be very stressful to a pup. It is important to know what is safe for them to consume and have a plan for food restrictions that all guests are aware of. Equally important is that your pup has a safe place they can go where they will not be bothered if they feel overwhelmed. Even the most well-behaved, socialized pup can experience discomfort in crowds.
There are many “people foods” that are okay for canines, such as carrots, brussels sprouts, and pumpkin puree. But when cooked with various types of seasonings and spices, they can become toxic instead of nutritious. So if you desire to give your pup something directly from the table, it would be a great idea to have a bowl dedicated to dog-friendly nibbles that anyone can grab from and give to your pup. This bowl could include chopped carrots that you set aside before cooking the rest for your side dish, or even your dog’s treats or kibble! Your pup will still feel like they’re getting something amazing from the table, even if you are just handing them their own normal food! Now, it is important to remember that moderation is key. Too much of a good thing can still be bad and lead to a trip to the vet. Whatever food you decide you’ll be offering your pet, make sure you research how much they can have (it varies on weight and type of food).
Another fantastic way to include your doggo in the feast is to pick up a dog-friendly baked good from a local bakery, or even bake one yourself! There are TONS of pet bakeries in Seattle, including The Seattle Barkery, Blue Dog Bakery, Puddles Barkery, Downtown Dog Lounge Bakery, and many more! Some of them will even ship products directly to you!
Touching base on the “no-go” foods: fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis; cooked meat can be a real problem due to the seasonings used; and there are many, many fruits and vegetables that are downright poisonous to dogs and cats, including citrus, grapes, raisins, and more. Here are a couple of sites that have larger, more comprehensive lists available, but when in doubt, don’t feed it to your animal!
Aside from ensuring your pup doesn't consume things they shouldn't, you'll want to prepare a place for them to retreat to if they are not feeling the social vibe. This can be a quiet room or a kennel with a covering on it. Make sure that the guests (including children) know that if your dog is in that place, it is to be left alone.
If there are other dogs present, it can be harder to deter them from following your pet to their safe place, and you should keep an eye on them to interpret if or when they need a break from their situation. If they are putting off signs that they would like to be left alone, escort them to their safe room and close the door so the other dogs may not follow. Check on them frequently to see when they are ready to rejoin the group.
Article by Wendi Black
Edited by K. Sims
Updated: November 2022