You’ve instituted the “no table scraps” rule for your dog and it’s working fine. Fido doesn’t beg for food and, although it seems like a boring diet to you, he enjoys the same old can of Alpo and occasional Beggin’ Strip day in and day out. While this approach works well when it’s just your family at home, preventing guests from feeding your dog table scraps is difficult to control, especially during a crowded house party. Here are a few tips to prevent your guests from feeding your dog at the dinner table during parties, holidays or any other occasion.
Clearly communicate your wishes: Be upfront with your guests by telling them your dog is not to be fed table scraps. Most people are respectful and will honor your wishes. If you anticipate any deviant behavior by your guests (disrespectful mother-in-laws, angry teens and oddball cousins come to mind), you may need to take a more extreme approach. Tell your guests they’ll be cleaning up the dog’s mess or paying the vet’s bill if the dog gets sick.
Use a gentle approach with children: Kids love dogs-and most kids love sharing their meal with a canine friend, especially if the food is something they don’t want to eat. Don’t scare children by telling them the dog will die instantly if he eats a strawberry. While scare tactics are effective, should Rin Tin Tin accidentally get his paws on a sugar cookie and children witness this, you could have several terrified, crying kids in the house.
Instead, tell children that your dog has allergies and could get hurt if he eats people food. This is usually enough to prevent a child from feeding the dog her unwanted vegetables. If desired, give the child a dog treat to give to the dog instead.
No dogs in the dining area! Consider keeping your dog out of the room in which you’ll be eating. This eliminates all possibilities that your guests will feed Fido a turkey leg underneath the table. Put your dog in its kennel, set up a gate or close off a room. Let your dog outside to relieve himself before putting him on lockdown. Make sure your dog is comfortable in its surroundings-provide favorite toys, water and food. Let the dog out after all food is put away.
Use humor: Consider buying or making up a doggie T-shirt that says, “Don’t feed me” or “Feed me and prepare to pay my vet’s bill.” This approach puts a fun spin on the harsh “no table scraps” rule and communicates your wishes without any awkward conversations.
Get a dog sitter: A more extreme approach is to find a pet sitter or send your dog to a local animal hotel for the day. This eliminates any uncomfortable conversations and possible family arguments stemming from your rules. Having your pet out of sight also allows you to entertain your guests without worrying about Rover’s whereabouts.
By taking these preventive measures to ensure your guests honor your wishes, you won’t find Spot gnawing on a biscuit underneath the table. Most importantly, you’ll keep your pet’s health in top shape.