Sunday, July 20, 2008

Petiquette for Summer Entertaining

(ARA) – Humans are not the only ones who look forward to summer. Imagine warm weather from your pet’s perspective – long walks in parks full of green grass and interesting aromas for dogs, and hours of bird-watching from a sunny window for cats. It’s also fun for pets to be part of the festivities when their human “parents” do some summer entertaining. However the definition of a party for a furry friend is very different from that of its care takers.

How do you include the furry members of the family into summer entertaining without turning a backyard barbecue into a doggie food free-for-all or the evening dinner party into a feline hissy fit? By carefully planning and managing your pet’s interactions with guests and preparing for the big day, it is possible to keep Fluffy or Fido an enjoyable part of your celebration, says Charlotte Reed, pet care expert and author of “The Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette”.

“Petiquette for summer entertaining is a fine balancing act, but one that offers significant rewards for you and your pets,” Reed says. “Your guests can enjoy the presence of a well-behaved pet and a fresh, odor-free home.”

Here are Reed’s tips for making summer entertaining as enjoyable as possible for your pets and your guests:

1. Make your pets’ presence known.

While most summer guests will likely know your pet status, some may not, especially if they are recent acquaintances or first-time visitors to your home. Be sure to alert guests to what type of pets you have at home at the time you invite them to visit. From strong allergies to pet hair aversions, there are many reasons why guests may want to know ahead of time what furry friends will be at the party.

2. Freshen and clean.

Bathe and groom your pet before the summer party. “It’s very common for pet owners to become so used to their pet’s aromas that they don’t even notice them anymore,” Reed says. “But your guests likely will, especially when they come into your home from fun in the sun outdoors.”

In addition to helping your pet clean up, be sure to freshen your home as well. Vacuum carpets, fabric upholstery and drapes just a few hours before guests arrive. Use a pet odor elimination product, like Febreze Air Effects Pet Odor Eliminator, to remove pet odors from the air. “Avoid products that simply cover up pet odors with stronger scents. Febreze actually eliminates pet odor and replaces it with a light, refreshing scent,” Reed says.

3. The ABCs of introductions and interaction.

First impressions mean a lot. “If your dog jumps up on people every time he meets them, he won’t be giving a good impression,” Reed says. If your dog has a tendency to jump, work with him for several weeks before the party to train him to sit and lay. As guests arrive, keep your pet on a leash and personally introduce him to each new guest. Encourage guests to interact with him calmly and firmly so that he doesn’t forget his manners in the excitement of meeting someone new.

Likewise, if your pet is simply not that social, don’t force her to interact with guests. Allow cats to retreat to their favorite hiding spot – few felines are into the party scene. And if your dog seems stressed by the attention and action, allow him some quiet time in a private place. “There’s no point in forcing your pet to interact with your guests if he or she doesn’t want to,” Reed says.

4. Fend off food fights.

Food discipline should start long before the party, Reed advises. “You may think your dog’s begging eyes are adorable and irresistible, but few things are more unappetizing to house guests than a pet begging for food,” she says. Train your pet not to beg at the table. And if he or she simply can’t break the habit, then confine him to quarters when the food is served.

Discourage guests from feeding pets tidbits or table treats. “The last thing you want is a pet with an upset stomach because he ate too much human food,” Reed says.

Febreze Air Effects Pet Odor Eliminator is available in grocery and drug stores nationwide. To learn more, visit www.febreze.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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