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What to do with your pet when you have a big party

Unfamiliar faces, access to potentially harmful foods, and loud noises can make it a little harrowing to keep Fido and Frisky happy and safe while you're entertaining. Luckily, if you plan for their comfort ahead of time, you can keep your little critters calm and secure during your big event.

 Particularly nervous animals will probably be more comfortable at a familiar neighbor's or relative's home during the party. That way, they can be in a familiar environment and avoid the anxiety that comes with large groups of strangers. Some pet owners choose to board their animals while they're hosting a big party, but that may add to Fido's stress if he isn't very well socialized.

 In most cases, it's fine to keep your animals at home during the festivities. Before the party begins, walk your dog for a little longer than usual to tire him out. Feed your animals, and set up beds, food and water dishes, and a litter box in a comfy room far removed from all the party hoopla. If your pets are extremely excitable or likely to make an escape, you may need to tighten the security. Add a pet gate across the closed doorway or dig your extra-large pet kennel out of storage. Then, tuck your pets and all their stuff inside the kennel where they are safe from escape.

 If your pets are very social, bring them out for a few minutes to meet and greet your guests. Stay with them throughout the process so your pets can't get into food that might be hazardous. This also prevents your pets from bothering your guests who may not be as animal-loving as you are. Make the visits short and then put your pets safely away in their special room.

 As with all things party-related, it always pays to plan ahead. Planning for pet safety is no different. Keeping your pets away from the dangers of a big bash ensures that you, your guests, and your pets can enjoy party day--guilt- and hazard-free.