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Prepare your pups for holiday celebrations

To help make your next party dog-friendly,here are some tips on how to make your dog a welcome guest at your next party.

(David Pulliam/Kansas City Star/MCT)
(David Pulliam/Kansas City Star/MCT)Read more

Holidays bring out the party animal in all of us, and dog owners are no exception. Today more people are including their canine companions in their holiday celebrations. To help make your next party dog-friendly, the November/December issue of the American Kennel Club Family Dog magazine offers tips on how to make your dog a welcome guest at your next party.

Most people know that chocolate is toxic to canines, but make sure your guests know that grapes, raisins, onions, icing and even bones are off-limits to your dogs.

Keep food off coffee or side tables. Instead place party fare on the dining-room table or kitchen counter, and pull the chairs far away from the table.

Assign a friend or family member to work as a "watcher" to make sure no one is slipping your pup any food.

When inviting guests, remind them that you have a dog and that it will be mingling among the crowd.

Even the most well-adjusted dogs can get excited or nervous when greeted with throngs of people. Set a calm and relaxing tone by asking guests to help themselves to drinks and hors d'oeuvres, and at the same time, to leave the dog be.

Put your dog on a running leash for the beginning of the party if you're worried about him being overfriendly. Undo the leash after the dog has adjusted so he can enter a calm environment.

Designate a safe area for your dog so it can retreat from the crowds .

Hang signs that remind your guests to keep doors closed and, of course, tag and microchip your dog in case anything happens.

Make sure your pet is properly trained, groomed and cleaned before allowing it to attend the party.

Consider purchasing a "party collar" with your dog's name on it.

Make sure your house is in proper order, especially if your dog sheds.