Gather your two- and four-legged pals, the big game everyone has been waiting for is back! On Sunday, February 13th, our favorite teams will brawl for the Superbowl championship. But, vets warn, the fun of the Superbowl doesn’t come without risks to your pet’s health and safety. If you’re hashing out the play-by-play to host pets and humans this season, we’ve rounded up the 6 must-know tips for a successful party.
Pro-tip: Before the big game and while your guests are arriving, tune into the other Super Sunday brawl. The two deserving teams of Puppy Bowl XVIII will be slobbering their way to the end zone at 2 p.m. EST on the Discovery Channel.
1. Pregame with a walk or play
All-in-all, the Big Game could last for about four hours, and for many pets, that’s a long time to not be to be walked or played with. Before your guests arrive, spend quality time walking your pup around the neighborhood or playing fetch in the park. Kitties need love too, so set aside 30 minutes for snuggles and her favorite toy. Pregame exercise should be enough to burn some energy until another walk at halftime.
2. Introduce the team
Let your guests know ahead of time that there will be pets at the party. Lots of people love dogs and cats but can't be in space with them for an extended amount of time because of pet allergens like dander and fur.
When your guests arrive, ask them if they would be okay with letting your pet say hello with a few sniffs. If your pet seems unsure about their new acquaintance, encouraging your guest to feed him a treat might break the ice. Of course, not all pets like to mingle. So, it’s okay if your pet would rather hide out in a safe space.
3. Provide coverage
If guests are coming and going, you’re going to want to take extra precautions so your pet doesn’t slip out the open door. Before the party, take a few minutes to update your pet’s microchip. And, nothing goes better with your pup’s football bandana or jersey than his up-to-date ID tags.
4. Offer your pet a timeout
Even for the most people-loving pets, the loud noises and excitement of the Superbowl can get overwhelming. Lee Pickett, V.M.D. tells Figo Pet Insurance that a crate with a blanket covering it or a private room can provide your pet with the quiet break they need. Dr. Pickett adds that if your pet is showing signs of anxiety, the ThunderShirt, Anxiety Wrap, or similar garments provide gentle, constant pressure that promotes relaxation.
5. Don’t fumble food scraps
Would the Superbowl be the Superbowl without saucy wings, dips, and brews? Maybe not, but a fumbled food scrap could send you and your pet into a hail Mary to the emergency vet. For starters, Kansas Veterinary Care Hospital warns that the bones in chickens could splinter if eaten and the spicy sauces could lead to a bad case of nausea and diarrhea.
Instead, avoid foods that are toxic to cats and dogs or keep the food in a pet-free zone away from curious paws. And if your guests can’t deny those cute little puppy eyes, set out a bowl of pet-friendly treats and let your friends know it’s okay to give a few throughout the game.
6. Cook up something for the pups
If pet-friendly treats are on the menu, particularly if your guests are bringing their own dogs along, make sure you have something cooked up for them! Figo has a great list of Scarf'd recipes for inspiration, but we are particularly drawn to these PB and Honey Chicken Jerkey treatsfor game day.
The best way to keep your pets safe, happy, and healthy in any situation is by talking to your vet ahead of time. Your vet can offer anxiety-reducing tips, training how-to, and other guidance specifically tailored to your four-legged companion. If the unexpected does happen, Figo Pet Insurance will help you worry less and get you back to cheering on your favorite team.
Janelle is a cat mum to two resident adventure kitties, Lyra and Atlas, and numerous cat and kitten fosters. Janelle and her furry family enjoy filling their days with hiking, kayaking, and seeking out the best cat-friendly destinations around the Pacific Northwest. You can follow Janelle, her adventure kitties, and adoptable fosters at @paws_pdx.