Woof! Put Me In, Coach!

Tips for Celebrating Super Bowl Sunday With Your Pets

Each year, the O'Sheas have a large Super Bowl party at their Chicago home. At the beginning of February, their friends look forward to a great party with a festive atmosphere and good food. Invitations for the party are sent out in mid-January -- along with a set of dog awareness rules. The O'Sheas, who have no children but five Irish Setters, want to make sure that guests understand that they need to be canine careful.

According to Mary O'Shea, the "Dog Rules" came about because one year, a guest left one of the patio doors open after a smoke, leaving one of the dogs was locked out of the house for hours in the cold. Another year, guests fed the dogs and "let's just say that within days after the party, we had to change all the carpets," says O'Shea.

The following year, a business associate who had never been to the family home before did not know that dogs would be present. "The poor man was extremely allergic and left the party with a swollen, red face and my husband -- they headed straight for the hospital," remembers O'Shea. "The rules ensure that everyone has a good time."

Here are a few tips to make sure that your own pets -- and guests -- have a festive Super Bowl Sunday:

1. Be mindful of allergies. Although the O'Sheas use a HEPA vacuum to clean the house prior to the party and run air purifiers during the party, plan to advise guests if they are allergic to dogs to increase their doses of allergy medication.

2. Keep the seven-layer dip for humans only. Well-meaning guests often slip animals a snack or two... or forget to keep alcohol out of pets' reach. Even if a food is considered non-toxic to pets, the grub that makes up most Super Bowl spreads is too rich and greasy for their digestive systems.

3. Give your pets a quiet space to take a mental "time-out". Among the O'Sheas' dog rules are requests not to leave doors open and to keep out of the dog room. "The pet room serves as a retreat while we have guests in the house," says Brian O'Shea. "When the dogs get tired of the festivities, they can escape to their room and rest in the crates. To reduce the levels of stress, we dim the lights, play soft canine music and diffuse pheromones."

4. Consider using a "pet babysitter." To keep the dogs on schedule and to ensure the O'Sheas can attend to their friends and family, they hire a pet nanny to come their home at least three times to attend to the dogs. Her afternoon walk is more of a play session in the front yard -- which their large number of guests thoroughly enjoy.

"Guests come outside to watch the dogs run up and down the yard chasing a football. As humorous as it is, it sets a tone for the day," says Sheila Shaughnessy, a friend of the O'Sheas for more thirty years.

5. Include your pets in the fun! Party guests confirm that the O'Sheas are mad about their dogs. "As long as I can remember," notes Ed Shaughnessy, Sheila's husband. "Brian and Mary order special dog jerseys and have their names embroidered on them." I am sure this year the dogs will be wearing black and gold. The O'Sheas will be supporting the Pittsburgh Steelers."

Pertaining to the rules, Sheila Shaughnessy observes that "the Dog Rules seemed silly at first, but with all those paws in the house, they ensure that we all, including the dogs, have a great day."

Do you think your pet can pick the Super Bowl winner this year? Head to our Facebook page and click on the "Pick Your Fave" tab. The side that accurately predicts this year's Super Bowl champ wins a coupon for a free sample from Freshpet! Plus, get a discounted coupon from Freshpet just for participating.

How will you be celebrating Super Bowl Sunday? Are you rooting for the Pitts-Bark Steelers or the Green Bay Purr-ers? Tell us below!

Comments (1)

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daryl b.

daryl b.
5 years ago

super scoot picks pittsburg so aunty michele without the z will love him. always be respectful of the rules of the house where you are

Good Point | Reply ›

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