How to Throw the Ultimate Homegating Party With Your Pet

By: Wendy Rose GouldUpdated:

homegating
iStock.com/Georgiy Datsenko

How to Throw the Ultimate Homegating Party With Your Pet

Homegating: It's just like tailgating—AKA a football party that happens ahead of the big game—but instead of taking place in a parking lot, you’re snacking and cheering away in the comfort of your own home. That makes it a best-of-both-worlds scenario, says Daina Falk, chef and founder and CEO of Hungry Fan, a website all about game-day entertaining. “There’s no need to manage the jigsaw puzzle that is packing up the car with vast amounts of tailgate gear, and it’s easier to prep food and drink and keep it appropriately hot or cold.”

The best part? While pets typically aren’t allowed inside football stadiums (and sometimes not even in their parking lots), your sweet pets can join in the homegating fun. Get ready to plan a homegate party with your MVP (most valuable pet) in just three steps from Falk and entertaining expert Paul Zahn.

Step 1: Invite Some Friends—and Their Pets

Gather your football-loving loved ones at your place on the big day. But remember: While some pets thrive in groups of people, others might feel stressed by crowds or loud cheering.

It’s always a good idea to only put your pets in situations where they’ll feel at-ease and to keep an eye on them throughout the event to make sure all’s going well.

homegating puppy with football

Try the following to help your pets have just as much fun as your guests at your homegating event:

  • Give the low-down to guests regarding the best way to greet and play with your pet, especially if they’re particular about anything. It’s also a good idea to go over acceptable foods, open doors and rules regarding furniture.
  • Prepare your pet in advance by making sure they’ve eaten, exercised and used the bathroom.
  • Keep your pet’s feeding and potty routine on schedule, even if it means stepping away from the party for a few minutes.
  • Provide snuggles, petting and toys for your pet to help keep them entertained and feeling loved.
  • Create a safe and quiet space for your pet in an area of the home that guests can’t access. This gives them a nice place to find some peace when they want a break from the party.

Step 2: Whip Up Some Homegating Recipes

When designing your menu, think simple bite-sized appetizers and hand-held items, Falk says. You also want a balance of savory items and sweet treats, keeping in mind that most people will want to fill up on the salty stuff and then indulge in a sweet treat or two.

Homegating Snacks for Humans

  • Buffalo chicken wings
  • Nachos
  • Mini burgers
  • Charcuterie board
  • Cupcakes frosted in team colors
Pro tip: Take classic dishes like nachos, burgers, sliders and tacos to the next level by setting up a topping bar with a range of condiments and extras, such as cheese, jalapeños, sauces and veggies. Remember to keep all foods out of reach of pets—many common toppings aren’t safe for them to eat.

We guarantee your pet will want to snack along with you during the big game. Generally speaking, avoid giving your pets anything with garlic, onions, chocolate, tomatoes, spices or candy. Here are 23 foods your pet can’t eat.

Homegating Snacks for Pets

Pro tip: Stay on theme by placing treats inside this SodaPup Football Rubber Treat Dispenser Dog Toy.

Step 3: Get IG Ready With Team Gear

You know you’ll be sporting your team’s colors with a jersey, T-shirt, hat and/or koozie—so why not make your dog the MVP of the night in a matching wardrobe, says Zahn. If they’re comfortable wearing clothing, dress them in a sporty T-shirt, sweatshirt or jersey. Furry friends who don’t do clothing can usually still sport a themed collar or bandana. Some pet football apparel can even be personalized with your pet’s name, which makes for the perfect social media photo opp if you ask us!
Littlearth NFL Personalized Stretch Dog & Cat Jersey
Littlearth NFL Personalized Stretch Dog & Cat Jersey
$44.99
Shop Now!
Pets First NFL Reversible Dog & Cat Bandana
Pets First NFL Reversible Dog & Cat Bandana
$10.49
Shop Now!
Pets First NFL Dog & Cat T-Shirt
Pets First NFL Dog & Cat T-Shirt
$10.99
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While you're at it, throw in a few sports pet toys:
RUFFIN' IT Sports Ball Squeaky Plush Dog Toy
RUFFIN' IT Sports Ball Squeaky Plush Dog Toy
$3.36
Shop Now!
Nerf Dog Tuff Tug Three Ring Football Dog Toy
Nerf Dog Tuff Tug Three Ring Football Dog Toy
$9.20
Shop Now!
Littlearth NFL Teaser Wand Cat Toy
Littlearth NFL Teaser Wand Cat Toy
$11.34
Shop Now!
From chowing on tasty, pet-approved appetizers to looking adorable in pet sports jerseys, a homegating event is the perfect way to include your pet in some great fun. Here’s hoping your team goes all the way this year!

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By: Wendy Rose GouldUpdated:

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