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.
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
Homegating Snacks for Humans
- Buffalo chicken wings
- Mini burgers
- Charcuterie board
- Cupcakes frosted in team colors
Homegating Snacks for Pets
- Frozen fruit in your team’s colors (i.e. strawberries and blueberries if you’re a fan of the Patriots, Bills, Texans, Giants or Titans)
- DIY baked treats in sports-themed shapes, like this football jersey snack for dogs
- Homemade, pet-safe BBQ sauce
- Tasty turkey treats for cats
- Purchased treats, such as American Journey Beef + Chicken Jerky Dog Treats and Wholesome Pride Pet Treats Sweet Potato Chews Dehydrated Dog Treats.
Step 3: Get IG Ready With Team Gear