Despite not being a die-hard football fan, I love throwing Super Bowl parties. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a good game of football, but my team (HTTR!) hasn’t even come close to the big game since 1991. I still love Super Bowl Sunday because to me there is something poetic about a bunch of friends and family gathering together and having a good time despite their differences and team preferences. Plus, there is always A LOT of good food and great commercials to keep non-football lovers entertained.

There’s not much about the big day that I don’t like. I love the decorations, the food, and the company, but sometimes having a house full of guests can rattle my pets. Keeping Ralph and Luna safe and calm while we have company over can be a bit of a challenge especially when food is involved. Over the few years, I’ve learned a few tricks and I’m happy to share those today thanks to our sponsor Whole Foods Market in Northern Virginia.

14 Tips for a Pet Friendly Super Bowl Party Success

Notify all your guests ahead of time that pets will be present. People may have allergies, fears, or even questions. Advanced notice gives them time to prepare if they need it!

Make sure your pets are well exercised. Kick off doesn’t usually start until about 6:30 PM, so go on a long walk in the morning or early afternoon before guests arrive. Tired pups are less likely to get into trouble.

Don’t forget special themed treats for your pets. Table scraps aren’t good for dogs, but we all have that friend who wants to constantly give your dog a treat. Set up an obvious bowl of dog treats and let people know it’s okay to give them a treat from there. You can set the limit by how many you put in the bowl. Just make sure it’s separate from the human food. You don’t want a house guest snacking on your dog treats!

In the past, Ralph and Luna enjoyed homemade sweet potato chips and this year they’ll be snacking on Whole Foods Market Whole Paws dog treats. Check out this post on how to spice these treats up and make them festive for the Super Bowl!

Super Bowl themed dog treats from Whole Paws - Whole Foods Market

Create a quiet space for your pets. Sometimes you have to rearrange or add furniture when you have house guests over. Make sure your pets can still get to their bed or crate, so they can relax if they start to get overwhelmed. It’s also always handy to have some long lasting chews to keep them occupied for bits of time.

Remember: chips and dip are a classic. You honestly can’t go wrong with tortilla chips and salsa. Good thing Whole Foods Market has them on sale!

Super Bowl Classic - Chips and dip from Whole Foods Market

Don’t forget to decorate! Keep your decorations on table tops, so your pets won’t get into any mischief when you aren’t looking. For a few pet friendly decorating ideas, take a look at my Super Bowl recap from a few years ago.

Make your food festive too. You can turn almost any food item into a football with some cheese laces. Or pick up a football shaped Italian bread loaf from Whole Foods Market. This would look great alone or turn it into a cheesy pull apart bread for extra fun. At just $3.49 per loaf, it’s an inexpensive way to save time and stay on theme.

Football shaped Italian bread from Whole Foods Market for the Super Bowl

Relax! Don’t feel like you have to cook everything yourself! Pick a dish or two to make yourself and then check out the pre-made section at Whole Foods Market. They have a great selection of pre-made foods along with their hot bar.

Buffalo wings hot bar at Whole Foods Market in Fairfax, Virginia

I’ll be making buffalo chicken dip, so I picked up cream cheese and celery on our last grocery shopping trip. Thanks to Whole Foods Market, our Super Bowl party will also feature queso dip and chicken wings. We’ll be taking another trip soon to get a few more fresh pre-made items for the party too. They do often come at a premium price, but with the time it saves – it’s worth it!

Super Bowl snacks from Whole Foods Market in Fair Lakes

Keep food easy to serve and bit sized. One of my favorite options for any kind of party is cheese. Who doesn’t like cheese?! You can mix and match flavors and it’s super easy to pre-cut. Since we picked ours up a few days in advance, we went with the 365 Cheddar and Pepper Jack blocks. However for just a $1 more per pound, Whole Foods Market offers the same cheese pre-cut into little cubes! Don’t forget the crackers!

Pre-cut cheese cubes from Whole Foods 365 brand.

Keep a few frozen appetizers on hand as a backup. I always think the hardest part of planning a party is judging how much food you need to have. I usually go the other way (hey leftovers!), but I always keep a few frozen appetizers just in case. You just need to pop them in the oven and they don’t usually take that long. Plus, with options from Whole Foods Market like Samosa, Spanakopita, and Spring Rolls, you might even be able to pass it off as freshly made.

Easy to prepare frozen appetizers from Whole Foods Market

Don’t you dare forget dessert. I mean it’s not a party without dessert. When I saw the tea cookie section and bread pudding hot bar… BREAD PUDDING HOT BAR! at Whole Foods Market, I was in love. You have my permission. Go crazy, but just keep chocolate up and away from your pets all evening long!

Tea Cookies and Dessert from Whole Foods Market in Fair Lakes

Have restrooms and hand sanitizer available for your guests. Your guests may enjoy seeing your pets and want to show them love, but they probably don’t want dog hair on their plate or to eat with dirty hands. Make sure you’re stocked up on soap, toilet paper, and even hand sanitizer to ease this process. Our pups always get a pre-game bath too because I know no one wants a stinky dog up in their face.

Have a dedicated spot for trash and recycling. Stay on top of it, so it doesn’t pile up and attract the interest of your pets. Consider keeping the bin higher up or getting one that can fully close.

Have fun! You may be the host, but it’s okay to sit down and enjoy the game or a cold beer too.

We had such a great time shopping at Whole Foods Market in preparation for the Super Bowl. It was much more of an experience than most of the other grocery stores I’ve been to. We were able to sample wine, cheese, olives, and so much more. Everyone I spoke to was cheery and helpful and not weirded out by me carrying around a DSLR camera while I went grocery shopping. After this experience, I’ll definitely be gracing the Whole Foods Market in Fair Lakes with my presence more often. Hopefully someone will help keep me out of the tea cookie section though!

Although neither Ralph and Luna could come with us on the shopping spree, they weren’t forgotten. Three new boxes of dog treats came home with us. Two are exclusive to Whole Foods Market and will be featured in our upcoming post on how to spice up store bought dog treats. And the third was especially made to benefit Homeward Trails, the rescue that took Ralph in and was responsible for connecting us! I couldn’t pass that one up. We also perused the rest of the dog food aisle and I was impressed with many of the brands featured like our friends at Wellness. It definitely wasn’t your typical grocery store dog food aisle. Thank you Whole Foods Market for caring about what our pets eat too!

Luna with her pet friendly haul from Whole Foods Market in Fair Lakes


If you live in Virginia, DC, or Maryland, then we have a huge surprise for you! Right now we are giving away a $100 Whole Foods Market gift card over on our Facebook page. If you don’t live in the DMV, don’t fret. We will have more giveaways coming soon. However, if you have friends and family living here, then share away!

Official Rules: Residents of Virginia, Maryland, and DC are eligible to enter via Facebook. Entries must be submitted by 11:59 PM ET on Sunday, February 5, 2017. Winners will be notified via Facebook messenger within 48 hours of the giveaway closing and will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize.


What’s your favorite Super Bowl Treat? Tell us your pet’s favorite too!

Disclaimer: I am being compensated to help spread the word about Whole Foods Market NOVA. I received no additional benefits for mentioning the brands or products in this post. The opinions and ideas in this post are my own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business. Whole Foods Market NOVA is responsible for all giveaway prizes.

Jessica Shipman
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