Vacations are often spent visiting friends and family, but who thinks about being a considerate guest with their pets? Staying in another person’s home can breed tension, but throw your pets into the mix and the situation can turn downright hairy!
If you have a friends-and-family road trip coming up, we’ve picked up a few tricks to keep you out of the dog house. And for those of you who will be hosting, sharing this post where your future guests might see it can’t hurt!
Tips for Being a Considerate Guest with Your Pets
Check to be sure your pet is welcome. Bringing your pet along as a surprise for your host is never a good idea. Friends and relatives might not be comfortable having your pet in their home. Confirm in advance that your pet is welcome, and discuss any restricted areas or rules that will need to be followed during your stay.
Brush up on obedience. Traveling with your pets means introducing them to new places, scents, and people. It’s your job to help them determine which behaviors are appropriate in new environments. In preparation for your trip, spending some time refreshing your dog’s basic obedience skills so he can showcase his manners and impress your hosts. Simple commands like “Down,” “Stay” and “Leave It” can curb overenthusiastic greetings, stop a dog from bolting out a door, or keep him from eating something harmful.
Give them a comfortable retreat. Pets can easily be overwhelmed by large groups, so provide them with a retreat away from the activity. Set up a bed or crate in a quiet spot to give them space to relax.
Keep to your pet’s normal schedule. As simple as it seems, feeding and exercising your pets on their normal schedule will help reduce their anxiety. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you of your pet’s feeding time and don’t skip their daily walks. It’s the perfect opportunity for some one-on-one time!
Avoid digestive disaster. It’s tempting to spoil your pets with foods and treats while you’re away from home, but many popular holiday foods are dangerous for pets. And even eating healthy foods he’s not used to can put your pet in gastrointestinal distress. It’s best to stick to his regular diet while you’re traveling, so let your hosts and other guests know that anyone offering unapproved treats may be cleaning up later.
Leave no trace. The best way to ensure you’ll you’ll be invited again is to leave your host’s home as you found it. Bring a spare sheet to cover the bedding if you know your pet will insist on sleeping with you. Pack your lint roller to remove any fur your pup may leave on the sofa. And be sure to pick up and dispose of your dog’s waste in the yard.
Keep your cool. Remember that your pet will pick up on your feelings, and over-excitement, anxiety and stress are common emotions when we travel – so relax, stay calm and have fun!