May 6, 2013

Many people love to take their pets along with they visit friends and family. Most of us love to hang out with like-minded people whose values are similar to ours and it’s a joy to be able to take your pup or kitty along for the ride, especially if he’ll have a furry companion to play with when he gets there.

But sometimes, you can find yourself in a house that’s not quite as pet-friendly as your own. Try your best to make sure your pet doesn’t make a nuisance of himself by following these seven tips – unless of course, your goal is to actually not be invited back….

1. Keep pets off the furniture, unless invited. While many of us think it’s amusing to make our own house guests sit on the floor while our dog or cat stretches out on the couch, it’s surprising how many people are unappreciative of being prohibited from sitting on their own furniture, especially when the reason is someone else’s animal. Even if there’s room for everyone, try to respect the fact that some hosts will have their own rules about sofa and armchair usage. They may not possess the specialist pet-fluff-removing vacuum equipment many of us own and it can be quite a chore to use rolls of sticky tape to try and remove large volumes of hair and dander from one’s furnishings.

Dogs on Couch

2. Don’t take up too much space in the kitchen. Many of us feed a raw or home prepared diet to our pets and while this is a great way to make sure your animal is getting optimal nutrition, it can be cumbersome to lug an entire cooler full of bloody meat and entrails up to someone’s apartment, and expect them to clear out their own freezer to make room for your ingredients. Try to be considerate, and just buy small quantities of ingredients a day or so ahead of time, or consider a dehydrated or freeze-dried food that’s more compact to travel with.

3. Be sensitive to allergies. If your host has allergies to pet dander, a nicely wrapped box of Benadril can make a thoughtful and functional hostess gift; the gel cap format seems to work more rapidly than the conventional caplets and while they cost more, it could be worth the investment if a severe reaction is likely to ensue.

4. Locate Liter trays considerately. Set up a litter tray or potty pads in a discrete area that’s tucked out of the way – somewhere your pet can find it, but a place that’s relatively free of foot traffic is ideal. If an accident does happen, be sure to clean it up promptly and thoroughly even if you’ve had a late night, because there’s no ruder awakening for a host in their own home, than cleaning feline excrement from between their toes before they’ve even put the coffee on.

5. Go with the flow. Part of being a good houseguest involves a certain element of fitting in with other people’s ideas about what constitutes a good time. While your dog is likely to have quite distinct needs in terms of a routine, and regular exercise along with trips to use the bathroom, it’s helpful if you can refrain from completely taking over and dictating the entire schedule for the duration of your trip; petless people sometimes find it hard to have their itineraries controlled by a non-human mammal, and may become resentful if some of the things they had planned have to be abandoned, especially if dinner reservations have been made and your main reason for declining is that your dog will have to poo around 9pm.

6. Reduce Disruption and Destruction. A good romp in the woods, run on the beach or other vigorous exercise can really help to tucker out your dog, helping him feel calm and relaxed in otherwise strange surroundings or disrupted routines – and thus less likely to cause stress-related destruction of your host’s possessions or soft furnishings. The fresh air can also help you to unwind from houseguest stressors, as well.

7. Keep your options open in case you’re asked to leave. With a little forethought and pre-planning, it can be a pleasure to visit others with your animal companion. If you do think there’s a risk that you may in fact fail in your quest to be a good houseguest, or suddenly find that you and your pet are on the verge of pushing your host’s hospitality to its limits, consider a reconnaissance mission to scout out pet-friendly hotels in the area, just in case you’re actually asked to leave.

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