Along with your other summer activities, you may have plans to travel with your pet to drop in on distant friends or visit out-of-town family. What you may not be anticipating, however, is the look on your best friend’s or Aunt Ida’s face as Fido pads up the front steps beside you.

You’re sure (or pretty sure) that your darling pet will only behave angelically, so it may be difficult to believe (let alone accept) that someone else might not enjoy or appreciate welcoming your four-legged best friend as a guest. Yet, you can see that your hostess isn’t thrilled.

Make sure your pet is a great guest by following our how-to guide below, and rest assured you’ll both be invited back.

First Things First

It’s imperative to contact your friends or family prior your arrival to get a “yay” or “nay” about having a tail-wagging guest. This shows consideration for your host’s children, pets, other guests, and their home. Plus, you never really know who may be allergic, fearful, or inexperienced around a new animal. You could be unwittingly setting up your pet for a negative encounter.

Of course, some pets cannot be left at home due to severe seperation pet anxiety. If you aren’t able to bring your pet along for a visit, consider boarding him or her with us or leaving your pet with a trusted friend.

Getting Real

Once you get the green light to bring your pet along for the visit, make sure your pet is really and truly up for the challenge. Remember, your pet’s manners are a direct reflection of you, and he or she should be able to follow your lead and behave well around other people, kids, and pets.

Ideally, you have invested time in pet training to establish or maintain boundaries, commands (come, sit, stay, leave it), and curb aggression or fear. Wayward behaviors like stealing food, soiling, jumping, barking, begging, growling, and digging (to name just a few potential issues) will quickly alienate you and your dog from the good graces of your hosts, and may send you both packing.

In short, you know your pet the best. Provide opportunities for him or her to present only the best behavior, and keep your plans and expectations flexible.

Safety First

You and your pet are probably already aligned in many ways, and staying in tune to your pet’s needs while away from home is mandatory. You’ll have to watch him or her closely to avoid or preempt accidental poisoning from food scraps or other potential pet toxins inside and outside your host’s home. Be watchful of other guests offering your pet food, and monitor all interactions (and explorations) closely.

Your Pet Is A Great Guest, Right?

Go prepared. Planning an overnight trip or a long weekend can take on mythic proportions when the family pet comes along for the ride. In addition to all required pet items (leash, bedding, food, brush, extra treats and toys), you should bring a crate since not all hosts welcome a pet who is able to roam freely through the house at all hours.

These additional tips can also help your host or hostess see your pet as a great guest:

  • Clean up immediately after your pet.
  • Exercise your pet frequently to release any confusing or anxious energy.
  • Provide chews, toys, and puzzles for occupying your pet and keeping destruction at bay.
  • Keep an eye on your pet to avoid any potentially dangerous or embarrassing incidents. A backyard party can go a bit sideways if your dog steals food from a guest’s plate or drops a baby rabbit at your feet in front of guests. Have fun but stay alert!

Paws On The Welcome Mat

Hopefully, with thoughtful preparation and consideration, your pet is indeed a great guest during your visit. He or she wins the prize for breaking the ice, opening up conversation channels, and providing amusement for all. Afterwards, send your hosts a nice thank you note for allowing your pet to stay, learn from, and enjoy their home and company.

Above all, practice and apply the strongest tenets of summer safety to keep your pet healthy and happy. Give our Union Lake Pet Services team a call for help in preparing your pet for summer travels.