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How Your Pet Can Be A Good Guest When Visiting For The Holidays

Published on: November 23, 2022  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

dogs in sweaters in front of Christmas treeWhat do we love to do during the holidays? Visiting friends and family alike! If you plan to take your pet along with you, you’ll want to be sure they are on their best behavior. Here are some ways to help your pet be a good holiday guest this season.

Always ask before bringing them along

Unfathomable as it may seem, not everyone wants your pet to visit. Some people just don’t like dogs and/or cats. Some people have allergies. Some people already have pets and are not inclined to add to their pack, even temporarily. It is just as important to ask about bringing your pet as it is to ask about bringing a human guest when you’ve received an invitation.

If your cat or dog can’t meet high etiquette standards, don’t even consider bringing them with you. They won’t be capable of being a good guest – and that will make you a poor guest, too. You want to be invited back, don’t you? If you really feel as if you cannot be separated from your beloved four-legged companion, and you know they won’t be welcome, then you should both stay home or consider finding a pet-friendly hotel or rental. Perhaps you can get together with your family or friends in another way.

Be prepared for the length of your visit

Are you planning on staying for a few hours or several days? Make sure you’re armed with everything thing they will need for the duration, plus extra:

  • Visiting pets should be freshly bathed and otherwise well-groomed. Bring a brush and comb to keep them that way.
  • Bring your pet’s own food and pack portable food and water dishes, rather than expecting your host to provide them.
  • Will your pet need a raincoat, sweater, or booties? If you expect mud or snow, take an old cloth you can use to wipe off dirty paws (and dry off the rest of your pet). Or pack a roll of paper towels. You certainly don’t want to get mud stains on your host’s lovely new monogrammed bath towels!
  • Don’t forget a leash – or, better yet, a crate, baby gate, or something else you can use to confine your pet so they don’t have the run of your host’s home.
  • Take treats and toys to keep them amused.
  • Take plenty of poop bags or kitty litter plus a box and scoop. Include a bottle of enzymatic cleaner and a can of air freshener, too, just in case.

Consider your host – and their environment

Not everyone’s home is pet-friendly. Even if your dog or cat will be welcomed with open arms, consider how they will fit into their new environment. Remember that some cats and dogs are attracted to shiny, mobile, or scented decorations, so they may be inclined to be destructive - be it not on purpose.

Behaviors that seem funny or cute and are entirely acceptable in your home might be way out of line elsewhere. Hopefully, your dog has learned canine good citizen manners such as sit, stay, come, and “no” to jumping up and barking. And while it’s wonderful that your pet is so affectionate, be aware that they may seem like a big pest to someone else.

Don't allow your pet to climb on the furniture, even if it’s allowed at home. Even if you bring something to cover the upholstery, your pet’s holiday will not be ruined if they have to sleep on their own bed or in their crate. And you can always cuddle with them on the floor.

If your dog or cat is a champion shedder, consider taking along a hand-held vacuum, so your host isn’t stuck trying to remove pet hair from their furniture, carpet, or drapes.

Along with being considerate of your host, think about any resident pets. Unless they are already very familiar with your cat and/or dog, introductions should be handled cautiously. Your pet is entering someone else's home and it will help everyone get along if you take steps to avoid irritating your host’s pets.

  • Feed your animal in a separate room or their crate
  • Make sure your pet doesn’t attempt to steal the host pet's food or toys
  • And make every effort to follow the household’s routine when it comes to feeding and walking times, etc.

And speaking of walking, one of the best ways to assure your pets (especially dogs) are good guests is to wear them out. A tired dog is a calm and quiet dog. Holiday visits can be stressful for humans, even if you dearly love your hosts. Taking your doggie for a long walk or a vigorous romp allows you some quiet time, too.

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