Visiting Family or Friends with Your Dog in Tow

Whether you are heading over for dinner or for a week-long stay, follow these guidelines to ensure your invited back again and again.

By | Posted: August 6, 2014, 5 p.m. PST

For us dog owners, it may seem natural to bring our dogs along to a friend or family home for vacation, after all, they are family too! But even if your family has dogs and loves yours, they may have different feelings about your dog as a house guest.

When visiting friends or family with your dog, keep in mind the rules are not the same as when you are at home. "It’s not all about your dog and what she wants; it’s about how good you all are as houseguests,” says Pam Enticknap, a Southern California beach town resident and dog owner.

dog travel

Here are some tips for a worry-free visit that will help ensure you get invited back:

In advance:

  • Talk to your host about expectations to determine if you and your dog can meet them without fuss or stress. Some dogs are not well-behaved in new situations.  
  • Bathe and brush your dog before you arrive.
  • Bring a leash, water and food bowls, dog towels, poop bags, grass seed, a portable crate, a bed, brush, and washcloth, shampoo, and a small basin for bathing muddy feet.

Upon arrival:

  • Review your host’s rules and preferences for the house and yard, as well as town local rules and regulations. If your host isn’t a dog owner, you’ll have to be more vigilant.
  • If your host is a dog owner, make sure the dogs have a chance to meet and interact on neutral territory. Make sure your dog is respectful of the other dog's food and toys and be prepared to crate your dog or take him for a walk if the house dog needs a break from the visitor.
  • Immediately pick up poop in the yard, and if possible, take long walks to help your dog release some energy. "Tired dogs are lovely houseguests because they’re ready for a nap,” Enticknap says.
  • Keep an eye out. Even if your dog has a regular potty schedule at home or isn't a chewer, you'd be surprised what can change in a new house. New sites and smells can trigger temptations and behaviors in dogs that you might not see at home.
  • Be responsible — don’t let her on the couch or bed, and wipe her feet on a dog towel before coming in the house. Don’t let your dog dig up the yard, and repair the damage if she does. Crate your dog if you leave her alone, and make sure she’s crate trained so she doesn’t bark.

Before departure:

Vacuum up dog hair and mop up any muddy paw prints. Reseed damaged spots on the lawn.

Return invitations only go to good houseguests, Enticknap says.

Has your dog ever been a less than perfect house guest? Tell us in the comments below.

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Sam   Somewhere, Illinois

12/15/2015 10:00:23 AM

This is helpful. We have son & his wife coming for Christmas visit bringing their new dog.

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