How to Ensure Your Pet is A Welcomed Houseguest

Dec 02, 2019     |      Sophie's Circle

A smiling dog inside with a happy family and a Christmas treeIt's that joyful time of year when we host guests in our homes and spend quality time with others in their homes. But, what about the dog? Even when we are asked to bring the family dog, how can we be sure the dog will behave well in another person's home? By following the five suggestions below, you will have done all you can to ensure a relaxing visit wherever you travel this season.

Health Matters
The number one rule for any dog that will be around people or pets is to stay current with vaccinations. This means Rabies, Bordetella, and DPP (Distemper, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza) should be kept up-to-date. Other recommended vaccinations include Canine Influenza and Leptospirosis. Ask your veterinarian about the length of time between doses and which vaccinations are best for your furry baby at his annual check-up. If you have not been to the vet in a while, this is an excellent time for a quick exam to make sure your loyal friend is healthy and ready to cuddle with some family members and friends.

Your dog may also have specific dietary needs or medication needs to consider and prepare for when traveling. Ziplock baggies or small reusable containers work well for planning out meals ahead of time and transporting treats. Additionally, there are medications all dogs should be taking throughout the year- heartworm and flea & tick preventative. These preventatives should be administered once per month to avoid the sharing of uninvited parasites, insects, and arachnids. Talk about your memorable party foul!

Dress for Success
Grooming your dog before stepping outside of your home or inviting people over is the same as getting dressed yourself. You want to smell good, give others a sense that you care about your appearance, and dress for the occasion when you leave the home. Why should your dog not receive at least a solid once over as well? Before getting together with friends, take your dog to the groomer or give him a bath and clip his nails. Scratches on your neighbors' hardwoods would not be a great way to show your appreciation for the dog-friendly invitation.

That said, dogs produce oil on their skin to protect them from the cold. So, many people who spend a lot of time outdoors do not like to bathe dogs, especially in the winter months. However, there are other ways to make sure your canine buddy does not offend the party guests. Try using dry shampoo for odor and dirt removal. Also, brush him really well to detangle his coat and reduce the volume of fur he will shed that day.

Leashes are Always in Vogue
If fences make great neighbors, then leashes or kennels accomplish the same goal whenever a group of people are gathered. In other words, both fences and leashes are used to create a separate personal space for everyone to move around comfortably. That does not mean people cannot enjoy your loveable Husky by asking to pet him. It does, however, mean your Husky will not jump up and knock someone down, linger too long for a sniff, or eat food off of a plate that makes him sick. For more nervous or anxious dogs, bring a size-appropriate portable kennel and ask the host ahead of time if there is a good place to keep it during the event.

By-the-way, this rule applies to well-trained dogs too, unless all the food is out of reach and the guests are neither afraid of nor allergic to dogs. If in doubt, a leash or kennel is the simplest way to make sure your dog is safe and not offending someone. Of course, this does not mean the leash or kennel needs to be boring. After all, this is a celebration! Feel free to add jingle bells or tree lights and watch all your friends and family comment on how festive your pooch is. 

BYOB (Bring Your Own Baggies)
Some dogs have timing for bowel movements each day the owners can become reliant upon. For example, those that are fed twice per day and have two timed bowel movements per day as a result. However, when stimulated on walks or, in this case, walking around lots of people, dogs can go more frequently. Therefore, even if your dog has a timed system each day, bring several baggies in the car you can use in case of emergency. On that note, do not forget to pay attention to your dog's cues for bathroom breaks. Puddles or pee stains in the home are just as embarrassing as leaving your dog's waste in the yard. Moreover, with the exception of an insistent host to use the garbage can around back, the baggies should be brought home or disposed of at another appropriate location. Throwing away smelly fecal matter can be another huge party blunder. 

Therefore, while receiving an invitation to another person's house for you and your furry best friend is a fun and exciting part of the holiday season, these tips will keep your dog the toast of the evening! By taking care of any health concerns, feeling proud of your dog's appearance and smell, keeping your buddy at a safe controlled distance from other guests and party food, and being prepared for meals, medications, and potty breaks, your hosts or house guests will be complimenting your dog's manners and looking forward to the next time you get together. Don't have a dog for such occasions yet? Check out our adoption page for a list of loving party-goers that would make the right companion for your household this season and every occasion for years to come.