This week’s blog is dedicated to my K-9 friend Beau Call, who is now sniffing butts in doggie heaven. He was a good and faithful servant. The pic with this post is not Beau, he was much more dignified.
This week I address the challenge of pets and houseguesting.
I would like to thank my veterinarians from Ashland Veterinary Hospital (ashlandvethospital.com) for providing me with their expertise on the subject.
First of all, don’t travel with cats unless you have to. My vets agree with me on this one. Cats are creatures of habit and generally don’t travel well. You’re always welcome to disagree with me, but you’ll have to wait until I’ve staunched the bleeding from my last trip to my sister’s with my cat!
That pretty much leaves dogs, and I must say that some of our best guests have been dogs…I’m looking at you Puddles.
Suggestions for the Guest:
- You are responsible for your dog’s behavior at all times.
“There are people who think their dogs will never do something aggressive…and they do. Even the nicest dogs will snap.” The Ashland Vets advise keeping your dog on a leash while indoors, especially if there are children or other pets in the host’s home. They say that by erring on the side of caution you are protecting your dog as well as those they come into contact with.
- Make sure your dog is up to date on all shots and medications recommended by your vet and find out about the environment where you will be staying. You may need preventative medicines that aren’t necessary in your home area.
- Don’t assume it’s OK to bring your dog with you as a houseguest without checking. This has happened to us.
- Ask permission once to bring your dog. If the host says “no” for any reason, please don’t press the point. That creates an awkward situation for the host.
- Put your dog’s kennel or ground pad in the guest room along with his toys and dishes. Feed the dog in this area and leave him there when you can’t watch him. This will prevent what the Vets call “resource guarding.” Rawhide is a common source of resource guarding.
- Pick up your dog’s poop from the host’s yard and let them know where you have deposited the load so the host isn’t surprised when they take out the trash.
- Don’t let your dog dig in the host’s yard.
- Dogs that jump on people and furniture are not cute to anyone but their owners. Another good reason to keep visiting dogs on a leash when inside.
- Exercise the dog so it is calmer indoors.
- Don’t ever blame the host (or the host’s pets) for your dog’s behavior. Remember, you have created this situation.
Suggestions for the Host:
- I repeat my number one Best Practice for Hosts, “Your ultimate responsibility is for the safety and well being of the family and household you have created.” If you have any reservations about hosting a pet, it is your job to say “no.” You are not required to provide a lengthy explanation. If you provide specific reasons they can be countered with comments such as, “Oh, my dog is hypo allergenic.”
- If you decline to host a guest’s pet, offer alternatives such as a local kennel or veterinarian that boards. “I’m sorry we can’t accommodate Ginger at our home, but I’ve heard good things about ____________.”
- Warn your guest of any issues they may have with a pet at your home. For instance, you may have an aggressive or elderly dog who does not play well with others. Or, your apartment is on the 21st floor and the elevator is slow. You get the idea.
- If you agree to host an animal try to relax and enjoy the visit. Right Puddles?