10 Rules for Houseguests with Pets


Plan Ahead

Being a successful houseguest means planning, and this is doubly true when pets are involved. You wouldn't think of asking your host to pay to have your favorite cereal or chocolate on hand, so don't rely on him or her to stock pet food, litter or any of the other items your pet may need. Being prepared for any eventuality you can think of will help ensure a less stressful visit. Many pets are anxious when in unfamiliar surroundings. Make things easier for everyone by taking care of the necessities and bringing along some of the extra comforts your pet is accustomed to.

The list below will give you some ideas about the types of things you should bring with you:

  • Proof of vaccinations
  • A recent photograph of your pet (in case it gets lost)
  • Your vet's phone number
  • Your pet's medication
  • Food (Bring the brands of food it normally eats.)
  • Can Opener
  • Carrier
  • Bedding
  • Grooming Items (like brushes, nail trimmers and shampoo)
  • Toys
  • Treats
  • Latex Gloves
  • Leash
  • Muzzle
  • Handheld vacuum
  • Carpet deodorizer
  • Paper towels
  • Litter, sand or shavings
  • Trash bags
  • First aid kit (hydrogen peroxide, petroleum jelly, scissors, tweezers, gauze, bandages, adhesive tape, pet first aid booklet)

You know your pet better than anyone else, so use that knowledge to your advantage. If your pet is a seasoned traveler, you'll know better how it will behave and can try to plan for it. If not, don't assume that your even-tempered cat or dog will react to a new experience, like visiting a strange place, the way he responds to familiar surroundings. An upset stomach, increased shedding, constipation, moodiness, anxiety, whining, barking and increased aggression are ways an animal can react to the unknown.

Make sure your pet is wearing identification, like a collar with a tag that has your address and phone number on it in case it gets lost or runs away. Until you know what to expect from both your pet and your host's hospitality, be prepared.

In the next section, we'll talk about household rules and wishes regarding pet visitors.