10 Rules for Houseguests with Pets


Make the Introductions

Stay close by when introducing your pet to a new environment and other animals.
Stay close by when introducing your pet to a new environment and other animals.

­Be careful when introducing a pet into a new environment. Make sure to provide a safe area, like a carrier, and place it in a location that's quiet and out of the way. Let your pet get used to the new sounds and smells gradually. After it's begun to relax a little, try introducing it to your hosts, their children and their pets. Try spreading this out over the course of a few hours, and always provide a safe haven, a spot where your pet can feel secure when it starts getting overwhelmed.

Many animals are territorial, and your pet will probably be feeling at a disadvantage. The calmer the environment stays, and the more soothing and reassuring you can be with your pet, the faster it will acclimate. Your pet's safety and the safety of others is the most important consideration, so never just let your pet out of its carrier and hope things will sort themselves out. Introduce it to a controlled environment, and then bring people in one at a time. Introduce other pets only after they've been restrained. Get your hosts to help you during the settling-in period. They understand their pets better than you do. Remove breakables from the room until you're sure that your pet is adapting well.

One of the best ways you can help your pet adapt to new people and animals is by socializing it while it's still young. Exposing your pet to new people and situations gradually over the course of its formative years by taking it on walks and in the car teaches it that new experiences don't have to be frightening, that sometimes they're fun and interesting. Learning this lesson makes your pet a better traveler and a better companion.

Follow along to the next page where we'll talk about ways to make sure your pet stays safe.