Is it OK to bring your dog to someone else’s cottage?

Your four-legged friend is a member of the family, right? So, wherever you go, pooch goes — including when you’re visiting other folks. There’s a reason they’re called your fur-baby. Leaving them behind is a little like leaving your child behind.

Well, not everyone sees doggos exactly like that. In fact, some people don’t have a dog (or dogs) and are happy that way. (Hard to believe, right?) Heck, even people who have dogs and love them to pieces don’t always want extra pups around, for any number of reasons.

That said, how to navigate the treacherous dog vs. no dog waters and still see your friends?

First of all, one thing — and this may be hard to hear if you marked your dog’s last birthday with a full-on family party, complete with balloons, and new set of Kong toys: it’s never OK to simply show up at someone’s house with your pooch in tow without having discussed it with your hosts first. Your dog may be small, your dog may be sweet and cuddly, your dog may even be hypo-allergenic, but none of that matters. Always check whether your dog is welcome in advance. Your best friend may be someone else’s asthma attack.

If you do go visiting with your pooch? Follow these tips to make the visit (relatively) stress-free.

Know what to expect

Chat with your hosts in advance about their cottage or house: is there a backyard? Does it have a fence? Are there rooms where a dog wouldn’t be welcome? Do they have kids? Elderly parents? Other pets? What are their rules about pets on the furniture? If you’re bringing a crate, is there room for it to fit comfortably somewhere? Be upfront with your hosts about potential challenges and let them know if your pooch whines if they can’t sleep with you at night, for example, or if they’re skittish about vacuum cleaners.

To avoid potential surprises for other guests, ask your hosts to let people know that they’ve got  a dog visiting at their place.

Make sure your pet is socialized and under voice command

All dogs get a little off-kilter when they’re in unfamiliar territory, but if your pupper is prone to aggression when they’re stressed, or they really, really don’t like kids/cats/loud noises/blue socks, consider keeping them at home. Everyone will be less miserable without a stressed-out dog in tow, and chances are, your dog will be happier as well. Also, be sure your dog will obey you when you tell them to get down or stay. The last thing you want is for Fido to bowl over your host’s aging grandmother in an enthusiastic effort to say hello.

Bring your own supplies

Sure, you’re going to bring food, medication, and a toy or two. Don’t expect to use your host’s dishes for dog food, though, and bring your own bowls as well. Consider also bringing a favourite pillow or blanket that smells like home for extra comfort (and to throw over your bed if you know your dog will jump up) — and don’t forget a grubby towel for cleaning Princess off when she decides to go mud diving. If your dog is small enough, a playpen or portable fence can provide a safe place to play outside.

Be respectful of people, especially kids, who don’t want to visit with Spot

Dogs bring out all sorts of emotions in people. For many, it’s an irresistible urge to make kissy faces and speak in baby talk. For others, it’s skittishness, fear, and downright panic. Don’t force your dog on someone who isn’t interested in getting near them — even if your dog’s breed includes the word “teacup,” “toy” or “miniature.” (Anyone who owns a small dog knows that they can be the fiercest of all!)

If your dog breaks something or makes a mess, replace it or clean up

Don’t ask, just do. Muddy paw prints on the couch? Clean the couch, or pay to get it steam cleaned. Broken vase? Replace it, even if your host insists that it doesn’t matter. And, of course, it goes without saying that you need to stoop and scoop everywhere. Offer to vacuum every couple of days to get rid of any stray tufts of hair. Consider bringing a supply of paper towel, carpet deodorizer, and a handheld vacuum to make things super easy.

Be prepared for an emergency

You hope nothing scary will happen, but just in case it does, be prepared. Bring your dog’s immunization records and vet’s phone number when you visit, as well as a photo of your dog, just in case he runs away. A doggy first-aid kit is also handy. And always make sure Ruff is wearing a collar with identification.

Make sure to give your pooch plenty of exercise and attention

Get your doggo outside and running around at least once a day. Not only will it keep them happier, the activity will tire them out so they’re better behaved when they’re back inside.

What are your favourite tips for visiting with your pooch in tow?

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