Pet etiquette for holiday travelling
Will your dog be joining you as a guest in someone’s home this holiday?
Pet-iquette is similar to human etiquette: don’t track in dirt, keep your stuff in one place, no jumping on beds and try to howl as quietly as possible at night.
Yet — canines being who they are — there’s always uncertainty, said Sean Sheer, who writes for the New York City Urban Dog blog. Take Sheer’s dog Bodhi, a mellow eight-year-old Weimaraner who has partied on Fire Island and at the Jersey Shore as a charming guest.
But one Thanksgiving in Palm Beach, Fla., Bodhi could not resist counter-surfing.
“Our hostess went into the kitchen to get the vanilla cake, but it was gone,” says Sheer, who lives in New York. “There was frosting on Bodhi’s mouth.
“The lesson is that as well as you think you know your dog, they can always surprise you.”
The first test of good manners comes when you’re invited for an overnight visit.
“Don’t just show up after a sixhour car ride and have your dog pop out of the back seat to a look of horror on the host’s face,” said Jodi R.R. Smith, president of Mannersmith, an etiquette consulting firm in Massachusetts.
If your pet is not named in the invitation, then you must ask.
“A pet as a weekend guest adds a lot of responsibility for a host, even if they are dog people,” said Lisa Grotts, an etiquette expert from San Francisco who has a corgi named Elizabeth. In some ways, asking whether a dog can come is like asking to bring an extra person, she says.
“Don’t set your dogs up for failure,” said Becky Pugh, owner of the grooming and boarding business Bone Jour in Bethesda, Md. If they like to chew on sneakers and slobber on the sofa, it could ruin the whole weekend for everyone.
But if you’ve snagged an invite for you and your dog, ask for a list of house rules. Your dog may be allowed on the furniture at home but maybe not in your host’s condo. They may request that your dog not go into certain rooms or be let loose in the manicured backyard.
Pack everything — including a dog bed, food, feeding bowls, toys, gates and waste bags. Bring a blanket to use wherever your pet lies down.
“It’s nice to also bring a roller brush so you can keep hair off of the furniture,” Grotts said.
Google nearby dog parks so your pet can work off energy, Pugh advised.
Sleeping arrangements can be tricky.
“We bring our dog bed, but I confess, our dog doesn’t always stay in it,” said Sheer, who suggests bringing a blanket or sheet to lay on your bed.
All it takes is a few seconds for things to go terribly wrong if you lose track of your pet’s whereabouts when visiting..