Prepare your home for pet-phobic visitors
Your mother-in-law glares at you from the opposite end of the table, her white Christmas dress now muddied with pawprint polka dots left by an overly excited greeting from her four-legged grandchild. You glance over at your deathly allergic father-in-law beside her who appears to be doing a Rudolph impersonation as the cat curls its tail under his nose and digs its claws into his lap. These are the daunting realities that await many pet owners this festive season …
"Especially for those with pets, having guests over during the holiday season is not always as simple as just extending an invitation. If you are planning on entertaining guests who are not particularly crazy about your pets, there are a few things you can do to your home to make sure that everything runs smoothly. For example, you could install a pet gate to keep your dogs away from where you plan on entertaining your guests. Just be sure to fasten these correctly so that they don't collapse when Fluffy takes an excited jump at it and half of the wall comes crumbling down along with it," says regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.
Below are a few more suggestions prepared by RE/MAX of Southern Africa for homeowners with furry inhabitants:
Sticky-roll the furniture
You might be used to being covered in pet hair, but your guests aren't. Before your guests arrive, wipe down your furniture with a double-sided adhesive roller and be sure to keep your pets out of the room afterwards. Carpets and loose mats should also be thoroughly vacuumed and even washed if possible, as anything fabricbased tends to absorb the scent of your pets more than other materials. In terms of safeguarding the investment value of your home, it's advisable to keep your pets out of carpeted rooms in order to avoid the expense of having to replace these when it comes time to sell.
Minimise the over-excited greeting
To try and minimise your dogs' excitement when they hear the doorbell, spend the morning with them out at the beach or a nearby park. That way they will have released some of their energy by the time your guests arrive. You might also want to ask your guests not to ring the doorbell or knock on the door when they arrive, but rather send you a text so that you can sneak them in without getting your pet all worked up by the sound of their arrival.
Keep them occupied
Though not impossible, it's much trickier to bark with a full mouth, so it's a good idea to purchase new chew toys to keep your pet preoccupied when your guests enter the home.
Also be sure to feed your pet before you sit down to eat so that it doesn't beg around the table. Pet food can have a really strong smell, so you might want to feed them outside or away from the room in which you're entertaining.
Whatever you do to accommodate pet-phobic visitors, just remember that the happiness and well-being of your pet should never be compromised in the process. "If you have friends or family who really cannot stand being around pets, it would be better for everyone involved if you invite them out for a meal instead of inviting them over to your home.
Responsible pet owners will put their pets' happiness above their desire to entertain. If your home cannot accommodate both your pets and your visitors comfortably, then perhaps it's time to consider relocating to a home that is better suited to your needs," Goslett suggests.