Saturday, December 28, 2013

Preparing Pet Homes for Holiday Guests


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Tiki Awaits Her Guests' Arrival
As pet households, we each have our own rules, ones that everyone in the house knows. The cats don’t go outside. The dogs can’t go outside of the yard off leash. No begging for food during dinner. You know how it goes.

But, when we open our home to holiday guests (especially non-pet parents), those rules and many other facets of our life with our pets that we take for granted can become unleashed. Whether your guests have different rules with their own pets or they don’t come from a background of pet parenting, as host, you’re going to have to do some preparation both to make sure your guests are comfortable and that your pets are safe and secure.

As we prepare to welcome guests to our own home this holiday season, we’ve been going over our own preparations—and checking them twice. Here are our top tips for making sure your pet home is ready for your holiday guests:

  • Consider a “rule sheet” for your guests’ room. In all the excitement when you’re greeting guests, you might mention that the cats don’t go outdoors—but will they hear you and will they remember? Will they be embarrassed to ask again if they didn’t understand? You can help everyone out with a simple card in your guests’ room. Print up a few quick house rules and leave it in a bedside basket along with some goodies to greet your guests. If you think your guests will be tempted to treat Fido or Fluffy, leave some of your pets’ usual treats in the basket as well.
  • Clean and clean again. Let’s face it: we get accustomed to the odors of our pets. And, although we scoop the litter box several times a day and keep the dogs well groomed, we know that non-residents will pick up on odors that we no longer smell. (And, if they’re not pet people, you know that they’ll especially notice that doggy or litter box scent.) We use the Rug Doctor carpet-cleaning machine to deep clean our carpet and upholstery before guests arrive, removing smells and stains as well as pet fur.
  • Realize that everyone might not share your enthusiasm. Yes, it’s hard to fathom but all guests might not be pet lovers. Whether they’re uncomfortable with pets or just disinterested, you’ll want to take their comfort level to heart. When Fifi insists on sitting on Aunt Myrtle’s lap, it’s time to break out a JW Treat Tower, a stuffed KONG® or a PetSafe Busy Buddy for some fun alone time for your dog. Be prepared with long-lasting treat-dispensing toys and a quiet place for your pets to go to get away from the guests. (And, no, you cannot join them there.)
  • Keep an eye out for problems. Especially if your company isn’t accustomed to indoor pets, keep a vigilant eye out for potential problems like the medications in an open purse sitting on the floor or the children’s toys that present a tempting chewing temptation.
  • Make one family member responsible for your pets. It’s all too easy to think that your pets are with another family member—all the while they’re making their way down the street thanks to a door or gate left unattended. Designate one person to always know where your pets are.

Hosting holiday guests is a great way to share the joy of the season with all the members of your family—both two- and four-legged. With some pre-visit preparations, you, your guests, and your pets can all enjoy a peaceful and safe holiday season in your home.

About the Authors
Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the publishers of DogTipper.com and the authors of the newly released DogTipper’s Texas with Dogs (Open Road, distributed by Simon and Schuster). The full-color book features the most dog-friendly locations across the Lone Star State. For more information, visit www.dogtipper.com and www.TexaswithDogs.com.

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