Is there such a thing as protocols for dog overnight visits? Do you worry about taking your dog to visit family or friends overnight because you’re not sure if your dog will be a good houseguest? I understand. But who can resist an invitation to escape reality? Today, let’s dig into the top 20 things you need to do in order to have great dog overnight visits and get a second invite.
*Updated: November 5, 2023
Budget Tip: The great news is that it doesn't cost much if anything to be a great dog guest. It's simply a matter of being polite. I always think of the other person and if I were them what would be good, then what would be great and aim for that one. I guarantee the great will get you a invition to come back with your pup. Yet, there's hardly any expense involved. Now, that’s a win-win and you and your pup get to relax a bit.
Why do I want to be a good guest?
This should be self-explanatory, but in case you don’t know who wants a jerk in their home. Imagine your perfect guest and then be even better. If you don’t care for the folks you plan to visit, then perhaps, re-think visiting. Otherwise, be a great guest. How? It starts before you even leave home. But there are 20 tips that will make you a great guest with a dog.
1. Ask if you can bring your dog
I know it may sound simple, but it’s often overlooked. Honestly, it’s just polite to ask if you can bring your dog before you show up at the front door with Fido. Sometimes folks have allergies or their pets don’t like to share their home.
2. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations
While your friend or family may never ask if your pup is vaccinated, it’s good to have those documents. Some states will even require documentation of vaccines before crossing state lines.
3. Bring your dog’s vaccination records (if possible medical and allergy records as well)
You can store vaccination and medical records online. Although, I like to have a hard copy, just in case I need one for an emergency veterinarian or out-of-town veterinarian.
Do you give your dog Benadryl? I did too for years and then he suddenly developed a severe allergic reaction. In this article I share what it looks like and the costs of these types of allergy OTC medications.
4. Learn about the neighborhood veterinarians
You hopefully won’t need this at all, but it’s always good to know about the local vets, which ones are highly recommended, and which ones people constantly ding before arriving at your friends’ home. You’ll also want to look at their emergency status. You just never know what will happen and when. Preparation is always key.
5. Wash or groom your dog before departure
The last thing you want to do is arrive and have your friend say, “Cute stinky dog!” With this in mind, you also want to bring your dog shampoo, dog wipes, brush, and dog dental spray. Additionally, don’t forget to wash your dog’s bed(s), collar, harness, and leash, which can all hold your dog’s smell.
6. Take all your dog’s medications, food, and treats
This seems like an easy one. However, if you’re close to running out of food or medications, it may mean a trip to your vet or placing an order online, which could be delivered to your friend’s house if necessary.
7. Check out the dog parks and local dog-friendly areas before you go
You can save a bit of your visiting time by looking for dog parks or dog-friendly trails online. It might surprise you to learn what you and your dog can uncover. Sometimes a dog park isn’t the best option. You might do better with walks around the neighborhood.
8. Bring your dog’s bedding or crate
This will allow your dog to have a sense of familiarity and calm in a new or different space. However, ask your friend first if it’s okay to bring these items. Sometimes there’s simply not space. Or for whatever reason your friend won’t want them in the house. If this is the case, then bring a small blanket or towel that your dog has slept with for a few days (after his or her bath so it’s not stinky).
NOTE: Make sure you have cleaned bedding and they don’t stink of dog. Remember most dog beds can be washed in a washing machine on the gentle and go into the dryer on low or no heat. Also, you can put 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar in the water to disinfect and un-stink the dog bedding. I’ve been washing Henry’s beds for years.
9. Pack a few favorite dog toys
Again, this will give your dog a sense of familiarity in a new place. Plus, it will distract him if he gets nervous or wants to do something naughty he shouldn’t.
10. Pet odor eliminator spray and doggie pee pads
While your dog might be superb at home, he may get nervous in a new or different location. If your friend has pets, your dog may feel it necessary to mark where your friend’s pets have marked. It’s always good to keep eyes on your dog. But just in case he should do something not so nice, then a dog-friendly odor eliminator spray will work. Some people will even put down pee pads for even their adult dogs at night while visiting friends or family, just in case the urge should hit.
NOTE: Some people are very clean and don’t like shoes in their homes. With these friends, be prepared to wipe your dog’s paws with a doggie wipe whenever he comes inside.
11. Leash and introduce your dog to your friend’s family, including pets
When you arrive, make sure your dog is on a leash. Gently introduce your dog to your friend, if they haven’t met. This includes other pets and family members. Do this from a distance and then bring the pets and people closer as they appear to want to peacefully interact.
12. Dog’s sensitive areas
If your dog has any sensitive spots, such as ears, or is food possessive, make sure your friends are aware of these issues and areas. You can even do this before you ever arrive and then again once you are there with your dog. This is a critical one and prevents unnecessary incidents or injuries. Especially if your friend has young children.
13. My dog can’t eat that!
Politely inform your friends, especially if they are not familiar with dogs, about things that dogs can’t eat, such as chocolate, onions, and garlic. Remind them it’s best for your dog to eat his or her food and treats only. And that he or she should only drink water.
Again, you can do this in advance, and then remind your friends once you arrive. I know once you see an adorable dog, the mind sometimes can’t remember everything it was told.
14. Backyard dog inspection on a leash
After you’ve done introductions, ask your friends if you can walk the yard with your dog on his leash. Make sure the yard is safe. You don’t want any holes in fences or loose boards. Let your dog sniff and mark as he would like. However, don’t allow your dog to pee on flowers or plants unless your friend says it’s fine. You may want to accompany your dog whenever he goes to the backyard. That is something you’ll have to decide.
15. Let your dog walk the house
Next, it’s time to move inside. Ask your friend if you can walk inside the house where your dog will be allowed. Leave your dog on his leash. Do this slowly and let your dog slowly sniff and listen to noises. If you observe your dog wanting to mark anything, quickly clap your hands, say “NO”, or squeak a dog toy. Basically, do something to divert your dog’s attention. You don’t want to start off on a bad note.
16. Setup a spot for your dog to get food and water
Keep the water out at all times as you would at home. Make sure that your friend is fine with the location you select. Also, ensure it’s an easy spot for your dog to get to at any time.
17. Establish a safe spot for your dog
Your dog may get overwhelmed and need a spot to retreat. This could be in the room you will be staying in at your friend’s home or some other location. The idea is that it should be easy for your dog to access, yet safe from other animals, and people (including kids), if necessary.
18. Desensitize your dog to noises before bedtime
Your friends’ home will have different noises than yours. For instance, the refrigerator may be louder, the furnace may be next to the room you occupy with your dog, or you may hear coyotes. Take your dog into the room you’ll be staying in 30-40 minutes before bedtime and let your dog start getting comfortable as you get ready for bed. Put out a few comfort toys, if your dog has any. Some people have found that soothing music helps. Or even something familiar like a crate will help. The idea is to have your dog adjust to those new noises slowly with you there.
19. Regular dog routines are important
While everything can be new and exciting for you and your dog, keeping your dog to a regular routine with walks, food, and brushing will help your dog feel secure in this new temporary location with you.
20. Clean up after your dog
Like any good houseguest, it’s important to clean up after yourself and your dog. This means if your dog should eat a shoe, you need to replace it. Or if your dog gets sick on the floor, you need to clean it up. Of course, you also, need to leave the house smelling fresh and the backyard looking pristine. I like these poo bags for Henry.
Is it cost-effective to stay at a friend’s house?
Oh my, yes! It should definitely be cost-effective to stay with a friend or family member. You won’t have the high cost of lodging or additional fees for your dog. Plus, you can simply relax and enjoy your vacation with your friends, family, and dog. Honestly, the cost savings could be in the $1000s or more depending on the area and how long you are invited to stay. That is HUGE!!!
Of course, you don’t want to overstay your welcome or be a “sponge”. That’s the purpose of this article. In fact, I generally even leave a gift for my host or hostess. Plus, I always leave the spaces Hery and I use cleaner than when we arrived. Additionally, I help out wherever possible with meals or chores. Yet, I’m still relaxed and saving a lot of money.
Are there dogs that don’t make good houseguests?
There could be a few dogs you wouldn’t want to take to visit someone. These include:
- Aggressive dogs
- Sick dogs
- Not potty-trained dogs/puppies
- Puppies without all their shots
- Dogs recovering from surgery
- Pups or dogs who tend to bark a lot
- Unaltered dogs in heat
- Dogs without basic training could be difficult for some friends to handle (jumping, begging, nipping while playing, etc)
How to desensitize a dog to visitors?
I always like my dog to meet visitors or strangers on-leash. Additionally, I ask Henry to sit and stay. Then I ask the person to walk toward Henry. I may even ask Henry to “wait” or “stay” if he begins to get super excited. Then I ask the person to show the back of their hand so that Henry can sniff them and get to know them a bit. Once the person and Henry are more comfortable, I let the person pet normally. However, I may still leave his leash on, especially if the person is a child or has health issues. That gives me more control if I should need to issue a firm command to sit or come.
Does my dog need to be up-to-date on vaccines for an overnight visit?
Here’s the way I look at this question. Put yourself in your host’s shoes. If they have children or other pets and you are taking an unvaccinated (or not updated) dog into their home, would you be comfortable if the tables were reversed?
Accidents happen in a split second. But you can take precautions. That includes having your dog’s vaccines updated. Moreover, if you’re worried about the cost of vaccines, you can find low-cost vet-approved clinics. Honestly, having your dog updated on vaccines is a basic curtsey like not popping in on someone unexpected and staying for a week or month. Always think how you’d react if it were you. Then do what you’d expect of the other person. That’s generally a great guide!
What to pack for dog overnight?
This is a great question. I confess, I walked out of the house and forgot half of Henry’s supply on a 7 hour drive a few years ago. It cost me a lot to buy those supplies when I arrived at my destination. Thus, I created a great dog travel checklist travel walks you through preparing for travel and packing in stages. So, you won’t forget a thing. You can download a FREE below!
- How To Find Vet Approved Low Cost Dog Vaccines
- Can Benadryl For Dogs Cost Too Much?
- How to Find the Best Vet
- Shocking Guide of How Homemade Dog Treats Save BIG!
- How to Cure a Smelly Dog – 6 Solutions
- Easy Dog Emergency Vet Visits Tips
- How To Wash A Dog And Not Kill Your Back
- Are There Really Safe Cheap Dog Meds?
- How to Find the Best Dog Groomer
- A Simple Dog Walk Cuts Vet Costs. How?
- 6 Dog Park Etiquette and Unwritten Rules
- Is There Cheap Temporary Dog Fencing? Yes!
- 10 Hazards To Avoid In A Safe Dog Yard
- A Dog Friendly Backyard On A Budget
- Is There a Cheap Easy Way to Train Your Dog?
- Hack Lets You Easily Open Dog Poo Bags
Summary of easy steps to make dog overnight visits wag worthy
The thought of visiting a friend or family member with your dog can seem too enticing to resist. However, it’s also important to be a good dog houseguest. Actually, you want to be a great guest with your dog. In doing so, you keep those friends and family members. Plus, you get many more invitations to visit and with your dog. And you can do it on a budget. My dog, Henry is a good houseguest and we have received repeat invitations just by following these simple tips.
What dog overnight visits tricks are surprising to you? Do you think your dog is a good houseguest?