20 Steps For Dog Overnight Visits

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
a happy dog is excited for to experience dog overnight visits at grandma's house
disclaimer note
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. 

Do you need to get your dog’s vaccines updated? Worried about the costs? In this article learn about cost-effect vet administered pet vaccines.

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. 

Discover how to find a great veterinarian.

Do you know how to properly prepare for an emergency vet visit? Proper preparation can save your dog and your pocketbook. In this article, I walk you through exactly what I learned.

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.

In this article discover different ways to cure your stinky dog smell.

If you hesitate to wash your dog because it hurts your back, then this article will help you reduce that pain.

In this article, I guide you on how to find a great dog groomer.

Want to cut your dog’s costs and trim your pup’s nails easily? This article will make your wishes come true.

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. 

Are you overwhelmed with the cost of dog treats? In this article, I show you how to cut dog treat expenses yet still spoil your pup.

Have you thrown your hands up at the costs of dog medications? In this article, I show you how to find low-cost vet-approved pet RXs.

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.

Do you know that simply walking your dog can cut your dog’s vet costs? It’s true. I walk you through it in this article.

Discover how to be a dog park rock star in this article. 

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. 

Is your friend’s yard unsafe and not fenced? No need to stress. In this article, I walk you through quick, easy, and cheap fence options.

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. 

backyard inspection for dog overnight visits

In this article, discover the hazards lurking in the backyard and how to make a yard safe.

Are you dreaming of a beautiful dog friendly backyard, but you have a kibble budget? Learn how to make it a reality in this article.

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. 

Do you need to train your dog, but you don’t have time or money? Learn how to do it with your constraints in this article.

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.

pup bed for dog overnight visits

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. 

dog park walk with a dog overnight visits

 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.

In this article, I reveal an easy DIY hack for opening doggie doo bags.

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)

If you have a doubt about your dog being able to visit a friend or family member, simply consult your veterinarian. My vet is always a great source for Henry.  


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!

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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.

a cute dog arrives for dog overnight visits at a friend's house

What dog overnight visits tricks are surprising to you? Do you think your dog is a good houseguest? 



10 thoughts on “20 Steps For Dog Overnight Visits”

  1. Great tips! We’ve never stayed for overnight visits at someone else’s house. We don’t travel very often. When we do, we book campsites or dog friendly Airbnb’s. IMO that’s just SO much easier than trying to manage my dogs in someone else’s house, although some of these tips for sure do still apply! 🙂

    • You’re absolutely right some of these dog overnight tips apply regardless of where you stay with your dog. I’m glad you are able to get away and have some fun adventures with your pups.

  2. We never left our dogs anywhere yet and usually didn’t have visiting dogs overnight either. Once, though, our dog’s friend’s parents were getting married, so their two dogs stayed with us.

    Because all the dogs already knew each other, it went smoothly, and the visitors were quite excited about the sleepover. However, we did make sure we tired them enough outside so nobody would get themselves in trouble.

    • That’s a great one to tire out your dogs before bedtime or before they need to go inside. Super! I may need to add that one to the list. You’re also correct that it does help if the dogs or pets know each other before the visit. Great insights!

  3. These are wonderful tips! I love it when my company brings their dogs to visit, even though some of them are not as polite as Henry. Since my dogs can be possessive of their food and toys, I usually pick up all their high-value toys before company comes and separate the dogs for mealtime.

    • Those are great tips to feed the dogs separately at mealtime and pick up those valuable toys. Super ideas! I will have to add them in as an update, once I’ve collected everyone’s ideas and tips. Thanks!

      Yes, and you’re right. Henry is pretty well-mannered. But he does LOVE to play with anyone or anything.

  4. Great tips and I have only done an overnight once with Layla and that was when we were moving from one apt to another so I stayed with a friend. We had our own room and she was calm and relaxed and we had no problems phew.

    • I’m glad to hear your overnight visit with Layla went well. It can be a bit nerve-racking. Especially if you were moving. Wow, what a stressful time. Layla is a perfect fit for you. 💖

    • I’m so glad you found this article informative. You are absolutely correct. You definitely want to have your dog’s vaccinations up to date before any visits, especially an overnight visit.


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