Any time you have Guest pups in your home, in addition to making sure they have a great time you’ve got to ensure they stay safe! This is especially important during the holidays when visitors are coming and going, your house is decorated with what looks like fun toys, and there are so many human treats that pups would love to enjoy (but shouldn’t).
Check out these tips and products to make holiday Hosting easier — and more fun for everyone.
Prevent pups from escaping your home.
- Start by surveying your outdoor space if you have one. Are there any small gaps or holes that a pup can squeeze through? Patch them with plastic safety fencing.
- Do you have a low fence that a pup can jump over? Allow the pup some freedom while keeping your peace of mind — put them on a 30 or 50 ft. training lead to give them space and keep them safe.
- Use baby or dog gates to keep pups contained in a safe space away from the door any time someone is coming or going. A nervous Guest will take even the smallest of openings as a chance to bolt.
- Keep dogs leashed during drop-off. You might think that you want to make a dog "feel at home" and take the leash off ASAP. Don't. Creating a safe, secure environment will make the dog feel more comfortable. Consider even keeping the leash on for a bit while the dog settles in, especially if people are entering and exiting the home.
- Doorbells and knocks at the door can trigger dogs to bark or get excited. Tell your guests to text you if you when they arrive if you know that Guest and/or resident dogs respond to those triggers.
Products and tips for walking Guest pups.
- Always check that a pup’s collar and/or harness is secure and won’t slip! If a Guest dog doesn’t have an ID tag, or it’s not current, consider using some of our DogVacay ID tags.
- If a Guest dog is particularly nervous, you can double leash them with a slip lead as a precaution.
- Most importantly, NEVER take a Guest dog off leash!
- It’s also critical that you not take off their leash until you are safely behind closed and locked doors.
Helpful products to protect your home.
- While Hosting, you’re most likely going to encounter a pup that has an accident in your home. Products like Nature’s Miracle or Skout’s Honor will make the clean up easier.
- For the male pups who love to mark — prevent them from doing so with a belly band. Just be sure to keep the pad clean and wash the pup if they have an accident.
- For those that scratch, protect surfaces with a product like Poochie Guard.
- Finally, the easiest thing you can do to protect personal items and keep pups safe is move them out of reach of Guests!
Look at holidays from the dog’s point of view.
- Keep these things well out of reach:
- Centerpieces with scented candles, pine cones, gingerbread houses, small figurines and ornaments could be tempting to dogs. Same goes for bowls of candy or nuts you might leave out for guests to snack on. But for dogs, those items could cause problems if ingested.
- Kitchen scraps (especially turkey bones and onions) are very tempting but also very bad news. Secure trash in can with a locking lid or behind a door.
- Throw away paper napkins immediately after use. The food remnants make them tempting snacks that could cause an intestinal blockage.
- Decorating considerations:
- Keep in mind mistletoe and holly are toxic to dogs.
- String any lights (and cords) so they’re out of the dog’s path.
- If you put up a real tree in your home, get a cover for the tree’s water dish. Often substances are added to the water to keep the tree fresh — pesticides and even aspirin.
Make human guests and canine guests both feel at home.
- Have slow, calm introductions.
- Sometimes your human visitors will be excited to meet your Guest dogs and the natural tendency can be to immediately begin playing. If a Guest dog is feeling anxious, this will only make the situation worse and could even lead to aggression.
- The safest introductions happen slowly and calmly. Leash your Guest dog and approach your visitor slowly. Reward good behaviors with verbal praise, gentle petting, and treats. Never force an introduction.
- Watch the door.
- While you are used to entering and exiting your home with Guest dogs inside, your human visitors may not be so cautious. Make sure they understand not to open the door with a Guest dog nearby, as anxious dogs will often try to bolt.
- Be aware of your Guest dogs' location at all times, and temporarily put them in another room if your door will be open for long periods of time.
Take a picture. It'll last longer. (Really.)
- Every Guest appreciates updates on their dog's Vacay. If the Guest has to ask for an update, you've waited too long to send one.
- Make it a habit of taking a picture of the dog shortly after drop-off. It's very reassuring to a Guest to see within the first hour or two a picture of their dog safe in your home. You'll also have a recent photo of the dog - in case it's ever needed.
Following these tips will ensure both you and your Guest pup have a great holiday — but remember that we’re always here for you! If you’re ever in an emergency situation, please call us immediately at (855) 364-8222.