Charlotte Reed has written a great book on pet etiquette (Miss Fido Manners) we found helpful and charming. Opinions vary on what constitutes Pet Manners in different countries. Paris being one of the most dog friendly restaurant places in the world is famous for pet hospitality. People and public places policy may not have the same cultural interest in animals as you when travelling with your pet. Be sensitive to where you travel and factor in their cultural leanings. We paraphrase and embellish upon a few of Reed’s recommendations to make them more universal and work whether visiting someone here or abroad.
· Only ask a close family member or friend if you can bring your dog along for a visit to their home, and only if your dog is very well behaved.
· If your host does not offer your pet an invitation, don’t try to change her/his mind; if you are invited, discuss how to make the visit comfortable for everyone.
· Pack your pet’s possessions, including an odor eliminator and stain remover if the visit is local or on a road trip, in case of an accident. Bring a few small toys to keep your pet comfortable with familiar items but don’t take the entire array of their “favorite play things”.
· Take care when introducing your pet to other dogs/cats in the household.
· Balance your dog’s needs with the household activities/schedules. Plan ahead. For instance, who will look after your pet if you and your hosts are going out when staying over a weekend or longer.
· Be careful when introducing your animal to children and staff members of your hosts who live or work in the house. Animals can be more nervous in foreign countries and languages with words they don’t recognize. Although “No” may be known in most Latin based languages, the word Niet (Russian) or Nein (German) means nothing to an “English speaking” dog.
· Walk your dog around the neighborhood as a means of spending some time with your pet alone, giving them exercise and possibility of meeting new dogs and their owners.
· Be prepared to replace or repair any items destroyed by your pet. Immediately offer to do so in case of an accident.
· Thank your host for the invitation with a gift before and at the end of your visit. Include a personal note of appreciation with animal themed cards or stationery. Award winning wine bottles with portraits of dogs offered by muttlynchwinery.com make great gifts for when you arrive. Bring something for dog or cat lover that is a themed product to leave your hosts, their pets or their children at the end of your trip. Give thanks from you and your animal for the good time experienced. Factor in age, breed, sex and size of your hosts pet if your gift will be for them. If buying treats, only purchase those made from fresh ingredients with no chemicals or preservatives.
Toys, treats, wine, books on pets and their care, stuffed animal, or a framed photo of you and your pet make great gifts to leave with your hosts as hello, goodbye and thanks.