Maybe your friend doesn’t actually hate pets. But if she is the kind of person who can’t even tolerate a goldfish in her presence, then you will have to take extra precautions when she comes visiting. Similarly, you may have relatives and or elderly family members who are afraid of dogs, and don’t like to be around pets. If you are an animal lover or a dog devotee with a menagerie of 4 or 5 adopted pets running around in your house, it can be hard to help your not-so-pet-friendly buddies feel at home. Here are some helpful tips to make everybody happy when your guests come over.
- Clean up. That should be obvious, but when you spend a lot of time in one environment, sometimes it’s tough to see what the unfamiliar eye will pick up right away. Be sure there are no piles of cat hair collecting in the corners of your hardwood floor. Vacuum your couch where your dog may have been shedding. Keep your friend’s animal-aversion at bay by cleaning up anything that might make them turn up their nose.
- Get rid of the smell. We mean the one coming from your kitty’s litter box in the bathroom. While you might be used to it, your friend will not be as forgiving. Being exposed to the putrescence of pet feces is incredibly unpleasant, particularly when one has no emotional attachment to the odor-originator. To help your friend avoid gagging the whole conversation, move the litter box, grass patch, or whatever your pet uses to eliminate, outside or in your garage. Open all the windows, and liven the space up with some air freshener.
- Keep your pets out of sight. Bring their crate/pen into a different room with food and water, as well as plenty of toys where they can play. Instead of trying to monitor your pets’ interactions with your guest, just situate your furry friends in a different place. They might enjoy the change of scenery, your friend will be more at ease, and you won’t have to play the warden or mediator.
- End on a positive note. Before saying goodbye to your visitor, thank them for coming and offer to let them use a pet-hair roller on their clothes. (If you have done a good job cleaning, they shouldn’t really need it!) Whether they take you up on the offer or not, this small gesture will show how much you care about their comfort, and will make them feel welcomed.
Though sometimes it’s easy to let our animal loves dictate how we entertain people, the best way to strengthen friendships is to prioritize the other person. Even if it is an inconvenience to make your home pleasant for people who don’t love pets, thoughtfulness and kindness towards others is always the right choice. And if it’s too much trouble, you can always offer to take your friend out for coffee instead, and let your animals roam at home!