No, I’m not suggesting that your house guests will intentionally harm your pets, but unless they’re used to people coming and going and taking up “their” space, they can become upset.
The most obvious danger is that one of them could bolt out the wrong door and become lost or injured, but that’s just the beginning.
You have two concerns: Their physical well-being and their emotional and mental state.
First the physical. If your house guests are not animal people they may not realize that they need to put any and all medications out of reach, even if they believe they’ll keep the door to their bedroom closed. Pets can be sneaky and snoopy, so could slide in when no one is noticing. Pills need to be inside a latched suitcase or in the medicine cabinet – not sitting on a table or counter.
Second, your guests need to understand that it is NOT OK to give the cat or the dog unauthorized treats. Goodies such as chocolate candies and cookies can be fatal, as can raisins and grapes. Fatty and spicy foods can upset their tummies – causing them distress and possibly causing you some unwanted cleaning chores.
If your guests bring hostess gifts in the form of houseplants, go on line and check to make sure the plant is not poisonous. Snoopy cats love to chew on something new, and as you know – heights are not an issue to them.
Do remind them to watch the doors if your cats aren’t allowed outside, or if your dog needs to be on a leash before going out.
Do NOT allow a guest to tease your dog or your cat. Teasing is not only cruel; it could lead to unexpected and unwanted behavior – like biting.
Your pets’ emotional state can be affected by the increased activity in the house, by you not spending as much time as normal with them, by having extra people around – especially small people if they aren’t used to kids, and by having strange dogs or cats in the house.
Even the most mellow dog or cat will become upset if a newcomer is allowed to use his bed or his bowl – and jealously will rear its ugly head if you pay too much attention to the stranger.
Your pets and theirs should be carefully watched when together until you’re sure there won’t be a battle, and even then, don’t leave them alone. Our very mellow Newfoundland was just fine with a little dog who came to visit – until he was laying by the couch and the little dog decided to use his head as a stepping stool to get on the couch.
I’ve never been present when a lion roared – but I can’t imagine it could be louder than the roar that Ralph let out. Luckily, he didn’t snap. And luckily, the little dog decided to spend the rest of the evening on his person’s lap.
Do your best to keep your pets’ regular routine, especially with regard to feeding and going outside. After feeding, set the bowl up so the “guest” doesn’t decide to help himself. And do remember to pet and praise your cat or dog just the way you always do when you’re alone.