Petiquette 101: What to Do if Your Dog Destroys Someone Else’s Home

A puppy demonstrating Petiquette 101, sitting in a wicker basket on a wooden table.

Whether you and your pup are visiting a friend for the afternoon or plan on staying overnight at a relative’s home, it’s important to keep in mind that even the most well-behaved pooch may create chaos in an unfamiliar environment. Think: chewed up shoe, marks inside, destroys cushions.

To be a responsible dog parent who is welcomed into your host’s house again, you need to understand the ins and outs of “petiquette,” or the proper ways to handle your pup and their possible destruction of someone else’s property.

If your dog stress-chews a high-end sofa, has an indoor accident, or just incessantly barks, here are the actions to take as an accountable dog owner.

Plan Ahead

Well before you and your dog arrive at your host’s home, you should plan ahead for your stay. This includes thoroughly understanding their house rules, stocking up on everything your pet needs, and respecting your host’s family and/or other pets.

Some general house rules to know include:

  • Are pets allowed on the furniture? How about the bed?
  • Are dogs unwelcomed in certain rooms?
  • Is the home properly pet proofed?

To dog proof the area your pet will be staying in, make sure all electrical cords, toxic plants, and smaller items that could be choking hazards out of reach. Additionally, ensure there are no valuables in the room that your pet could destroy.

Pack your pup’s essentials, such as her food, toys, crate or bed, and cleaning supplies.

Be sure to be aware of any pet allergies that anyone in your host’s household has. If your host owns dogs, it may be a good idea for the pups to meet beforehand, such as at a local park. Lastly, Google the address and number of the nearest emergency vet.

Be Flexible

Remember that this isn’t your home. Your host has opened up and welcomed you and your dog into their personal space. It’s important to keep this in mind and to be flexible and gracious when it comes to your host’s needs and schedule.

For instance, if your host works from home and cannot be distracted, be sure to keep your dog’s possible barking at bay. Either stay with her or make plans to enroll her in a nearby doggie daycare during working hours.

Related: Training Your Dog at Home? Here Are 16 Must-Have Products Experts Recommend.

Mitigating Doggy Damage

The worst possible scenario when staying at another person’s home with your dog is your pet destroying their possessions. Here are four steps to take in case this happens:

  1. Take Pictures: If possible, take pictures of the damage. This is especially critical if anyone was injured, but that topic should be saved for an entirely different article.
  2. Apologize: This, of course, is the most important step to take. Most folks understand that accidents happen, and a sympathetic attitude can definitely make or break an already sensitive situation.
  3. Clean Up: If there are small pieces of the chewed item strewn across the floor, sweep them up. If it was a pee problem, swiftly clean up the mess. Don’t assume your host will be doing the dirty work for you and your dog.
  4. Take Accountability: If your dog destroyed your host’s possession, immediately take accountability and offer to make amends. You should always offer to pay to have the item repaired or replaced.

What If My Dog Isn’t to Blame?

If your host is blaming your dog for something you believe that she did not do, don’t become argumentative. Remain calm and sympathetic to your host’s position, but don’t give in. Explain why you don’t think your dog caused the damage and let them know that your pup is not to blame.

The Bottom Line

If you and your pup are staying at somebody’s home, it’s important to make the experience effortless for everyone involved. Always plan ahead, be flexible and accommodating of your host’s needs and schedule, and mitigate doggie damage by apologizing and making amends.

Even if your host isn’t a dog lover, taking these steps will ensure that you and your pet will be welcomed back with open arms.

Related: Bored Dog? Here Are 15 Virtual Socialization Training Events for Your Pup.

By Stephanie Weaver

Stephanie Weaver is a freelance writer residing in Philadelphia, PA. When she's not locked down to her laptop, she can be found riding horses or playing with her Boston Terrier mix, Steve.

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