6 Tips for When Your “Grandpets” Come to Visit

Older man smiling while holding a brown Dachshund dog.

Are your adult kids “pet parents” who treat their animals like members of the family? Do they want to bring your “grandpets” when they come to visit?

Having visiting animals in your home can be fun—but it can also be stressful if your grandpets cause messes and chaos or if they make other guests or animals uncomfortable.

Our tips will help you navigate your relationship with your adult kids and their “fur babies” so everyone can enjoy the visit!

1. Consider if You’re Okay With Grandpets Visiting & Know it’s Okay to Say “No”

Maybe you just got new carpet, or maybe your partner is highly allergic to dogs. Or maybe your cat hides in fright when dogs are around. That’s okay.

You’re within your rights to say “no” to your grandpets visiting, although your adult kids might be upset about this.

When navigating this difficult conversation, share your concerns with your kids and try to provide some helpful solutions. For example, maybe there’s a nearby kennel that would allow your kids to travel with their pets and have them close—but not at your house. Or maybe there’s a pet friendly Airbnb in your neighborhood where they can stay. Or perhaps you’d be willing to chip in for them to hire a pet sitter at home. Providing solutions reinforces your boundaries—while also showing you care.

Read this related article: Is Adopting a Dog Right for You? 5 Things to Consider

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2. Communicate Expectations Ahead of Time

If you’re okay with having grandpets visit your house, but you have concerns or certain expectations, it’s important to discuss these with your adult kids before their visit so everyone is on the same page.

For example, maybe you would prefer your daughter’s pup to stay crated while it’s in your home, or perhaps you’d like to keep your son’s cat sequestered to a certain room. Communicating these expectations in advance can help stave off surprises and conflicts during their visit.

3. Prepare a Secure Spot for Your Grandpet

Being in an unfamiliar environment can be stressful for animals and lead to destructive behavior, but you can help your grandpet feel more comfortable by creating a peaceful refuge.  Here are some items you can prepare:

  • A safe and quiet “den,” such as a crate or enclosed playpen 
  • Toys that are unlikely to be swallowed
  • Food and water bowls

If possible, your adult child should also bring their pet some familiar items from home.

Check out our 6 Tips for Caring for Pets in Retirement

4. Help Ensure a Calm Entrance

It’s normal for dogs to get overwhelmed and excited when entering someone else’s house. High-energy greetings can sometimes lead to undesirable behaviors in the house like running, jumping and urination. Here are some tips to help ensure a calm entrance:

  • Calmly greet your grandpup outside and allow the dog to get some energy out before heading in the house
  • Ensure the dog stays on leash during the introduction
  • Avoid petting and eye contact until the dog is calm

5. Help Your Grandpet Stay on Routine

Just like grandkids, grandpets also thrive on routine. Whether it’s playing fetch in the morning or an evening walk after dinner, help accommodate these daily rituals for a peaceful visit.

6. Respect the Pet Parents

Whether they don’t want their dog off leash in the yard—or they don’t want it fed table scraps—it’s important to respect your adult kids’ wishes when it comes to their pets (even if you don’t agree!).

Want more? Check out our blog, Do you Qualify for a Service Companion or Animal?

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