Am I Wrong to Be Irritated? Visiting Family and Bringing Family Dog(s) Quandary.

Updated on August 12, 2010
J.B. asks from La Porte, IN
27 answers

I have a sister who has two dogs. She claims these dogs are hypoallergenic. When she comes to visit, she always brings her dogs to my house. (In fact, the first time she came with these dogs, one of them hopped up on my couch and peed.) They still shed a little, and they always end up pooping/peeing in the house and dragging grass clippings and/or leaves all over the house. Oh, and they bark constantly (they're not supposed to bark, either, due to their breeding).

I have a dog, too. He's a medium-large breed of dog (he's a big, beagle/pointer mix thing). Apparently, my other sister and a sister-in-law of mine are allergic to him (as well as cats—and we do have a cat as well). Our dog is house trained.

My sister (who has the two dogs), has just invited us to come to their house the week of Thanksgiving. I assumed we could bring our dog (since she always brings hers to every single family get-together—especially at my house), but I just asked her if we could bring him to be sure. She just wrote me back saying that she doesn't think that'd be a good idea due to the allergies of my sister and sister-in-law. Then, she went on to say that she hopes that doesn't keep us from staying longer. After that, she offered to help pay for the cost of boarding (which is a little insulting, I think—even though she may just be trying to be nice) because she fears that the cost of boarding the dog will hinder us from coming and staying long.

Is it wrong for me to be irritated that she can bring her two dogs into my house (little stinking yappers) and not let me bring mine? I recognize that people are allergic, but it's only a few days . . . can a dog really infiltrate a (large, 3,500 sq ft) house in that time? Anyone?

It's not a cost issue that we don't want to board the dog. He doesn't do well in a kennel (separation), and it's the principle of the matter.

Anyway . . . what's your .02?

We won't be there as long as they will be, and we won't be sharing a bedroom with them. The house is pretty large, too, so I've heard.

Oh, and BTW, this is my older sister. (I am the "baby" of the family.) So, there's that, too.

What can I do next?

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answers from Minneapolis on

We have had pets and will no longer have them. No matter what- the best place for a pet when visiting people or on vacation is a boarding facility. My parents would say bring the pet but would complain to everyone else. Even now, I don't like visiting people with pets or when people bring their pet to my house. My whole view on animals in the house has changed since owning pets.

This goes for when she visits you too....

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

you have every right to feel like you do, if it were me, i'd call her bluff and tell her start looking for a kennel near her home, and that i'd take her up on the offer to pay. I'd play along and act like i was broke, too. Since she makes it a point to say how well off she is-i'd make her foot the entire bill for a week at the best kennel around, and i'd dirty all of her towels while i visited, too. But if she would happily oblige, then maybe make plans on the side if you really don't want to leave the dog home- i wouldn't blame you

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Get a pet friendly hotel room. Yes, it's unfair, and yes the dog will add his dander to the household for the allergy sufferer.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Phoenix on

My 2 cents is that I'm allergic to "some" dogs. I don't really know unless I touch them, so obviously, I stay away from all dogs. So I could understand having a house of people and some who "may" be allergic to dogs. Its simplier to just not have any around if possible.

That being said, I would reply back and say that you will go and since you will not be able to bring your dogs, you would like the same courtesy extended to you and would her to keep her dogs home for their next visit.

I know that seems easy enough but I don't think I'd miss out on the family gathering. I would just make it clear that ALL pets should stay home.

Good luck!!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Let me just say that I love dogs and have three of my own (1 inside and 2 outside). I think it is highly innapropriate to bring your pets to each other's houses. Next time she comes to visit, you need to make it clear that she is not allowed to bring her pets to your house.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Sioux City on

Her house her rules. Your house your rules. Next time she comes to visit tell her to leave her pooping yappers home.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I agree with Faith, but might say instead, to soften it a bit, that "since we're being honest now about the dog situation, I need to share that it hasn't worked so well having your dogs at our house during visits, either. So, no worries about assuming the kennel expense because I'm sure it will balance out for both of us over time."

Instead of a kennel, how about a dog sitter?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

A little, yes. It's your sister's call as to whether or not she wants your dog in her house. (I wouldn't your dog in my house. It's nothing personal, or about the dog.). She offered you assistance in accomodations for the dog, which is more than she needed to do.

Just because you haven't told her that you don't want/like HER dogs in YOUR house, doesn't mean that she owes it to you to accomodate your dog.
That said, take this as your opportunity to let her know that you'd like to install the same idea next time that they visit. No one is obligated to do anything. And if you don't say anything, then, really, it's your fault.

As for your stay, you have to decide how you handle it. You can be bitter and let it ruin a relationship (when it's something that you feel when it's the other way around), you can board the dog and not stay as long, or you can skip it. Your sister will have to deal with consequences of her request.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

As a person who used to be allergic to dogs, I can totally understand where your sister is coming from. I do think you should board your dog if you plan on going, BUT I also think that you need to make it clear to her that her dogs are no longer allowed at your house either. Unless all parties are okay with it, it is not okay to just bring along the dog. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I had a similar situation a few years back with my sister-in-law. They had two dogs at the time and would bring them to our house without asking, assuming it was ok. This was a problem because we had 4 cats and their dogs would upset my animals so that they wouldn't come out to eat, use the box, etc., and usually their visits were over an entire weekend. So my husband (it is his sister) had to have a heated discussion with her when they brought them even though we had politely asked them not to prior to their arrival and they brought them anyway.

I think the reason you are irritated is that you haven't voiced your dislike for having her dogs at your house. Does she know that they pee/poop in your house when they are there? I think she is just trying to be cordial about paying for the boarding...and whether or not their allergies are real, hopefully you can respect her request to not bring your dog. Then, the next time they come to your house, just say, "you know we had been thinking about our upcoming get-together and due to the messes made and the disruption it causes, we would prefer if you left your dogs home too." For your sake though, you should confront the situation before it causes a real rift in your relationship. It is just not worth it. Just be honest and humble and let it work itself out. :) Hopefully this will help.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

well first off there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. People have started calling some that shed less and have little dander or different type of hair as hypoallergenic but they are not. Different dogs may bother people differently. My parents have a large dog that spends a lot of time enjoying the outdoors and she bothers me if I get to close and pet her a lot while there even if I visit for only half an hour or so but I can snuggle and sleep with my smaller, mostly indoor, barely shedding dogs. How bad are your sister and sister in laws allergies? Some people with animal allergies can easily be controlled w/ medication.

If it were me though I'd just arrange care for them and go away for a few days.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

The only thing wrong is that you have not told her you would prefer she not bring her dogs.

Next time make her the same offer to help pay off some of her boarding cost.
I think it is fair. I would not have been offended by the offer of money, but I would have been offended that she will not allow you to take your dog after all of your patience with her pain in the butt dogs..

I am assuming her dogs will also be in a kennel during this visit, to protect sister and SIL?

FYI there is no such thing as Hypo allergenic dogs.. Ask the Obama's.. Even their dog is less than most, but not totally..

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Dear J.,

It isn't wrong and it would be almost impossible NOT to be irritated or hurt about this. However, if someone is allergic, it won't matter how big or small the house is, because just a little exposure can bring on a allergy attack.

I just got back from a cross country family reunion and continplated taking my dog (he would have been a much better companion then my older sister who made me miserable coming and going). However, I decided agaist it for a number of reasons and I'm glad.

When we arrived at my brothers it turned out that several family members did bring their dogs (4 dogs - 2 small and 2 large), so I felt better that I wasn't the only dog lover. The big ones stayed out in the dog kennel and the small ones had the run of the house. I'm glad I didn't bring Frankie because the weather ranged from 66 - 114 degrees (mostly over 100 + each day and he would have been miserable.

I'm not sure if anyone asked permission and I heard a few comments from relatives who did not bring animals. Bottom line as far as I'm concerned, I would never bring any animal to visit unless I had specific permission first.

Next time your sis visits, if you don't want the dogs in your home, learn to say NO!


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Would I be irritated, I'm sure I would be.

I can understand the allergies, some breeds are less likely to set off allergies.
Adding another dog to the mix could be enough to set off someones allergies and I can understand her concern.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I think each house rules are different. My In-laws allow all of the "kids" to bring their dogs to their home, but when everyone comes to visit us we have a no dog policy. So, though you may have been nice to allow (or not say anything) them to be in your home doesn't mean that your sister has to allow your dog in her home.

Initialy my inlaws were abit annoyed that we said no to the dogs, but its our home and it was their decision to respect that.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Buffalo on

My son is VERY allergic to eggs, and I have family that REFUSES to do anything to help and he is also VERY allergic to dog saliva, so I am a little predgidice, so with that being said:

No I do not blame you for being irratated, how rude of her to just bring dogs to your house that are not propperly trained. I do not blame her for asking for no dogs with the other family members who are allergic. The was I would handle that is get a friend to take him for those few days and then the next time you find out she is coming in tell her "Mutt and Jeff" are not wlecome but you will help with kenneling costs. hopefully she will get what it feels like, and you will not have to worry about your house being a toilet.

However, you could be the better person and except the regulations and have a conversation with her reguarding her dogs, and inform her that this has nothing to do with the current situation; but since she was able to ask you not to bring your puppy you are requesting she does the same.

I hope all works out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Saginaw on

Let me start by saying I am not a pet owner nor ever want to be and this is what I have to say:

I think when you take on a pet, you take on a responsibility close to or just as much as taking on a child. So being that you chose to have a dog it is your responsibility to care for it. Being that you don't feel comfortable putting him in a kennel is like saying you don't feel comfortable with the choices of childcare around to put your child in the hands of a babysitter. I totally understand that, and in this instance if that's the reason you don't want to go to your sisters I respect that.

However, if your reasoning for not wanting to go now is because they brought their dog therefor we should be able to bring ours then I don't think your right. You may certainly express or feel those feelings but thats no reason to not go to your sisters.

Furthermore, I think its time you spoke up on how you feel about your sisters dogs instead of just letting it go. That is not ok that her dogs are wreaking havoc in your house.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My sister has done this to me! She brings her yapping/carpet pooping and peeing poodle to my house even when I specifically ask her not to but when I ask to bring my house-trained dog to her home, she says no because it will be too stressful for her dogs. Ugh! It's a little rude that your sister brings her yapping/peeing dogs to your house and yet she won't allow your trained dog to come to her house. I really think that based on the fact that your dog doesn't do well in a boarding situation, she could be a little more flexible with you. I understand that she is concerned for the allergies of the other visitors and that should be as consideration but in a large home like you've described, I'm sure you could find a place for your dog to rest away from the allergic family members. Usually allergies are flared up with close contact or being in a small room with the animal. Obviously I don't know your sister but from reading this, I don't think that she was trying to insult you by offering to pay for boarding expenses. It sounds like she was trying to help you out with the cost because she is the one who asked you not to bring the dog with you and maybe she feels a little bad about it. Of course if it were my sister, she'd have asked just to shove it in my face that she makes more money than I do and can afford it so I don't know, it could be a vindictive offer. Lol.

I would probably just call and talk it over with her. Tell her that you feel she is being unfair by imposing her pets on you but isn't making an exception for your dog. Maybe you could agree to keep your dog in the yard or in one area of the house when other people are there. (You could ask for sedative tablets from your veterinarian to alleviate the stress on your pet if he doesn't like being kept in a room alone.) I would be annoyed too but it's probably not worth getting into a big argument over. After all, it is your sister's home and she makes the rules but if she is unwilling to budge, then in the future, maybe you should be unwilling to budge on her bringing her yappers to your house. Best of luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would be irritated as all get out. We don't have animals at all because my older two are allergic to cats and dogs - my parents have both and they have a bad time if they are around them for too long. I would flat out not let other people bring their animals into my house, it's too much work. And I would not try to bring mine to someone else's. But she set the tone for it to be yes, I'd be irritated. And I would still go, but let her know that her animals are no longer welcome at your home either.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

How come she "can" bring her dogs with her to your house when she visits...???
Do you actually say "yes you can bring your dogs..." or does she ask permission first, or does she just 'assume' she 'can' bring her dogs to your house and you 'let' her????

To me, that is the problem.
The problem of what is not said... to her, and whether she 'can' or cannot bring her dogs.
It is your house, your rules.
And it is her responsibility, to find other plans for her dogs if she cannot bring them to your house. Too.
AND it is your responsibility, to tell her she CANNOT bring her dogs to your house.

And yes, if a person is allergic to an animal, it doesn't matter how big the house is or not... as soon as they come in contact with the animal or are in the vicinity of the animal or are sitting on/in the area an animal was... they will react with their allergy.... it is the dander and fur, that causes allergic reactions in people. And what is in the air. They don't have to actually pet the animal to get an allergenic reaction....

Next, at least you asked permission first, if you can bring your dog to her home. And she responded with, no. But she offered you alternatives. Which is reasonable and thought out.... so she tried to work it out.

But for your house, then just tell her, she cannot bring her dogs to your house in the future... because it is just ruining your home.

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

My 2 cents is that both the pet owners and the people with allergies have responsibilities -- the allergic people need to find out about the pets, and ask for concessions if its an issue, and for the pet owners, it's there job to make the visitors as comfortable as possible by cleaning and make sure the pets are contained if needed. For example, we have 2 large dogs who are indoor/outdoor dogs (they go out in the fenced yard to play but are in whenever they want and sleep indoors.

It sounds to me like your sister just doesn't want a large dog in her house, at least to me. I think you should try to find out why she thinks its okay to bring her 2 dogs to your house, when the allergy sufferers are coming over but it's not okay for you to bring your dog to hers, when the same people are visiting.... It's 3 dogs, either way, and the same allergy sufferers....

Also, imho, if her dogs are having accidents in the house, then I think you should tell her that she can't bring the dogs. Or, if you want to be nice, say she can bring them but they have to be kept in a kennel/cage. And that they have to have their feet wiped when they come in from outdoors.

Good luck; people (myself included) are not always rational when pets are involved....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

First of all, I would let her know that from now on, everyone can board their dogs or hire a dogsitter when visiting anyone. I don't understand why people think they need to travel everywhere with their dogs! We always hire a dogsitter. Kind of like having kids and babysitters -it's a cost you need to factor in when you decide to own a pet! So, that will have to include you too. Board your dog or get a dog sitter. Dog sitters are AWESOME -usually much cheaper than boarding and they'll get your mail, turn lights on and off, adjust heat or air, etc.

As far as allergies -if your other sisters are truly allergic to dogs, then being around them for any amount of time can aggravate their symptoms in any size house. It's the dander and not the hair that's usually the problem -and just like our skin cells -it goes everywhere!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I agree with most of the other posts. I believe the dogs, of everyone, should be left at their home.

I have always loved dogs but am allergic to them (didn't get diagnosed until I was an adult but now know that may have been why I was always sick since I grew up with dogs in the house). I do have a dog but it is an outside dog. When we go away, we have someone take care of him for us. I have relatives that carry one of their MANY ankle biters around and that includes into my home. I really don't mind when we are outside but they carry it inside and seem oblivious to the fact that I have repeatedly told them I am allergic and don't have my own dog in the house.

If you don't have someone to dog sit and really can't board him, then I would look into accomodations that allow dogs. Tell your sister that you will not bring your dog into her home but will be bringing your dog with you and would be more than happy to keep him outside during your visit when at her home.

Advise her that regardless of her dogs hypo-allergenic classification they are not welcome in your home as they are not completely house broken, they do bark, and it is your dog's territory and most of all it is YOUR home.


answers from New York on

I don't know if I can help to much about this but I can tell you what work for us.
I don't have dogs but my SIL has.
My daughter is allergic to dogs but I don't expect she get her dogs out of her house when we come over on Holidays (she does take them out when we are eating unless is cold outside) so I give my kid some allergy medicine before we go to her house.
Now, if she is coming to my house, I appreciate if she doesn't bring her dogs, and even if she adores her pets, she understand and leave them at home.



answers from Tulsa on

I would never take an animal to someone else's home unless it was an emergency visit and I had no one to dog sit at home or a vet I trusted to board the animals.

Tell them the next time they come to leave their dogs at home and you hope that won't keep them from coming to visit.



answers from Boston on

First off I think its rude as hell to bring a dog to someones home. I think she is rude for event thinking just because they are hypoallergenic that you want them in your house! I mean that is your dogs territory! I would tell her next time she visits that your allergic to dog pee and poop in your house so keep them home.

And yes your dog can infiltrate very fast if someone is allergic. It happens all the time to friends of ours.

And yes I would be irritated that she can bring her dogs and you cannot bring yours to her house.

I think I would make it a family rule that all animals stay where they live when visiting.

My brother used to bring his HUGE dog to my house and I would be sooo pissed off. I was afraid of the thing and that I had a small child this dog could easily eat. So I made him keep it in his car or take it home. I love dogs but only my own. LOL!! Good luck with this one!


answers from Dallas on

I vote let her pay for you to board your dog. Stay for a day then leave. And if she EVER showed up at your house with her yappin dogs, remind her of the damage her *cough* pets did to your home and she'll have to board them as her own expense.

In a nut shell. No matter the birth order.

That was about .03 but I tried to kept it

Sending good thoughts your way.

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