Parents Wanting to Visit with Their dog...what Would You Do?

Updated on December 25, 2012
M.E. asks from Brunswick, GA
40 answers

My parents are wanting to come down for a short visit. The only issue: they want to bring their dog. I live in a very small 2 bedroom, 1 bath house with my husband and our two children. Even though it will be a tight fit, I do not mind letting them stay with us, but I absolutely will not allow a dog to stay in my house. I do not have room in my house, nor do I have a fenced yard for it. The house will be crowded enough without introducing an unfamiliar dog who may or may not be good with children. (They just got her this year and she has never been around children.) I have told them this nicely and have not heard back. Compromising on the dog is not an option for me. Just wondering...what would you do? Is it unreasonable for us to expect them to make other arrangements for their dog? Either boarding it or booking a pet friendly hotel room?


The "issue"? I have friends with garages larger than my house. lol! 4 adults, 2 toddlers AND a dog? No thank you. I have allergies which are worsened when we have pets in the house. Seriously - within 5 minutes I am sneezing, eyes watering, throatscratchy. Very annoying. This is not an old family pet. They just got the dog this year. And while I understand many people consider their pets like children, I think it is(IMO) absurd to expect everyone else to feel the same way. While I respect people's right to feel that way. I do not think it should be forced on every one else. Just my opinion on the matter. Don't take this wrong. I LOVE animals! But I do not love them the same way I love my babies. And my parents have NEVER been "dog people" or any other sort of animal people. They barely tolerated our pets growing up! ;) Them getting a dog was a huge shock to the rest of the family. I think it has more to do with finances (ie having to pay a kennel or pet sitter) than them not wanting to leave the dog at home.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the feed back! Glad to know I'm not to the only one who feels this way. :)

Grandma T - It is a dog, not a child. My mother did not conceive this animal, carry it in her womb, then give birth to it. I know some people consider their pets their children, but I do not. My children are my children and my pets are my pets. I do not assign the same value to an animal as I do to a human child. Sorry. Hate on me if you like, but neither does the law. ;) I would LOVE to see my parents. The part I am not excited about is having an uninvited guest (dog) forced upon me. Not cool. My house is not big enough and we are not set up to accomadate it.

And Jacy B, seriously?! They are called BOUNDARIES. You do not have to agree with them or even like them, but you ought to respect them when they are communicated clearly. For me, what it comes down to is this is MY house. To tell me to just suffer through their visit is ABSURD. I am not going to be miserable for a weekend or a week, just because my parents do not want to be responsible for their pet. Allergy medicine does not prevent my reaction. It barely helps. Not having pets inside is the only thing that prevents it. And its not just the allergies...I do not want an animal dirtying up my house, and yes, regardless of their size or training, they do make a house dirtier. I used to have inside dogs years ago. I have 2 toddlers. They are messy enough for me. ;)

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answers from Boston on

I wouldn't allow a dog in my house and I do have enough room. Please tell them to make other arrangements!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

If you "ABSOLUTELY" will not let the dog in the house, then the best thing IMO is for them to have a neighbor come take care of their dog while they're away - at THEIR house. I guess it depends on whether or not it's an indoor or outdoor dog. Outdoor dogs a neighbor could easily take care of. Indoor dog may need to go to someone elses for a visit (a neighbor or friend) or yes, put the dog in a hotel for dogs type of boarding.

That being said - if it were me, and it was a small trained dog, then I'd likely welcome it into my home. I can deal with chaos for a couple days.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

For some people leaving their dog behind is like leaving their kid.
And you have to look at the expense of boarding a dog or getting a pet friendly hotel room, which the deposit is usually 100$ .
I'd let them bring the dog. If the dog is trained what's the issue?
How long is the stay?

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

I think it is rude when people assume that you will be comfortable with having their dog in your home. My sister does this with her horrible, nasty little rat dog. It is notup to you to control allergies etc to accommodate the needs of a dog. And yes, I have a dog, and no we don't assume people want it in their house.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

If you don't want a dog in your house, then that should be the end of it. You are not obligated to have the dog there. Making arrangements for their dog is their responsibility, not yours.
I have some friends and family who are fine with me bringing my dog when I come visit, others who aren't. I abide by their preferences. If they don't want the dog in their house, they don't owe me an explanation as to why. It's their house, their rules. When I visit there, I leave him with my daughter.

My dog IS like my child. My daughter even refers to him as her little brother. And if I were visiting someone who didn't want kids around, I would have left my daughter with a sitter as well .

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I didn't read the other posts, but good grief... people and their dogs!!! I like dogs, but I would never impose mine on someone else's house ESPECIALLY a home like you describe. Small area, no place for the dog to be if the visit was not harmonious. Kids are unpredictable and some dogs get nervous and snappy especially in a small space where they have no room to get away from excited toddlers. No one knows how this dog will react since it hasn't been around kids.
You have allergies too?? No question... no way.

I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. I think you know the boundaries of your situation. In my opinion your parents should have asked if the dog would be a problem and would be ok to bring and been prepared to make arrangements for it.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I would have said no.

Its a small house, you have a family of 4, plus your Mom and Dad.
And, you, have, allergies.
Case closed.

I am an animal person. Have had pets of many kinds all my life.
I still, do not understand why a person has to bring their dogs, everywhere they go and on trips to other people's homes, too.
To me, that is rude.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i don't understand why anyone would assume that their dog needs to be included when they go visit someone. that's just plain rude to me, and that's before adding the factor of the the already tiny and overcrowded apartment. i absolutely think you are right to tell them nicely that it won't work with the dog. hopefully they will respond back that they can find somewhere else for him/her/it to go. good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

it is incredibly inconsiderate of them to even suggest it to you. of course you are completely and totally right.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

It's possible you haven't heard back because they are investigating options. Wouldn't that be wonderful :) If they can't come up with anything, I suggest the dog stays in the car. They can walk it and take it to the park while they are there and I'm sure the kids will want to play with it at times so the dog should be fine. If they are worried that the dog will mess their car, then believe me he will mess in your house. You can also look in your area for a pet hotel and forward them the name. My mother in law would do this to us without asking so consider yourself fortunate that they at least told you they wanted to bring the dog. You may be able to cut this off at the pass!

God bless!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

well, i would suggest a pet-friendly hotel for them to stay in while they visit if I lived in a small 2bedroom 1 bath place - that's not fun to have 6 people vying for one bathroom.

This is what I would tell them - I'm SOOO excited that you want to visit!! Our place is small so I took the liberty of finding a pet-friendly hotel that is only 2 miles from the house!!

Sorry you won't compromise on a dog. I understand since it hasn't been around children. But now please understand this dog is like a child to your parents...I know my dog is.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

They need to make arrangements for the dog and not bring their dog into your home. People who don't get it must not have allergies and asthma.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I just read your "So What Happened" and I have to say, you've got it right on the boundaries topic---you don't need us :-) There are not enough healthy boundaries in the world so people fight against them. But those of us who know that good fences make for good neighbors need to keep up with the crusade. Your house, your rules. Period. I don't think that's unreasonable at all.
J. ;-)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

It wouldn't be a problem for me, but you're allergic!
No, it's not unreasonable.
You've told your parents the dog is not welcome. The ball is now in their court. They can stay home, get a dog-sitter, or board the dog at a kennel. That's all just part of being a dog owner, right?
I would not leave my dog unattended in a pet-friendly motel room either. Kennel or sitter is the least stressful on the dog.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I HATE it when people want to bring their dog to my house. I am not much of a dog person, I have three kids, it's a tight fit, they shed, they are not MY dog. I would say the exact same thing you did. I mean really, what if I had a pet pig that I ADORED....she's so great with kids, she doesn't bark, she's like one of the family! How many people would say, NO THANKS, no pigs in our house! I think you are being perfectly reasonable.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would say no. My son is allergic to cats and dogs, but even if he wasn't, we don't like animals in our home. It's our home and our choice as it is yours. Be nice, but firm on the issue.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

My dog was 100% a part of our family. Totally spoiled, worse than a child. I fretted and worried about him every time we went on a trip and left him at our home with a neighbor kid taking care of him. That said, I would NEVER have even dreamed of taking him with us to stay at someone else's house. My parents loved my dog and called him their granddog, and I still wouldn't have dreamed of asking them if we could bring him along for a visit!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I would NOT want a dog in my house. We were sort of put in this position ourselves a few years ago at thanksgiving. my husband adores his aunt and loves to have her stay with us, that year her 20 yo DD was coming and had just gotten a golden retriever pup. It was important enough to DH that I did relent and let them stay, the cousin slept downstairs in the living room with the dog and got up numerous times in the night to "walk" the dog. we didn't have any accidents to deal with, but it was alot of stress for me, and for the cousin that picked up that i wasn't happy. IT all worked out ok in the end but I wish we hadn't been put in that position.
SInce it;s your parents if you don't nip this in the bud now, you'll be dealing with it forever.

Sad some people would chose their pet over their grandchildren.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I have to agree. I have dogs, I love my dogs, but I would never dream of expecting a host to put them up as well when I come to visit. My mom has offered to let them come along when I visit, but she also has a dog, and she made the offer. Even with her already owning a dog, I would have never asked unless it was a real emergency. My dogs are like extra kids, and I love them, but I understand that not everyone feels that way about my dogs.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

If you don't want the dog in your house, then that is totally within your rights. Frankly, it sounds like your home is way too small for them to even stay with you...I would ask for them to get a hotel room if they wanted to bring the dog...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

the dog could be the "cherry on the top" for this visit!
Love me, love my how most dog owners feel.

We do not travel with our 2 80lb dogs. We share dogcare with our neighborhood & help each other out on wkends/vacations/etc. One more blessing in our life! & when I say "share dogcare", I mean we hand house keys over to each other & are in/out of each other's homes. Truly, truly a blessing to have this mutual trust!

Maybe that would be an option for your parents.

Oh, & my sis does not have this in her neighborhood....but her ILs all share dogcare. Or my sis has been known to drop her dog off at my house on her way to the lake! If it's a 4wheeler wkend, the dog is with me. If it's a boating wkend, the dog goes...he even has his own life jacket & loves riding on the jet ski!

Some families are just more dog-oriented! Sounds like your parents are too!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I am a dog lover! But even with that, my aunt has never been to visit because I won't let her bring her dogs and she refuses to travel without them. It's not a big deal or relationship-breaker, just the way it is. And she is fine with that. You don't need to compromise and let the dog come, even if you had a mansion. Your parents still love you and you still love them. They can visit if they want and either find a hotel or a neighbor/dog play place to watch the dog at home.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

You having allergies is the dealbreaker. Even if you could tolerate a dog in your small house for a short time, having to sneeze your way through the visit would be awful. I'm with you - dog's gotta stay away.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

NOPE, never......and i have a large house

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would let them know they are welcome to stay at a pet-friendly motel and bring the dog over for a visit to see how he is. I also live in a 2-bedroom place and we have no room for a dog visitor.

I like dogs but I don't like other people's dogs in my home. Does that make sense? My cousin used to bring her dog over to our house for family parties and we already had a dog. Our dog didn't like having his territory invaded and he barked and the dogs chased each other all over the house. Then our dog pooped in the living room (which he never did) and that was embarrassing to us and our guests. Our cousin then tied OUR dog up outside because he was barking so much. It was HIS house! She was not allowed to bring her dog anymore and while she didn't LIKE it, she accepted it.

I hope your parents will understand your situation. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

No, it is not unreasonable. They just got this dog, and certainly they didn't ask your permission before they did. They are adults and surely they considered what they would need to do when they traveled when they were discussing getting the dog.
Be glad that you told them right up front, "no, it's not okay". Now they know. It may very well be that they were expecting that response, and were hoping they wouldn't have to deal with any alternatives, but now that they do, they are shopping around for places to board her/him. Sometimes that can take time to find the "right" place. I live near where you do, and there aren't a lot of places that I will leave MY dog around here. I have visited several. My favorite place was in St. Mary's (Pampered Pets) but they have gone out of business. Now we hire a pet sitter to come stay or a teen neighbor to come over several times a day if we go out of town. Our dog is part of our family and just "anybody" won't do, lol.
But, that is MY issue, not my parents' who don't allow pets in the house. So we don't take her when we go to visit them.
Don't read too much into not hearing back from them right away. Unless they have said something outright, then they probably aren't offended, just exploring the options they have available to them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

For me, it would depend on the type of dog, its level of training, how it does with kids, etc. But I am a dog lover. I have one of my own and am taking care of the neighbor's dog this weekend. I might have expressed it to my parents as a concern for the welfare of the dog, which might have been better received by them. Telling them you were concerned about its safety, getting enough exercise, etc. since you have a small home and no fenced in yard. I never impose my dog on others and have a variety of excellent pet sitting options. However, some people don't like putting their dogs in a kennel and for others it's a financial burden. I have the neighbor's dog this weekend because he's never been in a kennel and they were uncomfortable with that option. They didn't want to leave him alone and have someone come in because they thought he would get lonely. Everyone is different in the options they prefer for their pets.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If the MUST bring their pet, I'd send them directions to a near by pet friendly hotel.
Tell them there's no room for the dog and he'd be much more comfortable (and happier) if he was put in a kennel for the duration of their vacation.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

They are your parents. And as someone else pointed out, they probably made a lot of sacrifices for you over the years :)
Why don't you offer to put their dog up in a doggie hotel near you. Then they can travel with their dog, check it in, and even visit it if they want. They can't say no because you are kindly going to foot the bill.
Now you're not making your parents choose between seeing you guys and leaving the new dog behind. You are hosting them, and their dog... just that you are hosting their dog to be elsewhere.
If you are so tight on cash you can't make the monetary sacrifice for them, I would ask around your friends with pets (and garages the size of your house) to take on your parents dog for the weekend. Many animal loving folks would probably love to do this for you.

Bottom line, by making these offers, you are no longer coming across to your own parents as "MY way or the Highway" ungrateful daughter. you now come across as a problem solver who wants their pet to be taken care of and are willing to arrange for that, since realiztically due to space and allergies he cannot be in your house.

And yes, I do think it's realistic to say the dog in your house just won't work. I'd feel the same way, especially if you don't have a yard. I'd also probably just give in if I had to and deal with a dog in my house for a week, if it came down to seeing my parents or not.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

I am a dog owner and when I go somewhere the dog cannot sleep I let him stay in the car and walk him. If there are children they can see him in the park and throw the ball or frisbee for him.
Dogs are brilliant about knowing family for strangers and so he makes friends with children. I have teased the kids at Quaker Meeting who ask me if he likes children. I say he really does. He eats about two per week. They laugh and he's happy to play with them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

From your update/edit....seems to me that you should have only asked those thta agree with you to asked "what would you do" and then proceeded to blast someone who offered a different opinion than yours.

You won't like this but my opinion...Your parents have likely made a ton of sacrafices for your benefit....I'd let them bring the dog....just out of respect and courtsey and acknolgement of all of the sacrafices that your parents likely made for you over the years. Small house or not. My opinion. Blast away missy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I love it when people say their dogs are like their kids. seriously, those people need a major check :)
i say you are right. assuming, everyone is ok with dogs around the house (be it small or big house) is beyond comprehension.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You have your right to say no to a dog in your house, but respect your parents and their love to their pet. I love animals very much and my dog was my baby until I got a real baby....I will not want someone bringing a dog in my apartment if it was that small, but if it was my parents dog I will let them bring it. However if you have allergies let them get a dog sitter or they can leave a dog home for a day - he will survive just fine. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I think it's rude when someone brings a pet to someone else's house. Pets come with a lot of dirt from outside. Kids can get sick when they are not use to the germs, not to mention allergens stick to the carpets for six months. It must be tough enough to accommodate your parents in your cozy home, not to mention extra uninvited guest. Your parents have no choice but to make arrangements for their dog prior their trip.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

No dogs are not humans, but to some people their pet dogs are just as important as family. You should not do something you do not feel comfortable doing, but you should not expect others to deal with their pets however you would have them. If I were your parents I simply would not visit you. Dog kennels are not cozy places for dogs and hiring pet sitting can be very expensive. If letting your parents bring their dog is such a major inconvenience to you, then maybe they should not be visiting you.


answers from Biloxi on

A pet friendly hotel may be the way to go - why don't you locate a few in your area and check on pricing for your parents.
They could bring doggie on vacay with them, your children could be introduced to the dog, you could figure out how the dog reacts to children and vice versa, etc. etc.
It may well be that you all fall in love with dog - it may be the most well behaved doggie in the world and next visit you may ask them to bring it with them. But, for now, a compromise is in order. JMHO

On another though completely - maybe they got a dog because they were lonely and wanted something to take care of. Just thank your lucky starts its not a parrot or something that they want to bring with them.



answers from Redding on

Sounds to me like your relationship with your parents is already strained otherwise you'd be more than happy for them to visit you with their new "kid".



answers from Dallas on

You are right, they are wrong. You have allergies and no room. They asked and you gave your answer. I think it might be nice if you can see if one of your dog owning friends can refer you to a vet or pet sitter they can use, or a pet hotel or something. And if you can afford to help them with it, that's nice but it's not an obligation. If they have dog loving friends, they can leave the dog at home and the friend can stop by and feed, pet, walk the dog, whatever.



answers from Birmingham on

I LOVE my dog, and he is a part of our family. We call him our little daughter's brother and our 4-legged kid. I have always been a "dog person" (I even started pre-vet once upon a time and dreamed of opening a rescue facility). When we travel hundreds of miles (to see family, we drive so that he can come with us. And when we get there, he goes to a great boarding place and doggie daycare, where we can call and check on him, go visit and borrow him for walks or whatever. I would never dream of imposing him on my family. Even when my grandparents say to bring him over, I know he'd be a bull in a china shop. So if your parents don't understand the imposition of even asking to bring their dog along (if they know about your allergies, space constraints, and that you already have your hands full with 2 toddlers--their GRANDCHILDREN!!!) is somewhat strange/entitled.

I saw a couple people say your parents have made sacrifices for you (of course!), but what is the point of them visiting and making you miserable if you're not going to enjoy their visit and be somewhat resentful the whole time? I agree with you that you shoult not budge on this.

I also agree full-heartedly with Shannon R. who said you should offer to pay for them to put their dog in a boarding facilty near you--that's exactly what i would do (and was why I started to respond, but she had beat me to it, haha). I'd make sure, however, that the place has doggie daycare or plenty of social time in the day (some boarders are just horrible and sad. Others go so far as to have webcams so you can check in on your beloved critter whenever you feel like it!!).

They're your parents--I'm sure y'all will work something out so you can all enjoy their visit to its fullest!! Good luck!



answers from Sarasota on

My husband and I are both allergic to dogs and cats. I wouldn't compromise either. Sorry, no animals in our house. Period end of story.
People who aren't allergic to animals usually don't understand just how unhealthy it is for someone who's allergic to be exposed. They don't understand the level of suffering that comes with allergies.
There are many, many options for care of the dogs....kennels, doggy day care, paying a trusted neighborhood teen to dogsit, etc. Many options. So it's not like you are putting them in a super difficult position by saying the dogs can't come to your house.
Just so you know, my mom refuses to allow HER mom's dog to come with her for visits, for the same reasons...small home, allergies, etc. She has offered to pay to put up the dog so that her mom could come stay with her for holidays and summers. My grandma won't be parted from her dog, so she doesn't visit. It stinks and my mom feels bad but she knows her limits. It is what it is.
I had an aunt bring her dog to a party at my house once without asking. She knows I have allergies. Just barged right in with the dog, no warning, not even an explanation. And she let the dog jump all over our sofas, my bed, etc. I was furious. I let it go because i didn't want to make a scene at my party but the next time she made plans to come over I made it clear her dog is not welcome. It's a serious health issue for me. Not to mention one of basic respect and consideration.
People with dogs need to realize not everyone likes or will tolerate animals, they are NOT welcome everywhere and pet owners need to be prepared to make other arrangements when needed.

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