updated 10/27/2009 AT 5:39 PM ET
•originally published 10/20/2009 AT 4:00 PM ET
As pet people, it’s hard to imagine that there are others out there who don’t love animals the way we do. But yes, they do exist. So when it comes to dating these types, what’s the best way to go about putting your pet love on the table?
We asked dog etiquette expert Charlotte Reed, the author of The Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette, for her best advice on addressing this dilemma. “Don’t necessarily whip out pictures of your pet on the first date, even if it is the love of your life,” she advises. “As you go through the dating process, you’ll learn each other’s likes and dislikes.”
Reed says that eventually, your mate will see that you have a dog or cat, and realize what it means to you. “Once you’re in a relationship, there are things you can work on together,” she shares. “There’s room for compromises.”
Once you get serious, though, there are habits that may bug your partner. “People don’t necessarily like dogs sleeping in bed with them.” She suggests meeting halfway – possibly buying a bed for your dog, or moving it to the foot of the bed when it’s time to sleep. “You have to be respectful of your mate’s feelings,” Reed says. “And your dog will get the hang of it.”
How about kissing…your pet? “I understand why people kiss their pets and vice versa; it’s a sign of respect,” says Reed. “But remember, pets do have bacteria in their mouths. In that case, it’s fair for your partner to ask you to stop – he or she has to kiss you, too!”
Some pet problems, like pet allergies, aren’t entirely avoidable, though. But tolerating pets through the sniffles could be a positive sign. “Maybe your partner will consider allergy shots for you as you get more serious,” says Reed. Now that’s true puppy love!
How would you deal with this situation? Leave your suggestion in the comments below!
Share your Petiquette dilemma with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
More Petiquette on PEOPLEPets.com:
Petiquette: How to Deal with an Uninvited Pooch at Your Table?
Petiquette: Dealing with the Dog Who Wanders Onto Your Property