It used to be that when dog owners went on vacation, they had to either board their pet, or arrange for someone to housesit for them while they were away. Today though, that’s no longer the case. Hotels are starting to recognize more and more that pets are truly a part of the family, and that providing services for individuals – as well as they’re furry friends – just makes good business sense. And it’s for this reason that they’re starting to advertise themselves as dog-friendly hotels.
While it’s possible to travel with your dog, just about anywhere these days, there are some things you need to know before packing up your dog and heading out. And along with the different rules and requirements different hotels will have, you also need to know that while traveling with your dog is possible, it is going to cost you.
How to Find Dog-Friendly Hotels
When trying to find a hotel that will accept both you and your pet, your first stop should be online.
Many major chains including Econo Lodge, Ritz-Carlton, Best Western, Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, and MainStay Suites all cater to dogs and their owners so it’s relatively easy to find accommodations through a quick search. Type “pet-friendly hotels” into a search engine such as Google or Yahoo and then spend a few minutes going through the search results. In no time at all you’ll have a list of several possible places for you and your pooch to stay. Make a list of all the ones that look applicable to you; don’t book a stay just yet with any one in particular. You’ll need to research at least a few a little further before you make your final decision.
Of course, if you know people who have taken their pet with them on vacation, you can ask them about the hotel they stayed in, and how they liked it. If they give a good recommendation, you can always see if there’s a hotel in the same chain located at the destination you’ll be heading to.
Even if a hotel advertises that they are “completely pet-friendly,” you’ll need to look into any hotel’s specific rules and regulations for pets, because each one will be different.
Some of those may include:
- The number of pets. Typically you’re only allowed one or two pets per room so if you have more, you’ll definitely have to check with the hotel to make sure they can accommodate them all.
- The size and breed of your pet. Most pet-friendly hotels will welcome any and all breeds within reason. However, state regulations may restrict certain types of dogs, meaning that hotels cannot accept them. It’s a much more common occurrence that hotels only allow dogs of a certain size and weight. This is important to know if your dog comes from a very large breed.
- The type of pet you have. While some hotels are “pet-friendly,” meaning that they accommodate all different types of pets, others are only “dog-friendly” or “cat-friendly.” Don’t assume that just because a hotel accepts dogs that they’ll also accept cats, or vice versa. You need to contact the hotel and talk to them about each and every pet that you’ll be traveling with. If you do end up at a hotel that doesn’t accept your type of pet or pets, they may still allow you to stay but there will probably be hefty fines involved.
- Care for the dog while you’re away. Some hotels don’t allow pet owners to leave their dog alone in the room at any time, while others require pets to be crated when their owners are not in the room.
- Leash policies. Does the dog need to be on a leash when walking in the hallways or on the grounds? Is there an area where dogs are allowed off their leash?
- Condition of the room. Of course, all hotels have rules about the condition the room must be left in, and will charge fines in case the room has been damaged in any way. This however, becomes even more important when dealing with pets because they can often cause more damage. Most pet-friendly hotels will require a refundable deposit, often at least $100, and some will even charge a nonrefundable payment to cover any and all damage or dirt left in the room.
- Hotels will also often place rules and conditions on the furnishings within the room. Sometimes pets won’t be allowed on the beds or on other furniture, while others will have specific rules such as you cannot use the bathtub to bathe your pet.
- Outdoor areas. All pet-friendly hotels will have an area where dogs can go to relieve themselves, so you’ll need to know where that is as well as whether or not your dog will need to be on a leash while in the area.
- Amenities for dogs. Most pet-friendly hotels will also often have certain amenities catering to dogs. These include dog foods, special bowls, custom beds, treats, toys, and more.
- Clean and free of ticks, fleas, and other pests. This one is pretty self-explanatory and also very logical. Of course hotels can’t accept pets that will start an infestation, are unclean, or will pose a threat to other dogs and guests of the hotel.
- To also avoid posing a threat to others, most hotels will also require proof of the dog’s vaccinations, and that they are all up to date.
Traveling with your pet can seem like a very exciting and daunting thing all at the same time. Rest assured though that finding dog-friendly hotels is fairly easy, even if you’ll have to do a little bit of research to find the right one for you. Also make sure that before you stay in any hotel, you get a written copy of their policies, rules and regulations. You don’t want to be charged a fine, or fines, because you’ve broken a rule without even knowing it.
Other Useful Resources:
- bringfido.com – Pet Friendly Hotel & Dog Travel Directory
- pet-friendly-hotels.net – Find a Pet Friendly Hotel and Lodging for the Pet Friendly Family
- Marriott – A list of pet friendly Marriott hotels
- choicehotels.com – Choice Hotels that allow pets
- hotelguides.com – Pet friendly hotels and motels
- DogFriendly.com – Pet Travel Guides and City Guides for Dog/Pet Owners
- petswelcome.com – Dog, Cat & Other Pet Friendly Hotels
- gopetfriendly.com – Pet friendly hotels and travel
- petfriendlyhotelchain.com – Pet Friendly Hotel Chain Listing Dog & Cat Friendly Hotel Chains Around The World
- bestwestern.com – Find Best Western hotels that allow pets
Kate Elliott has been a freelance content writer for the past 8 years, and has written creatively her entire life. In addition to her online work, she has written a fiction novel, as well as had poetry published in the “Songs of the Heart” collection. A lover of animals since she was young, she’s also always had a dog by her side. Currently her best friend is a 13-year-old German Shepherd named Chewy.