Spring Break is just around the corner. Are you planning on traveling with a canine companion? Many dog lovers enjoy a trip with their best friend in tow, but remain uncertain about what to expect when hitting that dog-friendly hotel lobby. And what do you do when you can’t take your dog with you on every excursion? Here are some helpful tips for a successful hotel stay with your dog.
Your particular pooch is unique, but these factors should be considered when facing an incredible journey:
- Sick, injury-recovering, or pregnant dogs really ought to stay home.
- A vet checkup and current health certificate with vaccinations is helpful.
- Up-to-date ID tags, and preferably a microchip, are great protection.
- Training and obedience level has to be assessed: can they travel well?
- At a bare minimum, they need an A+ in potty training.
Hotels vary on expectations and rules of conduct for pets and their human companions, but there are common canine guidelines you can expect as you explore options. Sure, we can probably guess we’ll need to pick up the poo, but what else? They usually go something like this:
- No more than 1-2 pets per room.
- A Pet Policy Agreement will need to be reviewed and signed.
- On-leash or in-carrier will be expected outside of the room.
- Don’t expect to be able to have them in breakfast areas or by the pool.
- You’ll need to schedule housekeeping times, as they won’t enter when your pet is present.
- The hotel management has discretion to deem a dog disruptive. If this happens while you’re away, they have the right to call animal control for removal.
- Doggy damages to the room will incur additional fees.
- Some hotels charge a non-refundable pet fee.
In other words, planning is imperative to ensure a great stay that satisfies you, your dog, and the hotel. Here are some tips to safeguard the situation:
- Confirm the hotel’s pet policies before you make a reservation.
- Bring chews (so they’re less likely to chew up the room).
- Get a ground floor room: it makes bathroom trips easier, elevators can stress dogs out, and if they’re antsy they won’t bother the neighbors below.
- Bring a familiar sheet or blanket for the bed or couch.
- If possible, bring other comforts: crate, toys, and usual treats.
- Don’t expect usual in-home behavior. Travel anxiety causes all sorts of reactions.
- Use that “do not disturb” sign so a well-meaning, door-knocking housekeeping staff won’t get your buddy barking.
- Don’t leave your dog unattended if they’re anxious and not acclimated to the room.
- Make the first unattended absence a short, in-hotel stroll without them to see how they react.
Overall, limit the time and circumstances you need to leave them alone. And you have other options…
Ever gone skiing with friends while one of your crew stayed behind at the lodge to play snow bunny? It’s common in a group of traveling friends for one to skip a leg of the journey, so what about your four-legged one? If the hotel and predominant plans are dog-friendly, but one desired jaunt doesn’t jive, you have options to ensure they get exercise and oversight.
Doggy day care is available in many travel locations, or dog walking if you need a few hours to sightsee or meet a friend for coffee. You don’t have to be at the mercy of search engines and local listings: if your dog isn’t welcome while you’re whale-watching or musing in a museum, Rover.com connects you with insured and well-reviewed dog sitters to find the perfect match for your pet.
Sometimes you walk into a lobby and your heart sinks: you’ve made a bad selection. Factor in a four-legged guest and the potential trouble doubles! You shouldn’t have to settle for second best. Review teams from vetstreet.com to USA Today agree on noteworthy, dog-friendly hotel chains. These are our favorite three.
- Kimpton rules the roost with Pet-Friendly Boutique Hotels for dogs (their humans are welcome too).
- Red Roof Inns may not have special dog amenities, but they’re affordable and include no pet fees.
- La Quinta offers the most locations and have long been dog-friendly.
Other local options also exist, and it’s worth calling around to local hotels and restaurants to find out if your dog is welcome. If you’re traveling in Canada, PetFriendly provides extensive lists not only of hotels, but other attractions for exercise and excursions together.
In general, we’re in a particularly golden age for traveling with dogs. Use these resources to plan your unforgettable getaway, and you’ll create lasting memories for you and your canine companion.