While dog hotels are becoming more popular for owners to leave their pets while traveling, some prefer to bring their dogs along on the trip. Should you choose to pick a pet-friendly hotel, there's a number of things you must research and consider beforehand. The last thing you want it is to make it all the way to the hotel and find out there are restrictions specified to your dog.
First, try to pick the most pet-friendly hotel chain where the staff goes above and beyond to accommodate pets. Then, read the hotel's description and other pet owners' reviews with regards to bringing pets along.
See what the restrictions are for that hotel before you get there so you don't have to turn around afterwards. The hotel staff appreciates honesty, and you’ll get a lot further through communicating rather than trying to sneak your dogs in stealthily and later having to pay larges fees.
Here are 10 questions to ask of the hotel before you bring your dog there:
1. How Many Dogs are Allowed?
Most of the time hotels have a limit to how many animals are allowed in one room, and what kind. Two pets per room is the standard maximum, but in some cases you might get away with a third pet if you pay an extra fee and discuss the situation with management beforehand. If you do bring multiple pets, make sure they’re well-trained and get along, and they must be house-trained. Carpet cleaning is expensive, and the hotel might charge extra if your dogs create stains.
2. Is There a Weight Limit?
Sometimes a hotel will be pet-friendly but they won’t allow dogs of certain size. Most of the time these hotels will only allow small breeds (up to 20-25 lbs or so) and a few will allow large dogs. However, this can also depend not only on hotel chain but also the location of the hotel.
For example, La Quinta Inn in Aurora, CO allows large dogs but the same chain in Pigeon Forge, TN only permits smaller canines. Candlewood Suites is a chain that accommodates larger breeds up to 80 pounds in most of their locations. You might be able to gain a little leeway as long as you let management know ahead of time.
3. What's the Exact Pet Fee?
Some pet-friendly hotels have no fees while others can charge you an arm and a leg. Pet fee depends on a few different factors and usually runs at a per pet, per night rate. For example, some hotels may charge an initial deposit of $50 per pet, and then another $15 a night. If everything is left the way it was when you came in, you’ll probably get your fee back within 5 to 7 business days.
4. Are There Breed Restrictions?
Breed restriction laws exist in several states; Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and other larger dogs may not be allowed at the hotel you're planning to stay at. So if you do have a dog that’s on a banned dogs list in that state, it may be better to just drive straight through that state.
5. Is There a Dog Park Nearby?
Even if you’re just staying a few cities away, your dog needs somewhere to stretch their legs after a long trip in the car. It’s not a requirement, but hotels that have a park or bike trail nearby are incredibly helpful when your dog needs to be let out for some exercise. So if you plan to stay longer than one night, prioritize pet-friendly hotels that either provide their own dog parks, or have a dog park nearby – you'll be glad you picked that one.
6. Do You Need to Provide Poop Bags?
Even though there might be a trail or a park nearby, and some hotels have dog poop bag stations for you to use for free, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all hotels will provide bags for picking up dog's waste. Ask if they provide any, and if they're free of charge or paid. If they're paid, it's better to bring your own dog poop bags you can buy online that will be much cheaper than buying at the hotel. Or, save up some plastic bags from your local grocery store trips near the hotel.
7. Can You Do a “Test Run”?
If your dog has never been on a trip or lived anywhere other than your home, you may want to take a day or two to see how well they handle it. This gives them a chance to acclimate to hotel's environment (and the trip itself) and understand that this new place isn’t bad, it’s just different.
You should be able to leave your hotel room for a couple of hours without your dog barking or chewing on the upholstery. It’s important to find these things out now so you can get them under control before the long trip and many days' stay at the hotel.
8. Can or Should You Bring a Dog Bed?
A little piece of home can quickly settle an uneasy pet. Your dog just wants to know that he isn’t going to be left behind, and that if you leave the hotel room you’ll still come back for him. Ask if you can bring your pup's own dog bed.
Grab his blanket, and maybe even give them a T-shirt that smells like you as well. Socks aren’t recommended as nervous dogs often swallow them, and you probably don’t want to use shoes either. Stick to basic dog toys, blankets, and something that will help take your pup's mind off of the sudden change in the environment.
9. What About Fleas?
If you haven’t purchased any flea or parasite prevention for your dog yet, do so before taking them to a hotel. While most places do a decent job of cleaning up after their guests, it doesn’t guarantee that nothing will be left behind. There have been numerous instances of dogs being attacked by fleas left in the room by previous guests.
Fleas, ticks, and tapeworm can easily drop off of one dog and move on to the next guest. Take the extra precaution and buy a flea collar, just in case your typical monthly heartworm prevention pill isn’t enough. Check your dog’s ears, paws, nose, and mouth for any unwanted pests when you come and before you leave.
10. Dealing With Your Dog's Anxiety
Even if your dog does fine staying at home while you’re away doesn’t mean they’ll behave the same way while you’re travelling. Some animals don’t do well on the road because it throws them out of their usual routine. They don’t know what to expect, especially when you leave them in a strange hotel room that smells odd and isn’t at all like home.
If you're exploring the city or just grabbing breakfast and can’t take your pooch with you, having to leave them in a hotel, make them as comfortable as possible, and inform the staff about this. It's common for dogs in hotels to experience anxiety and you don't want the staff to cause any further complications to all parties.
Pets who tend to destroy things and chew furniture when they’re anxious might need to be kenneled for short periods, so consider bringing a dog crate if you believe this might be an issue. It’s not the most ideal situation, but it keeps them safe while you’re out. At the same time, what will be your responsibility for your dog acting out due to anxiety?
Be Financially Prepared
Pet-friendly hotels are more accustomed to dealing with issues concerning pets, but they still have their limits too. Should your dog vomit on a carpet or have an accident, you're likely to be charged for the cleaning service. Be ready to handle the financial burden that could possibly come with traveling with your dog and staying in hotels together.
Most hotels just take it out of your deposit, but they still have your card information. Just keep that in mind when deciding whether or not it’s best to crate the dog while you’re out of the hotel room, or maybe even leave the dog with friends or at a dog hotel.