Lodging in pet-friendly hotels with your dog can either be stressful or relaxing. It all depends on how well you planned for your stay. Read on to learn how to prepare for a stress-free hotel stay with your canine companion.
What to Do Before Booking a Room in a Pet-Friendly Hotel
As more and more hotels open their doors to our four-legged friends, the services pet-friendly hotels offer often vary. We recommend booking a room through a phone call before you bring your dog to a pet-friendly hotel over making the booking online.
Calling the establishment ahead of time will allow you to inquire about their exact policy.
Some pet-friendly hotels limit the size of the dogs that can stay there, and this information is often not displayed on their websites. This is often the case, especially when you are travelling around Europe.
8 Questions to Ask Before Booking a Pet-Friendly Hotel
Here is a list of important questions to ask to find the most suitable pet-friendly hotels for your pooch:
1. How many dogs are allowed in one room in a pet-friendly hotel?
In most pet-friendly hotels, the maximum number of pets allowed per room is 2. However, it is possible to book 3 pets if the management is informed in advance. Extra fees might be added for the extra pet.
2. Does the pet-friendly hotel have breed restrictions imposed?
Keep in mind that just because a hotel is dog-friendly doesn’t mean it welcomes all dogs. Thus, always make sure to ask this question before booking, especially if you are a dog owner of a banned breed such as Pit Bulls.
3. Is there a weight or size limit in the pet-friendly hotel?
Some pet-friendly hotels can only accommodate dogs of certain sizes. It is not uncommon for these hotel chains to welcome small dogs but turn away larger pooches.
4. Do you need to provide health certificates or other health documentation?
Some pet-friendly hotels will require certain health records as entry requirements. This is needed for the safety of other dogs as well as guests.
It is the pet-friendly hotel’s way of ensuring that pooches booked in the establishment are free from any animal and human communicable diseases.
5. Does the pet-friendly hotel charge extra pet fees?
Many pet-friendly hotels only have one-time fees, but others impose extra charges. Depending on their policy, they can charge dog owners per pet, per night, or pet stay.
Moreover, some pet-friendly hotels provide services without additional fees for service animals. However, it does not apply to emotional support animals in most cases, which are often confused with service animals by pet owners.
Clarify extra pet fees in pet-friendly hotels before booking to avoid doling out large sums of money for a few nights’ stay.
6. Do pet travellers have the option to choose a specific room?
Way back in time, it was a common practice in some pet-friendly hotels to designate pet travellers in not-so-pet-friendly rooms.
There were cases where rooms labelled as pet-friendly were also where smoker guests stay. Fortunately, this practice is not as prevalent as it was before. However, it is still a good idea to ask for clarity.
7. What pet-friendly amenities do the hotel offer?
Several luxurious hotels go the extra mile, especially luxury country house hotels, to ensure that the VIPs (very important pets) receive just as excellent service as their owners.
Five-star hotels often have dog beds and treats on arrival. They also offer a wide variety of extra services for your 4-legged friends, such as pet sitting, dog walking, doggie spas, and even a special doggie menu.
These are useful if you plan to leave your dog for a while to explore the surrounding areas alone.
8. Are there areas restricted to dogs in a pet-friendly hotel?
In general, pets are not allowed in swimming pools, fitness centres, restaurants, and breakfast areas.
However, some pet-friendly hotels can be very stringent with restrictions to the point that pooches are off-limits in lobbies, and they have special entrances for guests with dogs.
Policies in pet-friendly hotels may change, so take note of the hotel staff’s name when inquiring by phone. You can use this as proof in situations when you need it.
What to Prepare for Your Stay in Pet-Friendly Hotels
Before you spend your dog-friendly holidays in pet-friendly hotels, here is a list of things you must do:
1. Get your dog’s health checked by the vet.
It is always a good call to ensure that your dog is in great shape before your hotel stay. Some pooches may howl or whine relentlessly because they are sick. You may want to avoid this predicament as it may irritate other hotel lodgers.
2. Make sure that your dog is fully house-trained.
In most dog-friendly hotels, it is a common policy to welcome only pooches that are properly house-trained. Thus, start potty training your canine companion in advance.
Mind that it takes at least 4–6 months for dogs to become completely housebroken, whilst others may take a year. For this reason, begin potty training as early as possible.
3. Prepare a backup plan if you can’t leave your dog alone in the room.
Many pet-friendly hotels do not allow dog owners to leave pooches on their own. If you are lucky, they have dog walkers and pet sitters to care for your pooch whilst you are away.
Another option is to let your dog stay in a boarding kennel if there is one in the area.
4. Pack your dog’s essentials.
To make your dog’s stay in a pet-friendly hotel more comfortable, make sure to pack all the items that he may need. Bring the following with you:
- Dog food
- Dog treats
- Dog bed
- Pee pads for puppies
- Poo bags
- Extra lead and collar
- Spare ID tags
- Food and water bowls
- Medications if there are any
- Health and vaccination records
- First aid kit
Some pet-friendly hotels already have dog beds, treats, and food and water bowls prepared in their dog-friendly rooms and suites. Please check this information ahead of time. If your chosen hotel offers these items, it will greatly lessen the things to pack with you.
You may also need to bring other doggy essentials to the pet-friendly hotel you are lodging in, depending on its location. For instance, if it is situated in a cold climate, consider adding a cosy dog sweater and booties to your luggage.
5. Bring cleaning supplies with you.
Pet-friendly hotels have a cleaning staff, but dog owners should always practise cleanliness. Bring pet wipes so that you can remove grime and mud on your dog’s fur before entering the room.
Fully house-trained dogs may still have potty accidents in pet-friendly hotels. This is often caused by stress, as they are unfamiliar with the new surroundings. For easy cleaning, have rags and disinfectant sprays with you.
Inform pet-friendly hotels if your pet has damaged or stained furniture or fabric in the room. Do not keep it a secret; otherwise, you might be banned by the management.
6 Tips for a Stress-Free Stay in Pet-Friendly Hotels
Upon arriving at the pet-friendly hotel, it is time for you and your dog to get a good rest after a long trip. Here are a few tips to follow for a peaceful and hassle-free stay in pet-friendly hotels:
1. Choose a room located on the ground floor of the dog-friendly hotel.
Staying in a ground-floor room of a dog-friendly hotel is a convenient way for you to quickly bring your dog outside when he needs to do his business. You don’t need to use the elevator and run the risk of your dog relieving himself before reaching the outside area.
Some rooms in pet-friendly hotels are located near noisy streets, which can heighten the stress of dogs. So, aside from ensuring that the room is located on the ground floor, it should also be situated in a quiet area of the establishment.
Make sure to scour the pet-friendly hotel for a green space or pet-relief area where your dog can eliminate once you arrive. After finding one, double-check with the staff if pets are allowed in the area just to be sure since, as mentioned before, some places are restricted for pets.
2. Maintain your dog’s daily routine even if you are staying in a dog-friendly hotel.
Although both you and your dog are far away from home, it is best to continue with his everyday routine. Dogs are habitual creatures, and sticking to their routine whilst travelling will give them a sense of comfort and stability.
Thus, follow your pooch’s usual feeding schedule, place his dog bed on the same spot that he frequents at home, and make sure to provide him with lots of exercises.
3. Place your dog in a pet carrier or crate if you leave him alone in the room.
This is for the safety of your dog and the housekeeping staff in a pet-friendly hotel. You can also hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door when you’re out.
This will prevent staff of the pet-friendly hotel from knocking on the door, which can trigger your dog’s barking and disrupt other guests. Before leaving the room, be certain that everything is securely locked to keep your dog from escaping.
You may also like: What Does Dog Barking Noises Tell Us?
Mind that many pet-friendly hotels don’t mind leaving your dog alone so long as he is crated. They can ask you to leave if your pooch proves to be disruptive. On the other hand, some pet-friendly hotels won’t allow your dog to be left alone in the room.
4. Limit your dog’s interaction with people and other pets.
Being away from home can be daunting for a dog. Letting your pooch meet many people within the hotel can add more to his stress, anxiety, or excitement. For this reason, only allow him to interact with pets and people no more than an hour a day.
Keep an eye for signs of stress such as a tucked tail, whining, panting, or yawning. If he exhibits these behaviours, immediately extract him from the situation. Bring him back to your room so that he can rest and have some time alone.
5. Distract your dog with toys.
When bringing your pet to a hotel room, he may chew on the furniture or cushions. Accidents like this should be avoided because you will likely incur fees for the destruction of the establishment’s property.
Whip out chew toys or a stuffed Kong that your dog loves to properly redirect his behaviour. Items that might become a target of his chewing, such as trash bins and medications, should be placed out of his reach too.
Some dogs also love to get their drink from the toilet. Always close the seat cover and lock the bathroom door.
6. Wear out your dog before snooze time.
Expending your dog’s energy eases his anxiety and stress. It ensures that he will be off to dreamland as soon as he lies down to sleep. This saves you the problem of handling a baying dog in the hotel late at night.
Some pet-friendly hotels have fenced areas where dogs can run and play freely. If the establishment doesn’t have this, ask the hotel staff for the best places to take your pet for long walks or runs.
Carefully plan the trip in advance will smooth out any potential hurdles you might face during your stay in a pet-friendly hotel and help create fun and lasting memories for you and your pet.