Finding Dog-Friendly Hotels
If you think of your pooch as a member of your family — as most dog owners do — then you don’t even think twice about taking your four-legged family member on vacation with you. You may have to do a bit more planning for your travel arrangements to get where you’re going, however.
- If you’re driving, make sure you know how to care for your doggies in the car, both for comfort and for safety, such as not leaving your best bud alone in a hot car.
- If you’re flying, make sufficient arrangements with your airline.
- If you’re traveling out of the country, take care of all the appropriate shots for you and your pup.
Making travel plans makes your trip go more smoothly. But one item that many pet owners leave until the last minute is where to stay. You can’t assume that every front desk clerk is willing to bend the rules just because your four-legged family member is adorable to you. Dog-friendly hotels aren’t necessarily available everywhere you go.
But Trends Are in Your Favor
It used to be, back before the emergence of the internet, that finding dog-friendly hotels took a lot of research and a lot of phone calls. Often, those few overnight rooms that weredog-friendly existed primarily in low-rent properties that advertised just a couple pet-accepting rooms. As a consequence, some pet owners would sneak their pups into their motel room under cover of darkness, much like a forbidden paramour.
Today, you’ll find more options than ever —including in very high-end, posh hotels. Dogs are cool now. It even seems, in some corners, that if you aren’t a dog-lover, then you’re the one who’s shunned! But you still need to do a little homework before you set out on your vacation. And you need to practice discernment when searching for accommodations.
Recommended Websites for Dog-Friendly Hotels
Just because it’s online, every website can’t guarantee that the information it provides is still true or complete. Even if it points you to a property that seems a suitable choice for your family travels, call the hotel in advance to confirm the information you found on a referral site — or even on the hotel’s own website. Policies change, and websites don’t always manage to keep up with the most current information.
Additionally, understand that not all websites are transparent about what criteria they use for inclusion. You don’t know if a list is composed of just those businesses that advertise with them. Use the internet as a starting point and verify, verify, verify before you make reservations. A few sites that your friends at Canine Styles have found to be helpful for finding dog-friendly hotels include:
- Bring Fido is a website founded by a woman who rescues dogs and had a difficult time finding dog-friendly hotels. After calling, what she claims, every hotel in the country, she’s compiled some pretty extensive lists of about 150,000 dog-friendly hotels in 100 countries. It’s a snazzy site, so you know she’s got, advertisers.
- Dog Friendly has been around since 1989, helping four-legged family members get comfortable while you travel. Their website looks old too. That doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t up-to-date with their information, though. They do have some unique lists you may find useful.
- Go Pet Friendly is a site recommended by Forbestravel writer Allison Olmsted, a dog owner who was impressed with this site’s list of no-fee dog-friendly hotels. And these aren’t just budget-conscious places to stay.
- Pets Welcome is a website run by dog owners. It’s got some great search features within it, although there are some obvious chain sponsorships. But who cares as long as you find what you need, right?
Do Your Homework Before Booking
After checking referral websites, do your own online research. Look for real reviews by real people who actually stayed at the hotel you’re considering. Review social media for comments. You may learn quite a bit.
Just by talking to fellow travelers, you may find a wide range of caveats for different properties. Some still levy fees for pets staying in rooms. Others have weight limits for canines allowed to stay with them. So remember this advice, which can’t be repeated often enough: call the front desk before you book a room to verify their latest rules.
At the same time, you can do your part to keep the trend in motion by behaving like good guests. Always do your part to take personal responsibility for your dog, no matter where you stay. You and your bestie will enjoy your vacation much more when you, the responsible adult, take care of business properly.
Tips for Bringing Your Dog to a Hotel
To that end, remember these travel tips when you stay at any of the dog-friendly hotels you find:
- Let the front desk know when you’re going out and leaving your pet in the room. Make sure your little buddy is comfortable and fed. Take him out to do his duty before you leave.
- Place a Do Not Disturb sign on the door so you won’t scare some poor, busy housekeeper — or your pup — with an unexpected visit.
- Leave your contact information, like your cell phone number, with the front desk, just in case. Always think “just in case” when you travel because accidents or emergencies can happen. It may also be that your pup is “crying” for you and disturbing other guests.
- If possible, bring a crate for when you leave the room and want to keep your pooch safe and out of trouble. Make it classy and comfortable with a durable crate mat.
- If not a crate, maybe a familiar and comfortable dog bed will keep your pup content while you’re out.
- Keep your animal on a leash at all times when walking through the lobby, dining at a pet-friendly restaurant or just walking around your vacation destination. Unless you’re staying in a national, state or local park that doesn’t have leash laws, rely on a good sturdy lead and collar.
- Don’t leave your pooch alone for too much of your vacation. You brought him along to be part of the fun. Make it a memorable vacation together with your whole family!