If you’re a dog owner, you know that leaving your furry friend behind when you go on vacation can be heartbreaking. Luckily, many hotels now welcome pets with open arms. However, staying in a hotel with your dog can be challenging if you’re unprepared. From finding suitable accommodations to navigating hotel policies and avoiding noise complaints, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a successful and enjoyable stay for you and your furry companion. This article shares our top tips for staying in a dog-friendly hotel. We will cover everything from tips, dog-friendly hotel chains, and a pup-approved packing list!
Everyone knows that vacations are ten times better with your dog! Okay, well, maybe not everyone…but if you are reading this blog post, I am sure you agree!
Tips for Staying in a Hotel with Your Dog
According to Forbes Advisor, 65.1 million households in the US own a dog in 2023. Those dog owners average a total annual spending of $730 per year on their dogs. Canada isn’t far behind with over 60% of residents owning a dog or cat.
With this many pets, it is expected that you will need or want to bring your pup along on your travels at some point. Before you do, be sure to check out these tips for staying in a hotel with your dog in order to simplify your hotel stay.
1. Double-Check the Hotel’s Pet Policy
Even if the online booking engine states the hotel is dog-friendly, it’s always a good idea to call directly to the hotel to double-check. Ask about any breed restrictions, weight limits, and additional pet fees or rules. There’s nothing worse than showing up to check in for a hotel to find out there are higher pet fees or stricter restrictions than you initially thought.
2. Search for Dog-Friendly Activities Nearby
All dog lovers know that if you search hard enough, you will almost always find many pet-friendly activities nearby. No one wants to be stuck in the hotel room for the duration of the stay due to being unable to take your pup with you.
Before visiting, make a list of dog-friendly restaurants and things to do. Booking a hotel near a dog park or hiking trail is a good idea, so your four-legged best friend can exercise.
3. Understand Your Dog’s Behavior
Understanding your dog’s behavior is crucial. Knowing their comfort level, triggers, and reactions can help you effectively manage potential challenges, leading to a stress-free hotel stay.
4. Be Mindful of Other Guests
I know you may think your dog is the most important guest in the hotel, but not everyone is a dog lover. Be a responsible pet owner, respect their space, always keep your dog on a leash, and monitor any barking.
5. Make a Plan with Local Pet Sitters
If you plan on checking out some non-dog-friendly activities during your vacation, make a plan with local sitters ahead of time. You can check out local pet sitter social media groups, find day boarding facilities, or use apps such as Rover.
6. Limit Alone Time
Before ever leaving your dog unattended in a hotel room, be sure to double-check the hotel rules. It’s not always allowed. If permitted, be sure your dog is well-behaved and will not bark or destroy anything in the room (those hotel fees are no joke).
Limiting alone time for your dog also minimizes separation anxiety and allows you both to enjoy the trip without unnecessary stress.
7. Request a Room on the Ground Level
By requesting a first-floor room, you are simplifying all those bathroom breaks. This means no need to deal with elevators or stairs and a less likely chance of accidents.
8. Bring Cleaning Supplies (Just in Case)
Hey, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Even if your dog “never” has accidents, the additional stress of traveling and sleeping somewhere new may cause you to be surprised. If nature calls unexpectedly, you can do a quick cleanup.
9. Use the “Do Not Disturb” Sign
When staying in a hotel with a dog, you should always use the “do not disturb” sign to prevent unexpected interruptions and maintain a calm and relaxed atmosphere.
If you can leave your dog unattended in the room, be sure to triple-check that this sign is on the door before leaving. Sometimes pet-friendly hotels have special door hangers for dogs!
10. Keep Your Dog on a Leash
This was mentioned in tip number 4, but it’s important enough to get its own bullet point. Always keep your dog on a leash in all the hotel’s public spaces.
Yes, even if your dog is the friendliest. Not everyone likes dogs. Some people are terrified of them, and others may be allergic. The pet-friendly hotel will appreciate responsible pet owners and continue to open its doors to canine guests.
11. Bring Familiar Items
Traveling and sleeping somewhere new can be scary for pups. They will feel more at home by packing their favorite toy or a travel bed. This will help them settle in more easily.
12. Take Time to Settle in After Arriving
Once arriving at the hotel, take an hour or two to help your dog feel comfortable. Don’t rush into the next activity; do not leave them alone immediately.
13. Stick to Exercise Routines
Sticking to your usual exercise routines with your dog is a great idea when on vacation with them. If you usually go for a morning walk or run with your dog, plan to keep that up. Routines and regular exercise are essential for both the dog and the owner.
Pet-friendly Hotel Chains
Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of pet-friendly hotel chains around the world. Expedia Group released a list of the top pet-friendly hotels for a vacation with your canine companion.
It’s important to note that each hotel has different restrictions and policies, and you should expect to pay an additional fee at most of the following pet-friendly properties. Calling to double-check all rules before finalizing your reservation is always recommended.
Kimpton Hotels are known for being one of the most pet-friendly hotels in the world. They welcome all pets regardless of their size, weight, or breed. There are no additional fees; they will even greet your canine companion with a doggy goodie bag.
They also provide water bowls and doggy beds in your room and a unique door hanger that will notify other guests and staff members of a pet. Kimpton Hotels even have nightly social events that your dogs are allowed to join!
La Quinta by Wyndham
La Quintas are also a great option when searching for pet-friendly hotels. Almost all their locations are canine-friendly, and most do not charge an additional pet fee. They do limit it to two pets per room. Additional pet restrictions exist at specific locations, so it is important to call before checking in.
Red Roof Inn
Red Roof Inns’ can be found in almost every state across the United States. Most locations allow one pet per room up to 80 pounds, while the Red Roof Inn Collection hotels limit the weight to 40 pounds. It’s essential to disclose your pet at check-in so they can ensure you have a pet-friendly room.
Known for their “Loews Loves Pets” program, Loews Hotels are a great option when traveling with your furry best friend. Upon check-in, your pup will be greeted with dog treats, bowls, and a map of dog walking trails and pet-friendly parks nearby. They even have dog beds and a gourmet dog-friendly room service menu!
Ensure you bring a copy of your dog’s up-to-date vaccinations, as they are required at check-in time. There are 15 Loews locations in the United States and one in Canada.
There are over 2,100 dog-friendly Best Westerns worldwide, but each location has slightly different rules and restrictions. Most limit the stay to two pets per pet-friendly room with weight restrictions of 80 pounds. The typical nightly pet fee is $30, but calling to verify is essential.
As one of the leaders in worldwide hotels, Mariott Bonvoy has over 35 hotel brands and 8,500 hotels worldwide. Although not all Mariott hotels accept pets, thousands do have pet-friendly rooms.
If wanting to stay at a Mariott property with your pet, check for a nearby Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn, Westin, or Aloft Hotels. The average pet fee ranges from $25 to $70 per night, and breed and weight restrictions vary depending on specific hotels and locations.
For those looking for a budget-friendly, no-frills pet-friendly hotel, check out Motel 6! Motel 6 accepts pets of all sizes and breeds at no additional cost. They do limit it to two pets per room, though.
Hilton Hotels and Resorts
Some Hilton properties are pet-friendly, allowing dogs up to a certain weight limit. Their website allows you to sift through pet-friendly options quickly. As always, be sure to call the individual hotel before booking.
Hyatt is an excellent option if traveling with smaller pets, as they allow two dogs per room with a combined weight of 75 pounds. There’s typically a one-time fee of $75, which is a bit more expensive than other options on this list.
Fairmont Hotels (Accor) are pet-friendly, and the hotels in Canada even have pet merch in partnership with Roots. I had a weekend getaway with my dog Beau at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, and we both were warmly welcomed and had the best stay. Check each hotel for their pet policies.
The Fairmont Hotels also have a resident team of Canine Ambassadors who greet guests in the lobby, go for walks, host canine-friendly events, and fill the void whenever travelers miss their furry friends back home.
Pan Pacific Hotels
Pan Pacific Hotels are another great option for canine-friendly lodgings. Visit the website of each hotel to review their specific policies for pets. My dog Beau and I have spent a weekend in Whistler at the Pan Pacific. We had a fun and pet-friendly getaway full of nature and beauty.
Side Note: Service dogs and animals are always allowed and do not have the same restrictions or pet fees. However, it is still a good idea to call the hotel and let them know before arriving at the front desk with your service dog.
Dog-friendly Travel Packing List
Traveling with a dog is a lot like traveling with kids…they require their own packing list! Okay, maybe not quite as extensive as a child’s packing list, but it is important that you are prepared with the essentials.
- Dog Bed: If small enough to take on the road, your dog will appreciate sleeping in his own bed. It will help your pet feel comfortable and more at ease in an unfamiliar place. If the bed is too large, be sure to check with your chosen hotel if they have any dog beds you can borrow! This also helps to keep them off of the hotel bed and leaving behind excess pet hair.
- Food and Water Bowls: Although some of the above pet-friendly hotels supply food and water bowls, bringing your own is always a good idea! Or better yet, grab some travel-friendly bowls that are easy to store and bring along on the road trip!
- Dog food: It’s better to pack the food your dog is used to than search for the right food after arriving at your destination.
- All Natural Dog Treats: What dog doesn’t like to relax with an all-natural dog treat after a long day of travel? By bringing your own dog treats, you can also ensure your pup’s stomach is used to it and won’t get sick from unfamiliar treats.
- White Noise Machine: Hotels are often full of unfamiliar sounds. A white noise machine can help calm your pet’s nerves (and minimize barking).
- Vaccination Record: Although not all hotels will require proof, having a printed or digital copy of your dog’s up-to-date vaccinations is a good idea.
- Leash and Collar: Even if your dog has the best recall skills and is friendly to everyone, be sure to pack a leash and collar. Many hotels (if not all) will require that your pup is always on a leash when out of the hotel room.
- Identification: It’s wise to bring identification on any road trip. Your dog is unfamiliar, making getting spooked easier than usual. Identification would allow for easy contact should they run away.
- Collapsible Kennel: If you plan to leave your dog alone in the hotel rooms (after you have verified the policy), bring a kennel. This is for your pet and the hotel staff’s safety.
- Toys: Toys can help keep your pets occupied and comfortable. If you are visiting a dog-friendly beach bring toys for that, too!
- Medications: If your dog has any medication, vitamins, or travel anxiety pills, be sure to pack them when you are packing the food.
Pet Travel FAQs
Now that we have covered the tips for staying in a hotel with a dog, the most dog-friendly hotels, and a pup-friendly packing list, let’s jump into some general pet travel FAQs. As you are probably aware, traveling with your pets does require a bit of extra preparation.
Doggy experts suggest stopping every 2 to 3 hours to let your dog stretch his legs and use the bathroom. Be sure that you are also giving your dog water at each of these stops.
You should always let the hotel know about your dog before checking in. This way, they can ensure that you are in a pet-friendly room, plus inform you about anything else you may need to know. If booking online, there’s typically a “bringing a pet” filter to use.
Once you check-in, you will likely have to fill out a waiver agreeing to the hotel’s pet policy. Sneaking your dog in a pet-friendly hotel could cost you a lot more in the long run.
Traveling can be pretty stressful for dogs. Prepare your dog for a long road trip by doing several “practice” trips beforehand. If you know your dog has anxiety, talk with your Vet about any options to use while in the car.
You’d be surprised how many restaurants and activities are dog-friendly! A simple Google search for “dog-friendly things to do near me” will offer many options. Bring Fido is an excellent starting point, as well as travel blogs that can speak from experience!
The above pet friendly hotels may also be a great resource. Many have personal feedback from previous four-legged guests about the best pet-friendly things to do nearby.
Several airlines do allow small dogs to travel in the cabin. They typically have to be small enough to fit in a carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you. If you have a larger dog, you will likely be better off road-tripping to your destination.
If you need to fly with your large dogs, they must go in the cargo hold. Be sure to visit your vet to ensure your dog is healthy enough to do so, as this comes with many risks.
Staying in a Hotel with Your Dog (Pet-friendly Travel Recap)
Although traveling and staying in a hotel with your dog can lead to additional challenges and preparation steps, it’s more accessible than ever. More and more hotels, restaurants, and attractions are opening doors to your furry best friends! I hope you found these tips and lists helpful in planning your next dog-friendly getaway!
Cheers to many simple and enjoyable hotel stays with your dog in tow!
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Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.