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How to Choose a Pet Friendly Hotel

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on November 08, 2021

Pets and hotels are two words that aren’t often used in the same sentence. Maybe you’ve avoided traveling with your pet because finding the right place to stay can be difficult. Many hotels will claim to be pet friendly, only to charge a hefty pet fee and allow your pooch very limited access to the main areas of the hotel. Choosing a hotel that will truly welcome both you and your pet is essential to your comfort and relaxation during your stay.

Do Your Research

You’ll need to do your research before deciding on the best place for you and your pet. The best way to do this is to pick up the phone and give various hotels a call. Knowing which questions to ask before you book can save you lots of time and money when you check out. 

Learn the pet policy. All hotels have a pet policy. Individual hotels that belong to the same chain may even have policies that differ. Using websites like BringFido and PetsWelcome can be a great starting point in your search. These websites aren’t always up to date, so calling the hotel directly is still the best option. 

Understand the fees. No one likes surprise fees. Understanding the base charges and special fees for your pet is an important part of budgeting and planning for your trip. Some hotels charge a nightly pet rate, while others charge a flat rate for your whole stay. You could also be charged a special cleaning fee if your pet has an accident or chews something in the room. 

Ask questions and make sure you have a clear understanding of what’s expected of you. It can also be helpful to note who you spoke with, in case of any misunderstandings. 

Know the breed and weight restrictions. Some hotels don’t allow certain dog breeds, or they may impose a weight limit. This limit can sometimes be combined between pets. For example, a hotel could have a 150-pound combined weight limit with a maximum of three pets allowed, so you could bring up to three pets as long as their total weight doesn’t exceed 150 pounds. 

Learn what amenities are nearby. Amenities for your pet are important when you take a trip. They’ll want to sniff around and get to know their new surroundings. Ask the hotel staff what’s available nearby for your pet. The hotel might have an outdoor area for pets to relieve themselves. There could be a dog park, a pet friendly beach, or pet friendly restaurants nearby. Because being alone in a new environment can be stressful for some pets, plan activities they can be included in. After all, they’re part of the family. 

Know what areas of the hotel are off-limits to pets. Generally, pets aren’t allowed in the dining, pool, and gym areas. Some hotels ask that you use a back door when taking your dog outside instead of walking through the lobby. Ask about their pet-restricted areas and make sure you’re comfortable with their policies before you book. 

Make your pet feel at home. Most animals are creatures of habit. When you travel, it can be a very confusing time for your pet. Riding in a car or flying (whether in the airplane cabin or in the cargo hold) can be very stressful for a pet who’s used to staying at home. For this reason, it’s important to bring some items that bring your pet comfort. 

Their cozy blanket, favorite toys, familiar food, and travel carrier are essential to make the transition easier. A crate or carrier can be a source of great comfort for your pet when they’re in unfamiliar territory and to help avoid separation anxiety

Pet Welcoming vs. Pet Tolerant Hotels

Will your pet be welcomed or simply tolerated? A hotel that claims it's pet friendly doesn’t always mean your furry buddy will be welcomed with open arms. A place that is truly pet friendly won’t charge an excessive daily housekeeping fee, which can run upward of $100. 

A reasonable cleaning fee should run you around $25-$50 and should only be charged once. This can sometimes be factored into the daily pet fee you’re already paying. 

Another factor to consider is the hotel’s pet-in-room restrictions. Some hotels don’t allow pets to stay by themselves, and they may have a pet sitter available for a fee. 

Ask about the amenities inside the room. Some places even offer a special bed, food bowl, and treats for your pet. Some boutique hotels pride themselves on being very pet friendly and might even have their own furry family member on-site to welcome you in. 

Show Sources

SOURCES: 

American Kennel Club: “A Guide to Dog-Friendly Hotel Chains in the United States.”

Go Pet Friendly: Ask These Questions BEFORE Booking A Pet Friendly Hotel.”

NerdWallet: “Your Guide to Hotel Travel With Pets.”

Smarter Travel: “How to Travel with Your Dog: 8 Hotel Tips and Tricks.”

TripSavvy: “What Makes a Hotel Truly Pet-Friendly.”

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