Dog Travel: A Guide To Finding & Staying At Pet-Friendly Hotels

woman in robe on hotel bed with dog

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For dog owners who love to travel, there’s no longer the tough choice between hitting the road and spending time with a treasured pet.

Hotels across the nation, and some worldwide, are opening their doors to pets and their owners. According to AAA’s guidebook Traveling with Your Pet, more than 14,000 hotels and lodgings throughout the U.S. and Canada welcome pets warmly.

Here’s what you should know about pet-friendly hotels when you want to travel with your pooch.

How To Find A Pet-Friendly Hotel

The best way to go about finding a pet-friendly hotel is to start with internet research. Start by visiting the main websites for chains like Holiday Inn, La Quinta Inn, Motel 6, Red Roof Inn, Best Western, Sheraton, and Westin, and see if they offer pet-friendly rooms.

There are also travel-specific sites that pool information into a central repository. Check out Trips with Pets or DogFriendly.

Humane societies often list local pet-friendly hotels on their websites, too, so check online for the humane society branch at your destination city.

What Pet-Friendly Hotels Require

Happy smiling young golden retriever dog under light gray plaid. Pet warms under a blanket in cold winter weather. Pets friendly and care concept.

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While making your reservation, be sure to discuss any specific pet policies, since they differ according to hotel.

Common hotel policies cover:

  • Room availability. Hotels usually have a limited number of pet-friendly rooms, so call ahead to be sure you can book one of them during the dates you need.
  • Weight limits. Many hotels accept only dogs weighing less than 40 pounds.
  • Owner supervision. Not all hotels will allow you to leave the dog alone in your hotel room while you’re out.
  • Surcharges. Expect extra fees for bringing your dog along; some hotels charge much more than others.

What Pet-Friendly Hotels Offer

There are so many amenities pet-friendly hotels might offer. Some chains give you a pleasant room; others opt for the ultimate spa experience.

The range of offerings includes:

  • Veterinary references
  • Dog-walking services
  • Dog-sitting services
  • Maps to local dog-friendly trails, parks, and beaches
  • In-hotel grooming
  • Dog-friendly restaurants
  • Fresh-baked dog treats

How To Handle Hotel Living With Your Dog

Happy young man in a hostel carrying dog in backpack

(Picture Credit: Tomas Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Although your pet-friendly hotel may make every accommodation, it’s best to prepare in advance so you’re ready to deal with daily necessities as well as unexpected problems.

Here are a few tips for your trip.

  • Pack as carefully for the dog as for yourself. Put together a collection of medications, favorite toys, familiar bedding, food bowls, and treats.
  • Check on local availability of your dog’s brand of food. Switching their diet suddenly can cause stomach upset, so if their normal fare is hard to find, bring your own supply.
  • Talk to the concierge in advance about the daily schedule. You’ll want to know about dog-walking possibilities, dog-sitting services, housekeeping visits to your room, and any other events that will impact your dog.
  • Prevent anxiety by spending the first few hours with your dog. Hang out in the room together, then go on a first outing nearby. Next, leave the room for short periods–ten minutes to go downstairs for a newspaper, for instance. This will help your dog understand that, although you leave, you also return. If possible, don’t leave your dog alone in the room at all.

When planning a hotel stay with your dog, make the hotel into your travel partner. Learn the rules and ask the concierge or hotel staff for advice on the area.

Have you ever stayed at a pet-friendly hotel with your dog? Do you have any advice for other dog owners who are looking to travel with their pups? Let us know in the comments below!

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