If you’ve never stayed in a pet friendly hotel before it can seem confusing or overwhelming. There may be fees involved, rules to follow, and the unknown of how your dog may react to the new experience. Our first time in a hotel with our dog went above my expectations, but there were definitely some takeaways and troubleshooting we had to do to make the experience great.
In this post, I’m sharing my tips on how to make staying in a pet friendly hotel a pleasant experience!
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Before You Go:
Make sure to check pet fees, policies, weight limitations, and even breed restrictions with the hotel you are booking, directly. Do not rely on what is on their website or a third-party website. Policies change all the time and it is best to confirm directly with the hotel.
Always confirm that the room you have booked is noted as pet friendly. You don’t want to get to the hotel and find out that the room they have for you is not dog friendly.
Bring a copy of your dog’s vaccination records just in case the hotel asks for it.
TIP: We personally like to book pet friendly hotels through Hotels.com. They have a pet friendly filter and list the hotel’s pet policy at the bottom under Fees & Policies. Another good way to book pet friendly hotels is directly through the hotel’s website.
get a room on the first floor
If you can, request a room on the first floor. This will make potty breaks easier for you and more accessible.
If you aren’t able to get a room on the first floor, I would suggest not sharing the elevator with other passengers. You don’t want to freak out your dog or strangers in a small space like an elevator.
scope out the potty situation
Speaking of the potty, after you check into the hotel, make sure to ask the front desk if there is a designated pet relief area. If there isn’t, scope out the area around the hotel for a nice secluded grassy patch where your dog will feel safe doing their business.
Give your dog plenty of time to sniff around and get familiar with the area. If they do their business there, give them plenty of praise for it and take them back to that area for the remainder of their stay. Consistency is key here since their routine is completely different otherwise.
Make sure you do this during daylight too. I’ve found that getting Kirby to go potty in an unfamiliar place in the dark is a nightmare.
Don’t expect your dog to go right away or at the same time that they usually go when at home. You may have to take your dog out more than you normally would at home.
find out where your dog is allowed inside
It doesn’t hurt to have all the information when you arrive at the hotel so you don’t break any rules. We always ask the front desk where our dog is allowed to go within the hotel.
Some pet friendly hotels allow you to hang out in the common areas. Others are strict about your dog only being allowed to go from your room to the outdoors.
If your pet friendly hotel offers free breakfast, you will want to ask if you can take your food up to your room or if you can leave your dog in the hotel room for half an hour or however long it takes you to eat your food.
Some hotels that have a sit-down breakfast also have tables in the lobby area where you can sit and order your food with your dog. As always, you will need to ask your specific hotel about their breakfast policy.
bring 2 blankets
To avoid any mishaps in the hotel room related to stains or damages, make sure to bring 2 blankets with you. The first one will go over the hotel comforter (completely covering it) for your dog to sleep on if they sleep on the bed with you.
The second blanket should be their personal doggy blanket that will make them feel more at home.
have a leash and towel ready by the door
A trick we learned our first time in a hotel, was to leave the leash, his shoes, and a towel by the door. The towel is especially useful so you can wipe your dog’s paws off before they get too far into the room or jump on the bed.
play white noise at night
As your dog gets used to the hotel room, they may get territorial of it and bark if they hear people in the hallway opening and closing doors.
To avoid your dog disturbing your neighbors at night, bring a Bluetooth speaker and play white noise off of your phone. We like to play soft rain or a fireplace crackling sound. It helps drown out any noise going on outside and keeps your dog from barking at every sound they hear.
Another thing we noticed after our first night in the hotel room was Kirby would growl when he saw shadows under the door to the hallway. To troubleshoot this, we started rolling up one of the hotel towels and covering the crack under the door. This blocked the light and shadows of people walking past our door.
bring carpet cleaner and a few rags
I highly recommend bringing pet carpet cleaner and a few rags in case your dog pukes on the floor. If you can catch them before they puke, put a plastic bag or the trash can under their mouth. We do this with Kirby in the car as well. It keeps the clean-up super easy if they puke or have an accident!
bring their favorite toys and a travel bag
It’s always a good idea to bring a few toys that smell like home. You want your dog to feel comfortable in your hotel room, especially if you are staying for a while. The more comfortable your dog is in their new environment, the better they will behave.
To make your life easier, try to have all your dog’s essentials packed in one place in their own bag. You want to be able to quickly grab whatever you need and know where all their items are.
If you need help packing your dog’s bag, check out my how-to guide here.
Staying in a pet friendly hotel can be really convenient when you are traveling. I hope these tips help you and your dog have a great stay!