8 Rules for Staying in Hotels With Your Dog

Dog in hotel room
Make sure you leave your number with the front desk in case your dog starts barking, crying or howling when he's left alone in the hotel room.

The first time I stayed in a hotel with a dog, I went in alone, unsure if I could parade my pet through the front door. Glancing around the lavish lobby, with its marble floor and gilded chandeliers, I asked where I could find the dog entrance. “Dogs come right in the main door,” the check-in clerk responded. “After all, your dog is part of your family!”

I feel that way, but I know that not everyone shares my point of view, and I didn't necessarily expect that response from the hotel management. Since that first quick stay years ago, though, my dogs and I have stayed in hotels for family vacations, agility trials, freestyle competitions and other events. I've checked into hotels with one or two — even four! — dogs. Over the years, I've learned a great deal about how to help make your — and your dog's — stay in a hotel a successful one. Here are some simple tips for your next trip.

Before You Go

Plan ahead. Before you leave home, check that your dog's identification tags are securely fastened to his collar and that the information on them is correct, just in case you and your pet get separated. And if your dog isn't already microchipped, this is a perfect time to do it.

Make a reservation — for the dog. Don’t wait until check-in to let the hotel know that you have a dog — confirm the pet policy before you reserve your room. Pet policies vary greatly from hotel to hotel, and even hotels that allow dogs may have size limits or restrict the number of dogs you can have in your room; they may also have a list of unwelcome breeds. Some hotels include pets in the regular room rate, while others charge separately for them. This could be a daily fee or a flat fee that covers your entire stay.

Choose the right room.Request a room on the ground floor. It’s your best bet for several reasons. You will, no doubt, have lots of gear to tote, so avoiding stairs means less schlepping — and a shorter trip to the door when it’s potty time. And unless your dog is used to an elevator, that up and down ride can be a cause of stress.

In addition, a dog who drops his toys on the floor, jumps from bed to bed or likes to wrestle with his buddy will be less likely to disturb the neighbors if you are on the ground floor. It's also a good idea to ask for a room away from the elevator, particularly if your dog barks at noises. And if you feed your pet anything that can spoil, request a room with a fridge so you can keep your dog's food close and fresh.

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