Top 10 Hotel Etiquette Tips When Traveling With Your Dog
According to the Automobile Association of America, more than 75 percent of pet parents bring their four-legged companions along when they travel. If you’re among them, or ready to start taking your pooch with you, here are some essential etiquette tips to ensure that pet-friendly hotels don’t decide to change their policy after your stay.
1. Call ahead to check the hotel’s pet policy. When you’re making your travel plans, be sure to find out each hotel’s particular policy for pets. For example, some hotels have weight restrictions or limit the number of pets allowed in each room. If you have a bully breed, make sure your destination doesn’t enforce breed-specific legislation, as do Denver, Colo., and the state of Ohio.
“Never arrive unannounced with a pet even if you’ve stayed at the hotel before, as policies change and they may no longer allow pets,” writes Karen “Doc” Halligan, director of veterinary services at spcaLA, in her book “What Every Pet Owner Should Know.”
2. Pack comfort items for your pooch. Along with plenty of poop disposal bags and paper towels, pack some of your dog’s favorite things, such as toys, a blanket or two, and his bed or crate, if possible.
“Bring a little bit of home with your dogs, such as a favorite toy, to relax them in their new environment,” advises Jill Lieblein, acting director of sales and marketing for The Carlton.
Tim Wilk, owner of the Gray Goose Inn, suggests you also pack “water and food bowls; medications; and be up to date on vaccinations and flea and tick control.”
To protect the hotel room furniture, you should also bring some sheets (or ask ahead if the hotel will provide extra sheets).
3. Ask for a room on the ground floor. This will make it easier to leave the room for walks and potty breaks. Halligan suggests you also ask for a room “where there’s little foot traffic in case your dog barks at strange noises.”
4. Clean up after your dog. Both in your room and on the hotel grounds, be sure to quickly pick up your dog’s poop. Many pet-friendly hotels have designated outdoor areas for dogs, so be sure to take your pooch there frequently for potty breaks. Don’t let your dog do his business in close proximity to other rooms or on hotel landscaping. If your dog has an accident in your room, clean it up with paper towels, not the hotel’s bath towels.
5. Don’t leave your dog alone in the room. Your dog is in an unfamiliar environment and probably stressed, so don’t leave him alone for long periods of time. If you plan to spend hours sightseeing without your dog, ask the hotel for referrals for doggie day care facilities or an in-room pet sitter.
If you must briefly leave your dog alone in the room, leave the TV or radio on for soothing background noise, and hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. Some hotels may require you to keep your dog in a crate when you’re not in the room.
“Train your pet to be crate-friendly,” advises Brannan Cottage Inn owner Doug Cook. “One of our concerns is the safety of our housekeeping crew when guests leave their pets in the room. We strongly prefer, but don’t require, the animals to be kept in a crate. If not, your room may not be cleaned as often or as well.”
6. Don’t allow your dog on the furniture. Some hotels explicitly specify that pets are not allowed on furniture, but even if yours doesn’t, don’t allow your pooch to jump on sofas, chairs or beds. It’s a good idea to cover the furniture with sheets you’ve brought from home or ones provided by the hotel.
7. Keep your dog on a leash. Don’t allow your dog to run around freely on the hotel property.
8. Place your dog’s bowls in the bathroom. If your dog is a sloppy drinker or eater, the Mendocino Coast & Country Travel Directory notes that it’s easy to clean the mess off the tile floor.
9. Don’t bring your dog to the hotel’s dining areas or bar. For health code reasons, dogs are usually not permitted in indoor eating areas. Some hotels do not allow dogs in the lobby either, so check your hotel’s policy before bringing your pooch to the front desk.
10. Point out and pay for any damages. Let the hotel know if your dog breaks anything, and offer to pay to replace it.
Next Week: Top 5 Things You Need for a Road Trip With Your Dog