School is out and Summer Break is here, which means it time to board planes, trains and automobiles for the sacred summer vacation. For many of us with dogs as members of the family, they come along for the fun either out of necessity of simply for companionship.
When traveling with dogs, it is important to keep in mind that while they are certainly members of the family, they are still a separate species from humans with different needs and requirements for proper etiquette to keep from disturbing other travelers who chose not to bring a pet along.
A particularly unique challenge with taking a dog on the road is lodging. Hotels come in all shapes and sizes from budget inns with outdoor entrances to five star resorts in high rise towers. Hotels also come with intruders – maid service, room service, mini-bar service, turn-down service, et cetera – that restrict the freedom of a pet in the room significantly. Here are some tips to help get the most out of a dog friendly hotel stay:
Finding a Room
- Make sure your hotel welcomes pets, specifically, dogs – many do not.
- Check size restrictions – Many hotels will only accommodate “small” dogs – those less than 20 pounds, many others will have a 40-pound weight limit.
- Be prepared to pay extra for your pet. Pet’s cause additional work for the hotel staff and have a high probability of causing damage to the facility or disturbing other guests. To offset these probabilities, hotels must charge more for pets staying with them. Expect an additional $15 to $75 per night charge when booking a room with a dog.
- A word of warning – you must notify the hotel when making your reservation that you are traveling with a pet. Many hotels set aside rooms for those with pets due to the expected additional wear and tear on the room. This means that there is a fair chance you won’t be staying in the nicest room at the complex.
- Only bring your dog if they are well trained. Barking dogs are not tolerated at hotels as they disturb the other guests who deserve a good night sleep and comfortable vacation. Aggressive or destructive animals should not be taken to hotels either. Of course, your dog must be well housetrained as well. The next guest will not appreciate stepping in an “accident” on the carpet with their bare feet.
- If your dog is going to stay in the room while you are away, be sure to tell the hotel staff that you do not want your room serviced that day. Clearly mark this with a note on the outside of the door indicating that a pet is in the room and put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door knob. Any pets keep in rooms while the owner is away must be in a crate for both their safety and that of the hotel staff. Nobody wants a dog to bolt out the door or accidently bite a hotel staff member.
- When taking your pet out of the room or around the hotel, keep them from indoor communal areas and be careful in outdoor shared areas. Keep the dog on a leash at all times. Some guests fear dogs and deserve the comfortable vacation they envisioned, just as you and your pet do.
Practice Common Courtesy
- Keep your dog off the furniture – the next guest probably doesn’t want to sit on a couch covered in dog hair – they might even be allergic.
- Make sure your dog is up to date on all their shots, is in good physical condition, is well groomed and is free of parasites such as fleas and ticks and could infect the next guest.
One final note – be very careful if you are traveling outside of the country with your animal. Different countries have different laws and once you leave the United States, you are at the mercy of the local government. If you bring a dog into a country where you are not allowed to do so, or break a law, your dog may be taken from you and not returned. There are also significant health risks to dogs taken abroad.