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Pet-Friendly Hotel Etiquette: 10 Rules for a Well-Behaved Pet

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

A dog and a cat laying on the floor

Taking your pet on your travels can be an enriching adventure for the whole family. Fortunately, many hotels and vacation rentals are opening their doors to our furry companions. So if you have found a pet-friendly hotel, this is the first step for a successful vacation.

Taking a well-mannered pet into a hotel comes with expected etiquette. After all, you’ll want to do your part as well. Here, we’ll discuss ten rules for proper hotel etiquette involving your furry domestic companions.

The 10 Rules for Pet-Friendly Hotel Etiquette

1. Be Honest About Your Pet When Booking

Various hotels have different weight and breed requirements when you are booking. When you call to arrange your stay, you must be very transparent about your pet’s information. Certain hotels can reject you if you provide false information during reservations.

It will be much more of a headache later to find another hotel at the last minute if yours decides not to take your pet. As long as you provide solid information, all will go smoothly.

2. Research Dog Fees

In addition to the total room cost, some hotels charge extra fees to book your pet. These fees typically cover any damage associated with a stay to ensure the facility is covered. Some hotels charge no additional cost, but others can charge upwards of $500 extra.

So, knowing what to expect can save on surprise expenses later.

3. Do Not Leave Your Pet Alone in the Hotel

beagle dog lying on the bed covered with a blanket
Image Credit: Kuznetsov Alexey, Shutterstock

Having a hotel is not a substitute for babysitting. If your dog is left alone, it might bark obsessively or destroy the hotel, in which case you will be liable for nuisance or damages. It’s best to keep your pet with you when you’re on the go.

This doesn’t count for briefly going downstairs to the car or heading down for a colonial breakfast. But the dog should never be permitted to stay in the hotel alone for a long while you and your family are out.

If you need care for your pet during your outings, you might be better off finding a nearby kennel or boarding facility.

4. Do Not Bring an Untrained Pet

When staying in a hotel, you have quite a jaunt to get outside for bathroom access. It’s best only to bring properly house-trained pets to prevent accidents and messes.

You can buy portable or disposable litter boxes for travel. Just ensure you properly dispose of the contents before your checkout day. If you bring a cat, they are better at using the bathroom where they are meant to without the extra trips outside.

5. Try Not to Bathe Your Pet in the Hotel Tub

Fido is going to get messy sometimes, even on vacation. But if you can help it, try not to give your dog or cat a full tub bath while you’re on a hotel stay. Many managers have dealt with the repercussions of bathing dogs in hotel tubs, making the hair harder to get out and making everything messier.

These mishaps can prevent some hotels from inviting certain guests back, and it could even ban dogs entirely. So while you can do brief cleanups, unless you plan on thoroughly scouring the hotel tub, it’s best to wait until you arrive home.

You could take your dog to a local groomer in the area rather than bathing them in the hotel bath itself—if necessary at all.

6. Bring Your Pet’s Bed and Blanket

Happy brown dog laying on his bed
Image credit: Jamie Street, Unsplash

Your pet will likely feel better if they have a little piece of home with them. If you have a portable pet bed and their favorite blankie on hand, it can help the whole process feel more comfortable. It will have a familiar scent when they are far from home, so no need to wash items before traveling.

Instead of sleeping on a hotel bed or the floor, they can have their own cozy crash pad. Sometimes, you can even bring a foldable kennel or enclosure that they have at home to protect them overnight while preventing nighttime damage to the room while you sleep.

7. Be Sure to Flea Treat Your Pets

You would never want to take your dog to a public hotel only to have them infested with fleas upon your arrival home. The same goes for other pet owners. Always make sure to flea-treat your dog if they are due before taking them anywhere.

Fleas can easily transmit from pet to pet and even live in fabrics and carpets for quite a while on their own. So it’s very easy for a communal place, such as a hotel room, to transfer these parasites.

8. Don’t Let Your Pet Disturb Guests

A hotel is a public place, and your neighbors will not want to hear a dog barking, a cat meowing, or a bird chirping at all hours of the night. Your animal should have proper training, being able to be controlled by voice alone.

That way, they know when to alert and when to listen. After all, you won’t want to deal with any noise complaints from other guests that could potentially interfere with your stay.

9. Bring Portable Food and Water Bowls

french bulldog eating from bowl
Image By: Gryllus M, Shutterstock

Don’t rely on hotels to supply food or water bowls for your pets. There are tons of travel bowls you can purchase in-store or online. Many of these travel bowls are collapsible for easy storage. It’s much simpler to bring these devices on trips, so you can take them anywhere during your travels.

Using hotel dinnerware for pets is quite unsanitary, so it’s only respectful to avoid it altogether.

10. Make Sure the Hotel Is Truly Pet-Friendly

Rather than assuming your hotel of choice will accept your pet, it’s best to call ahead and verify when you make the reservations. If you have a service animal, be prepared to explain the situation in explicit detail, e.g. how does the animal help you?

Some places will make exceptions for licensed service pets. However, emotional support animals or family pets may not be permitted on the premises.

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Final Thoughts

Taking your pet with you when you travel can be a very rewarding experience. However, you must prepare properly and respect all hotel rules. Before you get ahead of yourself, always check for pet policies and potential additional fees to set everything in order before leaving your driveway.

If you have any questions about the particular hotel you book, you can call them directly to answer your queries. Remember, be respectful and take strong measures to ensure your family, other guests, and the cleaning crew’s experience is satisfactory.

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Featured image credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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