Have your started planning a pet-friendly holiday yet? Now's the time! While more and more places are starting to accept pets, there are usually a limited number of "pet rooms" available - and they often book fast! It's especially important to plan as far in advance as you can if you're traveling with larger dogs, multiple pets, or pets other than dogs, as there are fewer suitable accommodations available.
Before you choose a pet-friendly accommodation, decide what pet amenities and services are important to you and to your pet. Here are a few things to consider when including your pet.
Many pet owners prefer ground-floor rooms, rooms with outside entrances, or rooms near an exterior door. These types of rooms can make it easier and faster to bring dogs outside for a bathroom break. This can be particularly important if you have older dogs that need to go outside more often, or dogs with mobility issues where a shorter distance to the outdoors is appreciated.
It's just good manners to walk your dog away from the main doors, restaurant areas, etc. so that other guests don't have to watch doggy do his business. Does the hotel have a grassy area for your dog to use? How about dog pick-up bags? Of course, you should always try to stuff your pockets with bags, but just in case you run out or forget, it's nice to have some available.
Part of the fun of taking your dog along on vacations is to spend carefree days exploring new places together. Ask if there are nearby trails and parks where dogs are welcome (on or off-leash), as well as leash-free areas and perhaps even a dog beach or two!
Some accommodations offer a welcome treat or basket, use of food or water bowls, use of a dog bed... and some offer extra services to pet owners like short-term pet-sitting or dog-walking (these services typically have to be pre-arranged, and there may be an additional fee).
Pet fees vary widely. Sometimes the fee applies for each pet, and sometimes it's per room (no matter how many pets you bring). A fee might be charged for every night you stay, or it might be a one-time charge for your entire stay. Get the details so you don't have any surprises when the bill comes.
Not every accommodation is suitable for every type of pet. If your dog is prone to barking, for example, a busy hotel or resort may not be the best option - instead, look for a private vacation rental or cottage where his barking won't disturb other guests. Another example: dogs with mobility issues (like older dogs) can't easily climb stairs, so look for an accommodation that doesn't have them (if your dog has mobility issues, a mobility harness is a good thing to carry with you - it's lightweight, portable, and can be handy when you're not sure what to expect in a new place).
Sometimes it's enough to simply have staff that warmly welcome your pet (rather than grudgingly accept them).
Regardless of which pet-friendly accommodation you choose, remember to always display good pet travel etiquette - it helps to build goodwill with everyone, and helps to make sure our pets continue to be welcomed when we go on vacation.
"A man wrote a letter to a hotel which he planned to visit on his vacation. He wrote, 'I would very much like to bring my dog with me. He is well groomed and very well behaved. Would you be willing to permit me to keep him in my room with me?'
A reply came from the hotel manager, who said, 'I've been operating this hotel for many years. In all that time, I've never had a dog steal towels, linens, or pictures off the walls. I've never had to evict a dog in the middle of the night for being drunk and disorderly. And I've never had a dog run out on a bill. Yes, your dog is welcome at my hotel, and if your dog will vouch for you, you're welcome to stay here, too!'