Know Before You Go
By Carol Bryant
If you’ve ever taken a trip with your dog and checked into a hotel that claims to be “pet friendly,” there are a few things to keep in mind that might not be advertised.
As a pet traveler of 20 years, I have encountered mostly amazing experiences at pet friendly hotels and bed and breakfasts, but occasionally one falls through the cracks. Pet friendly does not mean red carpet in all cases, so keep these pointers in mind the next time you book a room for you and Fido:
- Fees are usually imposed on travelers who are staying with pets. Always ask ahead if there are fees involved, how much, and if there is a fee for each pet or a one-time deal. Often, hotels will hold a security deposit and then refund it or not charge your credit card prior to checking out.
- Pet friendly has its pets allowed limits. You can bring three kids, just not three dogs, as an example. Ask first how many dogs are allowed. Nothing ruins a trip or vacation than hearing, “sorry ma’am, but three dogs are not welcome here, only two.”
- Ask about their pet policy and what exactly it entails. Most pet-friendly establishments have a policy in writing and will ask you to sign it upon check in. Read the fine print carefully and if it isn’t, ask where you can find whatever they have as it pertains to rules of pets staying there.
- Breed restrictions may apply, so ask ahead. I am hearing more about this but I’ve yet to encounter it. I personally would not stay somewhere that had a problem with my “breed” of dog. Better to be safe than sorry, so question the policy before making a reservation.
- You can be asked to leave if your dog barks and is disturbing other guests. I understand this. I never leave my dog alone in the room. If a fire occurred, who is worrying about the dog in room 204 and if he gets out safely? Chances are, no one. Some hotels have a concierge service or can recommend a pet sitter/dog walker if you want to leave Fido behind while sightseeing.
- Pets may not be allowed on beds, couches, furniture in general. My dog is allowed on all of this at home, so I travel with sheets and lay them across everything when I travel. I am sure at some point, whether child or adult, sockless feet have jumped on the same bed/the same furniture in the hotel, but pet travelers get the warning. I respect it and my dog’s paws never touch the fabric.