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Tips for staying in a dog friendly hotel

5 min read

When we go on holiday, it’s only natural that we want to bring our four-legged friends along with us to enjoy every moment, but finding suitable accommodation can sometimes take some planning and of course depending on where you are staying, it’s likely there will be rules present too. Read our guide and discover our top tips for staying in a dog friendly hotel.

As a nation of dog lovers, we want to spend every possible moment with our four-legged friends – and our holiday time is no exception. So, it’s only natural that when we go on a trip, we want to find somewhere that will let us bring them along for the ride and experience everything right alongside us.

In recent years, taking your dog on holiday has become more popular, and an array of dog-friendly locations have appeared to make it easy, including everything from restaurants and pubs to dog-friendly hotels or holiday lets.

If you’re looking to take your first trip with your canine companion, or you just want some luxury, you may be wondering what a dog-friendly hotel is and what rules they might have? We’ve put together this handy guide so you can get to grips with the usual pet friendly hotel requirements, so both you and your dog can have a stress-free trip.


What is a dog friendly hotel?

Quite simply, a dog friendly hotel is one where your dog can stay in the room with you. But it’s worth knowing that not every hotel that allows pets have the same policies or conditions. Some may have size limits, breed restrictions or may even have a restriction on the number of dogs allowed in one room.

Additionally, it’s quite common for hotels to charge an extra fee for dogs – this could be a non-refundable deposit, a flat rate, or a nominal daily fee. They can also have a ‘clean up’ fee is your dog makes a mess in the room or anywhere else in the hotel.

Make sure you contact the hotel before your trip and get all the information on their pet friendly hotel rules and possible fees to make sure you’re not caught out.

Also spend some time on the internet doing some research and reading reviews from dog owners. Some hotels say they are dog friendly but are actually only just ‘dog tolerant’ and you and your dog could find yourself feeling a bit uncomfortable – whereas others are positively ‘dog welcoming’ and will do everything they can to ensure a great stay for you both.


Tips for staying in a dog friendly hotel:

1. Be sure to plan ahead

Before you book your hotel make sure that it’s actually suitable for your dog. You want to know that there are plenty of areas nearby for daily walks and for going to the toilet.

If you are planning a country break, check that there are dog washing facilities outside so that you don’t have to worry about bringing a wet muddy dog back into the hotel.

If you’re going to be travelling to and walking your dog in a big city, the bustle can be stressful for them so consider if this is a good break for your dog. Many can find the constant stimulation of a city just too much to cope with – and long, off-lead walks are often impossible. If you do have a dog who is happy in an urban environment, it’s still important that you can take measures to keep them comfortable (such as requesting a quiet room).

It’s also a good idea to double check that your dog has ID tags with your up-to-date information and has your mobile number on it (not just your home address) and ensure that their microchip information is also up to date. Some dog friendly hotels will supply visiting dogs with temporary ID tags.

2. Request a room on the ground floor

Most dog friendly hotels will ensure that you stay on the ground floor – and may even have a direct door to the outside. Check before you book as this will not only make toilet breaks much easier (as you’ll be able to nip out as and when they need without disturbing anyone else) but it also avoids stressful elevator journeys or walking through the hotel with a dog who needs to go out NOW!

Also ask for a room where there won’t be people walking past all the time. That can both be disturbing for your dog – and encourage them to bark at the constant interruptions/potential invaders.

3. Make sure harmful things are out of the way

Hotels often provide toiletries or snacks, have plug-in air fresheners, or other hazardous items, so before you allow your dog free range of the room, make sure you do a sweep for harmful items. Take any hazardous items, foods or anything they may be tempted to chomp on and place them safely out of the way.

4. Use a dog crate or play pen

Using a crate or pen in your hotel room will ensure that your dog is safe at all times when in the hotel and can’t get into mischief exploring, chewing or gnawing on things in this strange new environment. Not only will it also prevent them from dashing out of the room, but if your dog is used to a crate at home, it may also provide a familiar comfort to them. Even if your dog doesn’t need a crate, take their bed with you so they have something that reminds them of home to help them settle.

5. Mind your mess

Be respectful and abide by your pet friendly hotel’s rules. Many will insist that dogs are not allowed on the bed or furniture – although the really dog friendly, will provide covers and blankets so that is not an issue. Take sheets and blankets with you anyway to place on beds and upholstered furniture to keep them clean, and make sure your dog isn’t muddy before entering the room.

Don’t forget to keep the outside of the hotel tidy as well. Ask where they are allowed to go to the toilet, stock up on poop bags (plus wipes) and always clean up after them.

6. Give them plenty of exercise

Most dog friendly holidays involve long walks and exciting days, so your dog is going to be happy to rest when your get back for the evening. However before settling down for the night, make sure your dog gets a chance to play or have a late walk if they still need to get rid of any excess energy.

7. Think about mealtimes

If you are staying in a hotel with fabulous dining facilities, you might want to enjoy an evening in the restaurant wining and dining – or a long leisurely breakfast. If so, can your dog be left alone in a room safely and quietly? If not, do the hotel have dog sitting arrangements (some do – but at a cost!)? Or do they have a special part of the hotel where you can eat with your dog?

8. Is your dog happy with strange people and other dogs?

Good dog friendly hotels are popular – and so it would be unusual for your dog to be the only canine in residence. You may well be bumping into other owners and their dogs – or the hotel’s own pups – and of course everyone will want to say hello to your dog, so you do need a canine who is social and friendly to all.


How to make your dog feel at home in a hotel

If your dog is happy and relaxed, it’ll make the trip much more enjoyable for you both. Bring items that they’re familiar with like their bed - or a blanket that smells like home as this will help them to settle much quicker. You should also bring any favourite toys – especially food enrichment chew toys - with you as these are perfect distractions and will give them something to gnaw on and prevent them from chomping on the furniture, which will incur additional fees or fines.


Typical pet friendly hotel requirements:

All dog hotels have different rules; however, the most standard pet friendly hotel requirements are as follows:

  • Friendly dogs only
  • Legal breeds only (and there may be breed/size restrictions)
  • You may have to provide proof of up-to-date vaccinations
  • Evidence of recent parasite treatment might be required
  • Must be well-behaved
  • Must be toilet trained

Can you leave your dog alone in a hotel room?

It largely depends on your dog and the hotel. Some won’t allow you to leave your dog alone in the room at all, whereas others might ask you to leave them in a crate to protect cleaning/room staff, guard against escapes, and prevent them causing damage or going to the toilet in the room.

Some luxurious or ultra-dog friendly hotels might provide a dog sitting service for a fee.

Other hotels won’t have a problem with you leaving your dog alone but be aware that they might ask you to leave if your dog is loud or destructive while you’re out and any damage will be charged for.

Prefer to have the place to yourself when you go away on holiday? Check out our guide to the top 9 pet-friendly holiday homes, next.