Pet Travel

Traveling with a Dog: 12 Pet-Friendly Hotel Etiquette Tips

Traveling with a dog can strike fear into even the most dedicated dog lovers.

But it also can be the most fun and rewarding holiday you’ll ever have – because lets face it, our furry friends make the BEST travel buddies.

Experienced traveller and Proud Dog Mom editor, Melissa shares her do’s and don’ts for pet friendly travel… 

12 expert tips for traveling with a dog - the ultimate list of do's and don'ts when on vacation with your pet including pet friendly hotel etiquette tips.

Article Originally Published on: Proud Dog Mom

I travel with my dogs. A lot. We used to travel cross country at least twice a year to visit family, and sometimes we drive down to Florida for a few days to enjoy some much-needed beach time. With all of this traveling, I can’t even tell you how many hotels my dogs have stayed in. I guess by this point you can say they’re professional hotel guests. If you’re planning on staying in a pet-friendly hotel with your dogs, there are a few etiquette rules that I encourage you to follow. These tips will help you enjoy a stress-free trip with Fido and you’ll leave with a good reputation from hotel staff!

1) Make Reservations For Your Dog

When you’re booking your hotel stay, make sure to verify that the hotel is pet-friendly and let the front desk know you’ll be traveling with a dog. Ask if there are any extra pet charges or deposits. Plus, find out if they’re refundable or non-refundable. You don’t want any surprises when you check in.

2) Never Sneak Your Dog Into The Hotel

With so many pet-friendly hotel chains to choose from, there’s no reason to ever sneak your pooch in. Truly, you may not get caught. But why risk getting thrown out? If you’re trying to avoid fees, breathe a sign of relief because there are a few hotels that don’t charge extra for your dog to stay. Check out La Quinta, Kimpton, Red Roof Inn, and Motel Six.

3) Don’t Use The Ice Bucket As A Water Bowl

When you travel with your dog, always bring along food and water bowls. If you accidentally forget them, ask at the front desk if they can supply you with some. Whatever you do, don’t feed your dog out of the hotel ice bucket or trays. First of all, it’s not sanitary for your dog and you don’t know what chemical solutions those things have been cleaned with (or if they’ve been cleaned at all). Secondly, it’s not nice to whoever stays in the room after you.

4) Don’t Leave Your Pooch In The Room Alone

There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t leave your dog unattended in a hotel room.

  • It’s against pet policy in most hotels.
  • Your pooch has no clue where he is and will likely be frightened if you leave him alone. This is a recipe for disaster. A nervous dog is likely to act out when you’re gone. He may chew furniture or claw at the carpet and door in an attempt to escape and find you.
  • He’ll probably bark uncontrollably, which could result in someone calling in a complaint.

If you need to leave your pooch during your trip, plan ahead and find a local doggie sitter or daycare. This way you’ll know your pooch is being taken care of and is safe.

5) Keep Barking To a Minimum

Of course a woof here and a woof there is okay, but don’t let your dog bark non-stop. As he gets more comfortable in his new surroundings, he’s likely to get territorial and bark as he hears doors opening/closing or people walking down the hall. Hotels say they allow well-behaved dogs, but if you can’t quiet your pooch then he may not be ready for a hotel stay.

6) Be Prepared For Accidents

When your canine kid stays in a pet-friendly hotel, he’s going to be exposed to various smells from the countless dogs who stayed there before. This could stimulate even the most well-trained dog to perhaps leave a little squirt – or even a little puddle! If your dog is a marker, excited pees, or you just aren’t sure what he’ll do, you may want to bring a diaper or belly band with you just in case.

7) Pack Some Pet Enzyme Odor Cleaner

Just in case your pooch does have an accident (or an on purpose) it’s a good idea to have a little bottle of dog odor eliminator and stain remover with you. Just filling a little spritz bottle to have on hand should work.

8) Don’t Let Your Dog Roam Off Leash

Always keep your dog leashed when walking through the hotel and on the grounds. There are a few reasons this is important:

  • Your dog is in unfamiliar surroundings and may have the urge to wander off and explore. Dogs can easily get lost or even hit by a car in the parking lot if they aren’t on their leash.
  • There may be other dogs at the hotel and you have no clue if they’re all friendly. It’s much easier to control and protect a dog on a leash should the need arise.
  • It’s common courtesy. Other guests may feel uncomfortable and even frightened by an unleashed dog.

9) Pick Up Your Puppy’s Poo

Bring waste bags to clean up after your dog when you go for a walk outside. I mean, do you want to step in dog poo? Well, neither do the other guests! Also, if your furkid has an accident in the room, clean it up immediately.

10) Think About Flea Control

When staying in a pet-friendly hotel, it’s no surprise there’s going to be a lot of dogs around. You never know who stayed in the room before you or what’s lingering in the grass on the grounds. To be safe you should consider flea preventative before your trip. I do say this one from experience because, courtesy of a pet-friendly hotel, we had our first case of fleas.

If you like to keep it natural there are natural flea preventatives. Check out my article for some ideas. If your pooch does manage to become the host of a family of fleas, here are some remedies for that too!

11) Don’t Bring Your Pooch In The Breakfast/Dining Room Area

In the United States, there are health laws that prohibit dogs from being in areas where food is being prepared or served. While I may not agree with it (because some dogs are cleaner than some kids), they are the rules and we are the guests.

So when walking through the hotel, avoid these areas with your furkids. If you want to eat with them by your side, some hotels and/or restaurants offer outdoor patio dining with your pooch.

Check ahead to see if there is one close to your destination. Otherwise, you may want to plan room service or take out and eat in your room. That’s actually what I do when I’m on the road. I get to kick off my shoes and relax while my little Diego and Gigi are happily by my side.

12) Report Any Damage To The Front Desk

If your dog did any damage to the room, bring it to the front desk staff’s attention. It’s always better to let them know. Maybe they’ll charge you for the damage, maybe they won’t.

But one thing is for sure – if you leave unreported damage they will find it and come after you. On that same note, if you arrive at a room and see any damage, report that as well so you don’t become the one responsible for it.


Founded my Melissa in early 2016, Proud Dog Mom is a blog that offers dedicated pet parents healthy dog treat recipes, training tips, health advice, DIY projects, and so much more. In a short time, what started out as a passion project has become the ultimate spot for everything canine.


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Pick of the Week

  • cuddle clones plush toy of your pet

    Original Plush Cuddle Clone

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