When looking for dog friendly hotel chains, there’s a lot to consider. What does dog-friendly mean to a hotel, and what questions do you ask to know if it’s a good fit for you and your dog? Use this guide to make sure your stay is as comfortable as home for everyone in your family. First we'll look at how "dog friendly" is defined, then we'll list some chains that seem most accommodating to dogs.
Questions To Ask The Hotel
Before you start looking for pet-friendly hotels, know this: everybody defines it differently. Each hotel varies, and what a hotel considers dog-friendly may not be how you, a dog owner, defines it. Ask questions like these to make sure you understand exactly what you're getting with a specific hotel.
1) Is there a deposit or fees for having a pet?
How much, and under what conditions is the deposit returned? Some hotels ask for a pet deposit to cover potential damage to the room, which is typically returned after checkout. Others charge a fee, usually to cover cleaning costs, so you won’t get it back. Ask ahead so you’re not surprised by the bill.
2) Are there any limits on breed?
Sadly, many people still believe in stereotypes that certain dogs are “worse” than others. Many large breeds fall victim to this discrimination – German Shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, to name a few. Make sure the hotel welcomes your dog.
3) Are there size limits? This is another area large dogs get the shaft.
Many so-called “dog friendly hotels” actually have size limits, typically at the 25-pound or 50-pound limit. Confirm that the hotel loves big paws as well as small.
4) How many dogs are allowed?
Many hotels will roll in a cot for extra humans in a room but cap the number of dog guests. If you have more than one dog traveling with you, make sure the hotel allows multiple dogs in one room.
5) Are there any requirements for when the dog is alone in the room?
Some hotels require that you crate your dog when you leave. This fabric dog crate is designed for portability and dogs up to 90 pounds. Make sure you know if you need this or other equipment before you arrive.
6) What amenities for dogs are on-site?
It’s one thing for a hotel to allow dogs, but it’s more than a little frustrating if a hotel allows dogs but doesn’t have any area for dogs to relieve themselves. On the other hand, some hotels offer dog beds, treats, and more to make sure you and your dog feel welcome. Ask to see which category your prospective hotel falls into.
7) Do they have referrals to dog-related services nearby?
If you decide to visit an attraction that is not open to dogs, you may want to take your dog to a doggie daycare rather than leave him alone in the hotel. A truly dog-friendly accommodation will be able to provide referrals for this and other dog-related services, plus dog-friendly restaurants and attractions.
Dog Friendly Hotel Chains
Now, let's take a look at some chains. Many hotels allow dogs on the property, but the three chains listed below seem to have the most accommodating pet policies. For each one, I randomly called a location to ask their specific policies. Here’s what I found.
La Quinta Inn And Suites – According to their website, La Quinta allows pets at all but 4 of their locations. I called one randomly and they had no limit on size, breed, or number of pets in a room. The only additional fee was a refundable deposit. Their policies vary by location, so make sure you call the location you’re thinking of visiting.
Choice Hotels – Their brands include Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Clarion, and more. They boast 2,600 pet-friendly hotels, more than any other brand I saw. Each property sets their own policies; the one I talked to was not pet-friendly but they referred me to one in a nearby city. That one had a non-refundable fee of $15 per pet, no limit on pets per room, and no limits on breed or size.
Marriott – Many Marriott hotels and resorts are pet-friendly. Their site’s search feature makes it fairly easy to identify pet-friendly hotels under their brand. I called a random location to ask their policy. The location I spoke to has no restrictions on size or breed, but caps allowance at 2 pets and requires a $75 non-refundable fee. Like La Quinta and Choice, policy varies by location so be sure to call the property.
There are plenty of options in dog-friendly hotels, ranging from basic motels to high-end resorts. Still, there’s no way to avoid doing a little legwork to make sure your dog will be welcome. Even the friendliest chains vary by location, so make sure your dog is welcome before you walk into the lobby with your bags.
- Some cities and counties have bans on specific breeds. A hotel connected to the dog community can tell you of any breed bans.
- Make sure your dog is a good representative of traveling dogs. Make sure your dog is socialized, pick up after your dog, and shatter the stereotypes of large dogs or specific breeds being bad.
- Be prepared. If your dog is new to traveling, an anxiety-relieving thunder coat for dogs will help him stay calm through new situations. If something happens when you're away from your regular vet, dog first aid kits allow you to provide care to your dog until you track down a nearby vet.
If you're looking for dog friendly hotel chains, start with the three listed above. Ask questions to make sure that you know what to expect for a smooth, happy trip. The more prepared you are, the more you and Fido will enjoy your vacation together.
Are you planning a trip with your dog? Check out the links above for products to make your trip to smoothly.
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Photo credit: Paul Downey