Just How Friendly Are “Pet-Friendly” Hotels?

“Pet-friendly” is a term we hear a lot these days.

We see it used to describe all sorts of public spaces, from businesses, to restaurants, to hotels. Unfortunately for pet owners, there’s not a universal definition of pet-friendly. Individual businesses interpret it differently, meaning that there are differing degrees of “friendly.” This is especially important to keep in mind if you plan to travel with your pets.

So, before you hit the road with your non human companions, there are a few questions you need to ask the staff at the “pet-friendly” hotel where you plan to stay.

What’s the pet policy?
You’ve chosen a pet-friendly hotel, so, having already established that pets are allowed, you now need to get to the nuts and bolts of what that means. Ask the hotel exactly what its pet policy is.

Most hotels will present you with the policy in writing when you check in, and have you sign it. Read the fine print. It would be a bummer to sign it blindly and then find yourself facing an arm and a leg’s worth of fees because you missed something in the policy’s particulars.

Examples of things to look for here are: Are pets allowed on the furniture? What happens if my dog starts barking when I’m not in my room?

What will it cost me?
Most hotels will charge some sort of fee if you plan to bring your pets. Make sure you ask how much you’ll be charged, whether the fees are per pet, and if there’s a refundable security deposit required at check-in.

How many pets can I bring?
Obviously, this is only an issue if you’re traveling with more than one pet. If so, make sure you find out what the hotel’s restrictions are regarding the number of pets allowed per guest.

Are there breed or species restrictions?
Don’t forget to ask about breed and/or species restrictions, if any, before you make your reservation. This is just one more bit of legwork that will save you a huge headache at check-in if it turns out the hotel you’ve chosen doesn’t allow the type of pet you have.

Can you recommend support personnel?
Your pets shouldn’t be left unattended in your hotel room. So, if you know you’re going to be away from your room for extended periods of time, you’ll want to ask the hotel staff if they can recommend pet sitters and/or dog walkers to fill in the gaps.

By asking just a few questions before you make your reservation, you’ll be well on your way to finding the friendliest possible pet-friendly hotel for you and your furred and feathered traveling companions.