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5 tips For Staying in Hotels with Your Dog

Good dogs make great travel companions, and great hotel guests.

Good dogs don’t shred toilet paper (looking at you, Pika), they don’t have “accidents”, they don’t bark uncontrollably, they don’t get drunk and rowdy, and they are friendly towards other dogs (and humans). Great dogs are of course trained by great humans. We are ultimately responsible for ensuring the hotel stay is enjoyable for all (more and less hairy) parties involved!

Hotel, dog travel, travel with dogs,  dog friendly dogs and wine
Pika in New York City.

Pika and I have stayed in hotels across the US and Europe; in all seasons, on different occasions, and we loved every single trip! (Note: this post is mostly focused on the US, but we are planning a similar post for Europe in the future.)

We want to share 5 most important tips about bringing your best fur-friend along on your holiday, to a hotel, hostel, AirBnB…you get the idea.

1. Plan ahead

This involves choosing the right hotel for you, as well as making sure your dog is ready to travel. When picking a hotel, carefully check their pet policies and contact the hotel in advance if the policies are ambiguous or not stated on the hotel website. Many hotels, while dog friendly, may charge a high (nightly) fee for your fur-friends, have specific weight/breed restrictions, or other strict rules that may not work for you. Additionally, some hotels may be located on busy streets, with little or no grassy areas for potty breaks – again something you should consider. As far as dog-readiness goes, make sure your pup is up to date on vaccinations, and depending on the destination also on flea control, and heartworm medication. (You can find a map of heartworm incidence in the US here). Even if your dog doesn’t usually wear ID tags, they should during travel.

Each dog ID tag should contain your pet’s name and your telephone number at the minimum. For any travel abroad, a microchip is essential as well, but we advise everyone to microchip their dog anyway, as a registered microchip gives lost pets the best chance of returning home.

NYC, Manhattan, California dog, dog travel, bandana
Pika in New York City

2. Inspect the room and make Fido feel at home

Once you are checked in, make sure to inspect every nook and cranny of the room before you let your dog off leash. Check for any dangerous items in the room itself, and anything previous guests may have left behind on the floor, such as pills, papers, or food.

Some hotels provide dog bowls, beds, and even toys, but you should always bring a few items that smell like your dog’s home with you, to make them feel comfortable.

We always bring our own collapsible travel bowls, as well as these useful water-travel bowls, along with some toys, a small blanket, and a pet-carrier that also serves as Pika’s safe place to rest if she feels like it. (We love the Sleepypod, but more on pet carriers in an upcoming blog). Make sure tap water is drinkable, or better even – stock up on filtered or bottled water for yourself and your dog.

kimpton, dog friendly, santa barbara, hotels with dog, travel, california, goleta, goodland
Pika at the Kimpton Goodland, Goleta.

3. Potty outside, pawty inside.

This is pretty obvious, but cannot be overstated. If your pup still has accidents inside, they are probably not the best hotel-dog material, and should be left at home until they are fully potty trained. (Unless they are trained to use pee pads/wee-wee pads). Most dog friendly hotels will have a separate pet relief area outside, but never forget to bring plenty of poop bags. (Biodegradable poop bags are the way to go).

4. Full time barkers?

You may be used to your Fido or Lili barking their little lungs out every time they see a bird, or hear a car, but other hotel guests may not be enthusiastic about it. Even dogs that usually don’t bark may get overstimulated or anxious while in a new environment. We always request a room far from the elevator (or the ice machine) in order for Pika not to get upset with too many people walking by. That said, we only leave her alone in a hotel room when allowed, and for very short periods of time (up to an hour). We also travel with a cheap doggie camera that lets us check up on her, and even talk to her.

It’s always a good idea to leave you phone number at the front desk when you leave your dog alone in the room, in case your dog gets noisy.

Keeping the “do not disturb sign” on the door when you are away is another good way of making sure nobody tries to enter your room and thereby disturb your dog. Note that some hotels will not let you leave a dog in the room unattended at all, or will allow it only if the dog is crated, so check with the hotel beforehand. (If your dog isn’t crate trained already, please do not attempt to crate the dog for the first time when they are in a hotel. Crate training takes time, and should be done gradually, in a familiar environment).

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Pika's and Pearl's slumber party at the Mondrian LA.

5. Squeaky Clean!

If your pooch is anything like mine, they will sleep in the bed. Sometimes on a separate blanket, but let’s be honest - usually snuggled up right next to us on the covers. To avoid having to bathe Pika in the hotel bathroom, we always stock up on dog-wipes, and use them after every outing. If it’s rainy or particularly dirty outside, we also make Pika wear her pawz boots, which are excellent for short walks, and keep most of the dirt and water, away.

dog boots, dog raincoat, rain, dog outfit, pawz boots
Pika in Pawz boots. Not happy. :)

We hope these five tips help you and your pup get ready for your next adventure!For more information about dog travel, check this blog. And if you're up for a weekend adventure with us, we are hosting a dog-friendly wine tasting retreat in Santa Barbara County in February 2019 - and would love you to join!

Do you have your own tips or trick for more comfortable time hotel-ing it with your dog? Let us know in comments, or contact us!


Nadja & Pika


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