9 Things That Make a Hotel Genuinely Pet Friendly

Last week, I cited statistics about the increase of people traveling with pets, and quoted from the American Pet Products Association (APPA) about signs of pet friendliness in lodgings:

Many hotels across the country are adopting pet-friendly policies. Several chains have announced new pet-friendly policies that include everything from oversized pet pillows and plush doggie robes to check-in gift packages that include a pet toy, dog treat, ID tag, bone and turn down treat. Some even have a licensed dog masseuse on staff.

Sorry, APPA. That’s not pet friendliness. It’s PR.

For hotels that have genuinely pet friendly policies, such perks show the public how much they care about animals; they’re the icing on the cake. For those that don’t — and, on a rough guess, I’d estimate that would be 95% of hotels in this country (I’ll try to verify this data) — they’re just a tease.

At a svelte 10 pounds, Frankie is accepted at every hotel that lays a claim to pet-friendliness. As a result, we got to check out a lot of different types of pet perks. Indeed, before he got diabetes, Frankie was a travel slut. He was always accepting freebies –  not only rooms, but also a variety of gifts and services.

He was unimpressed.

Frankie wouldn’t play with most of the toys he was given, no matter how high quality, and he turned his nose up at most of the treats. At one resort that only accepted pets weighing less than 15 pounds, Frankie was gifted with a gourmet dog biscuit that was bigger than his head. This was not a smart business decision on the part of the hotel. Any resident dog that was permitted — or managed — to eat the entire item would probably have puked all over the rug.

At another resort, Frankie got an in-room massage — which he clearly considered inappropriate touching.  He tolerated it on one side of his body, but refused to allow the masseuse access to his other extremities. If you think a 10 pound pup can’t make his wishes known, you’ve never seen terriers dig in.

Room service menus? Not only are portion sizes far too large for diminutive dogs, but most people — at least the savvy ones — don’t experiment with their dogs’ diet while on vacation.

So what does make a hotel pet friendly in my opinion?

1 Accepting multiple pets of any size. Setting the limit at two seems reasonable to me, but size restrictions are senseless. I’ve seen hotel policies that permit “two dogs that weigh a total of up to 50 pounds.” Two Jack Russell terriers in a room vs, say, a greyhound and a Great Dane? I’ll take  180 plus pounds of  canine couch potato against a pair of whirling dervishes any time.

2. Not charging an arm or a leg for the privilege of having your pets share your room. The notion that you should have to pay more because of extra cleaning is absurd. Deep cleaning — which would include removal of pet hair — is standard in most hotels (and in those where it is not, dog detritus would be the least of their problems). A refundable damage deposit is reasonable, as it would be, in my opinion, for most humans. Who would be more likely to trash a hotel room:  Two St. Bernards or Charlie Sheen?

Those are my top two requirements, the minimum that hotels should do to be considered genuinely pet friendly by me. The other seven are on my wish list.

3. It doesn’t impose dumb rules that most people can’t follow, even if they wanted to. One lovely hotel where Frankie and I stayed had a rule that pets must sleep on the floor, not on the bed. The hotel provided a cushy pet pillow that Frankie was supposed to snooze on to make that feasible. Frankie didn’t even deign to look at the item until I put it up on my bed. Did I sign a paper agreeing to the restriction? Sure. I knew there weren’t going to be any midnight dog-in-bed checks (and if there were, Frankie would be at the door barking and I could quickly slip the dog pillow — which Frankie wasn’t using anyway — on the floor).

My ex-husband used to joke that he liked motels because he could blow his nose in the sheets if he wanted to. Not that he did — that’s not why he’s my ex — but Frankie would never think of using the bed as a bodily fluid repository unless he was very, very ill.

4. It offers designated pet walking areas with waste disposal bags. Why not make it easy for pet owners to be responsible?

5. It has rooms set aside on the first floor. Lots of dogs, including Frankie, don’t like elevators or staircases that have slats in them that let you see through to the ground — a popular feature at many motels.

6. Its pet friendly rooms are not also smoking rooms. Sorry, but dog smells — if they exist at all; Frankie isn’t the slightest bit malodorous and, like most other peripatetic pups, knows better than to go the bathroom indoors — don’t literally sink into the fabric like smoke does.

7. It has a pet-educated staff. By this I mean a staff that is trained not to approach your dog without asking you first. And if the staff member does approach without permission, it is a careful, exploratory hand sniff, not a turn over on your back and scratch your stomach (yes, this happened to us; Frankie is no biter, but I believe he would have been justified in this case).

8. It offers pet sitting/dog walking services by experts, not just moonlighting hotel bellhops or waiters.

9. It provides information on local resources. Vets, dog-friendly hiking trails, groomers, places to buy high-quality dog food…. Why not compile this information from pet-owning staff or friends of staff and have it available at the front desk?

Can you think of other useful  (as opposed to frilly) amenities that would make a hotel stay better for you and your pet?

Accountability moment: I’ve been really busy with assignments — and life — and was tempted not to give my all to this post. But commitment to the project is what public accountability is about, so I ended up focusing and writing something new that will definitely be part of the book. I’m also hoping to elicit responses from others about what makes hotels pet friendly for them.

Also — writing this post put me in touch with my inner geek, bringing to mind several things I want to research for other chapters of the book: How many more people are likely to be allergic to pet hair than they are to smoke? to perfume? Is it really more difficult to clean pet hair — or any hair — from a hotel room/airline seat than it is to clean up other types of allergens?

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53 Comments

  1. Posted February 1, 2011 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    This is a great list and I wholeheartedly agree–especially with not making pets stay in smoking rooms. That’s been a real deal breaker for me.

    I’d add one more–put the pet friendly rooms at the end of a hall, preferably near a quiet entrance. I remember being given a room right next to the elevator and ice machine where every loud clank tested our “quiet” command to the limits.

    Providing pet rooms in a quiet part of the hotel will ensure everyone gets a better night’s sleep.

    Oh and as for dogs being on the bed–am I the only dog person who travels with an old sheet from home to cover the bedspread? I don’t sleep with my dogs at night but I’d be a fool if I didn’t think they were on the bed the second I left the room.

    BTW, as soon as you have a pre-purchase list for your book, let us know. I want to reserve my book.
    Pamela recently posted..The Puppiness Project – Wake Up EarlyMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 1, 2011 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Pamela — that “pre-purchase” list part is music to my ears!

      And I like your addition very much. With Frankie, it’s people walking by when I’m in the room that sets him off (I’ve tested it; he’s perfectly quiet when I’m outside and just walk by). Having a room at the end of a hall would solve that problem too.

  2. Posted February 1, 2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Love, Love, Love your list. Not a single item I’d take exception to. The list is more like necessities (than amenities) if a hotel wants to label itself as being pet friendly. What I don’t like are the amenities (which some people consider to be necessities) that some hotels provide … dog bowls, beds, treat packages, spa packages, a doggie menu. We’re not interested in any of those items for Ty and Buster, and I certainly don’t want to have to pay for them.

    BTW, I would never have someone from the hotel, or even an outside service, walk our dogs. Just way too uncomfortable having “strangers” handle Ty and Buster. I’m probably being paranoid, and the dogs would be just fine, but their walks are my chance to be outside with the boys, see the city, and get some exercise.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 1, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Rod! I was hoping to get your seal of approval. I don’t mind the bowls being available — people who are traveling by air might not want to haul those along — but the rest of the stuff is pure fluff.

      I agree with you about the dog walking — no way Frankie would walk with a stranger — but I like the idea of having it be an option for people who want to go to a restaurant and have someone exercise their dogs in the meantime.

  3. Posted February 1, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Just added your blog to my blog list and am SO glad. I let hotels and motels know I only stay in truly pet friendly ones whether or not I have a dog. I know one local motel whose evening manager, the moment I stepped across the threshold with my late Pit Bull, was almost shouting, we don’t allow dogs, we don’t allow dogs. What if I needed someone to call 911? I only wanted to ask a question about a reservation – which I promptly canceled after taking Spanky back to my car.
    I will share this list. It is awesome. Thank you.
    Roberta Beach recently posted..Trial RunMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 1, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Roberta, for your nice words — and good for you for canceling your reservation. The more people let hotels know how they feel about accepting pets, the more they’ll change their policies. It’s a no-brainer that if you want occupancy you want to allow pets.

  4. Posted February 1, 2011 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Agree 100% with 1, 2, and 3 … my monkeys are often considered TOO big for most hotels, and Lilly only weighs 35 pounds.

    What about the rule about NOT leaving dogs alone in the room, even if they are crated? I get that barking might be a problem, but if a dog is crate trained, I don’t see why this would be an issue. You could put the Do Not Disturb sign out so that no one would barge in a freak the dogs out.
    Champion of My Heart recently posted..Lilly’s Herding Lesson 1- Part 2My Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 1, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Yes, I agree — not leaving dogs alone in the room is of those rules that few people obey because it’s irrational. Frankie doesn’t use a crate but never barks when I’m not in the room so I always leave the Do Not Disturb sign out when he’s not with me — or try to get the room done when we plan to be out. I don’t really care about turn down — hey, I sleep with a dog — and if I want more towels I can always get them delivered individually.

    • Posted February 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      As the GM of a dog-friendly B&B in Savannah, I can say that we follow 8/9 of these (we don’t have a dog-walking/sitting staff – our property is too small to warrant this). We do not have a weight limit (heck – we’ve found that the bigger dogs are often far better behaved – read: less barking and are well trained – than smaller dogs).

      About the “take the dog with you” rule – it isn’t so much for the comfort of the staff as it is for the comfort of the guests in the surrounding rooms. A “do not disturb” sign isn’t going to help when it comes to a dog that is barking just for the heck of it and disturbing the rooms on the floor (or the entire house). A compromise to the rule would be to have pet owners leave a cell phone number that they can be reached on with the staff so that if the dog does begin to disrupt other guests’ enjoyment/comfort the owners can be notified to return to deal with the dog.
      Maianne Preble recently posted..15 Minutes Away on Foot- Dine at 700 DraytonMy Profile

      • Edie Jarolim
        Posted February 1, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Thank you so much for contributing to this discussion! It’s wonderful to get the perspective of the innkeeper/hotelier.

        As it happens, Frankie’s sometimes dog trainer posed the same solution to the problem of leaving the dog in the room as you note as a compromise — only in her case it was wishful thinking. That is, she said that being a cell phone call away from dealing with your dog would be very reasonable and a good solution for both parties. I agree.

  5. Posted February 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Terrific post! Wonderful list. I’ve not traveled with Sadie, yet, but I did with my last dog long before so-called hotel pet friendliness was in vogue. Dog has to sleep on the floor? Ha! Morgan was as snuggle-bunny and her place was in the bed.

    My first reaction to all those “perks” the APPA is touting are for people, not dogs. Like Frankie, what dog want’s a stranger feeling them all over in a strange place? And a robe? That’s nuts. I like big fluffy robes but I think Sadie would not. A spa session? Are they nuts? What dog enjoys being bathed and having their toe-nails trimmed?

    It seems to me that unfortunately much “pet-friendliness” plays into the worst aspects of anthropomorphizing. My dog is like me and therefore likes what I like and enjoys what I find enjoyable. Robes? Massages? Spa moments? NOT.

    Your list is right on: Pet-friendliness from a pet’s point of view and that of a pet owner-who-doesn’t-commit-the-worst-sins-of-anthropomorphzing.

    I’ll let you know if I think of something else.
    Deborah Flick recently posted..Adopt this Awesomely Adoptable Dog- Shelby!My Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Deborah. I think that you’re right about the anthropomorphizing and the gearing these perks towards humans – humans who don’t know much about dogs. It goes along with the size limit and, I guess you could call it, a kind of sizeism, the notion that small dogs aren’t real dogs anyway and who wants those big doggy dogs in a hotel room anyway.

      I have no problem with pet massage if it’s done in the context of sore muscles and training the owner to provide the treatment. That rarely happens at a hotel, however.

  6. Posted February 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Great list indeed, all the other things are PR.
    Having two oversized dogs we are definitely not welcome in many so-called pet friendly places (happily we found one that is very good, and we return time after time:).

    Your call for educated staff is a very important one. It would make such a big difference if staff would know better what they were doing than just bending over and tapping their head, in all best intentions.
    Kenzo_HW recently posted..Bryta the Hovawart going winter crazyMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      If hotels only knew how much loyalty they could achieve by instituting really pet friendly policies — and how easy it is — they would all be doing it! But there’s so much ignorance.

      Ah yes, the head tap — the standard approach for people who know nothing about dogs!

  7. Posted February 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    What a great GREAT list! I totally agree with the you on the absurd PR tactics at the top. Dog massages, my big toe. A doggie swimming pool and sandpit would be more relaxing!

    Your must-have list is awesomely sensible! We haven’t gone on a holiday with the dogs for a long time, since Rufus got ill. But I used to get so tired of pet-friendly places saying “only small dogs allowed”. Thats probably around 90% of places. As some other people here have pointed out, many big dogs are quite placid and just find a corner (usually under your feet or in the middle of the floor) and go to sleep. Anyway, when did weight become a measure of good behavior?

    Here in Australia, many places also have a proviso that the dog must be well behaved. What the hell does THAT mean? Talk about being subjective! Better to put out a list of definite must nots…like barking all day, digging up the rose bushes, chasing the sheep, eating small children, etc. Then at least, we know for sure!
    georgia little pea recently posted..Hot dogsMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Oooh, the vagueness of the term “well-behaved” is a good one to add to my list. We have that term in many hotels here too. Speaking of child devouring, I believe it’s illegal in the U.S. for hotels to turn away people with children but can you imagine if it wasn’t and you had to define kiddie behavior in those terms.

  8. Posted February 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Great list. I love your idea of pet friendly hotels having a list of area attractions, dog parks, beaches, trails etc and pet supplies stores on hand. Also clearly listed places where they want you to walk the dog. One item that would be really thoughtful is for the staff to leave a towel or two in the room that is specifically for dogs … towels that aren’t going to be used for people anymore, that can be left at the door so you can wipe their feet and towel them off. We always bring our own towels, but that would be a real treat… way more appreciated than doggie massages… that’s just weird!
    Ruff Toy Reviews recently posted..In Defense of Cesar MillanMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 1, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      I like the dog towel idea — and it would be an excellent example of recycling.

  9. Posted February 1, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I think you covered my suggestions pretty well.
    I once had a terrier cross named Jessie. One night we stayed at a motel – I won’t say where – but the walls were quite thin. The couple next door were “making love” with great energy and sounds, and Jessie barked at every moan and cry. I was laughing too hard to do anything about it!

    There is a hotel in Victoria BC that has a resident dog to greet guests. I think those people who are homesick and missing their dogs can also take him for a walk.
    Barbara and Daisy recently posted..Mayzies BlogaversaryMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      That’s hysterical about your dog!

      There are actually lots of hotels that have “pet ambassadors” or “pet concierges”; some even have their own email addresses! Some of these hotels are not pet friendly, at least not by my definition of size acceptance. Hmmm, maybe I’ll add that to my list: Don’t have a pet in the hotel unless I can bring mine, of any size. No substitutes accepted!

  10. Posted February 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    perfect list! I whole-heartedly agree with it, plus with what people are saying in the comments. I travel with my 2 dogs a LOT and even though I generally request a QUIET room on the 1st floor near a quiet entrance, those requests are more than not often ignored and we are made to stay in one of their designated pet rooms, which often means: 2nd class at best. And don’t get me started on the smoking room thing!

  11. Posted February 1, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I did quite a lot of traveling with Jersey for craft shows and dog shows. While I didn’t mind being put in a smoking room, since I am a smoker, I DID have problems with the pet fees. Some chains like Holiday Inn and Best Western didn’t charge me a fee, but there was one hole in the wall Days Inn in Chicago that charged me a $20 per day fee! Serioulsy, I wore my shoes in the room the entire time I was there so I doubt that they “deep cleaned” the room after Jersey and I left.
    Karen Friesecke recently posted..Dog A Day Project – Everything’s Coming Up RainbowsMy Profile

  12. Susan
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Love, love, love the list and Frankie’s good sense. Another comment on pet walkers though — we worked way too hard for way to long get to really nice leash walking; no way is anyone going to walk Molly who might in any way mess that up. And no way I am I going to leave her with a pet sitter I have not observed or checked references on. So, might be hard to get me down that path (Molly, on the other hand, has yet to meet a creature she did not like — she is way more flexible on this than I am.) Re: trained staff — might also be nice to help the dog-phobic learn what to do. I’ve had servers refuse to come to my table (in fear of my 17 lb fluff bomb with the wagging tail).

  13. Posted February 1, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like you’re leagues ahead of us in Australia. :( I am lucky to find any accommodation that will allow my 6kg and crated dogs inside, let alone roaming around inside or any other quirks.

    Indeed, I am almost as lucky to find accommodation that allows my dog to be in the car in the car park!
    Tegan recently posted..Understanding Anti-DogMy Profile

  14. Posted February 1, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Great list. I think hotels need to realize that I will choose to use them even when I’m NOT traveling with my dog simply because I appreciate them if they are indeed pet friendly. I’m awfully sick of the extra fees tacked onto my stays when I go to dog shows, especially considering we spend almost no time in the actual room and my dogs are squeaky clean.
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  15. Posted February 2, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Oooh, number 6 is probably number 1 on my list! I only have one, small (16 pounds) dog, so I never have to worry about the size limits, but I do have asthma, and smoke sets it off something awful.

    Great list though. I’ve travelled to trials, and I definitely look for places with with nice potty walking areas (google’s street view is often helpful for this), low/no pet fees, and first floor access are all important to us.
    Crystal recently posted..Positive Training- More Than Just Ignoring the BadMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 2, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      It never occurred to me to check potty walking areas via Google’s street views — great tip, thanks!

  16. Posted February 2, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Great list! One thing I would add is a grassy area outdoors for the dog to go to the bathroom. Having to poo in the parking lot is not so nice. And poopy bags so guests can pick up after their pets.

    I agree that the size requirement is a downer. My 60# collie is so quiet and well-mannered (as you well know!) And of course we had to sneak the cat in …

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 2, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t realize you had to sneak your cat in. Hmmm… I’m covering cat travel too and assumed cats were treated as small dogs. I’ll have to pick your (and Maribeth’s and many cat bloggers) brains about that.

  17. Posted February 2, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Love the list and completely agree when it comes to unnecessary amenities… No matter how sophisticated the kid is, he will hardly ever be swayed by a dog bed, treats or massages if he is not already used to it.
    Although Stevie is not as much a seasoned traveler as Mr Phoo was, we plan on getting him to be once he understands to use his inside voice more often.
    We have had great & not so great experiences in hotels – nothing made Phoo happier than entering a hotel room. Go figure…. We did sneak him into a bunch of non-pet friendly hotels when needed shhhhhhh!!!
    But (without naming names – we will share, if it is ok with you), we did have some amazing experiences at some great places:
    - First is an incredibly cool hotel in Montreal that treated our little guy like royalty. The staff genuinely loved dogs & even volunteered to have Mr Phoo stay at the front desk with them if we wanted to go out at night (we did not, but the gesture alone made us love them forever);
    - Second is a hip hotel chain in which both Miami hotels proved to be truly dog friendly by not imposing areas for a well behaved dog. As long as he did not jump in it, lounging on the pool side was completely acceptable – it was kind of expected! The link is a photo from Phoo’s 16th birthday at one of them http://www.productbycanine.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/phoobythepool16thbday.jpg
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    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 2, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      By all means, share — we’re all about celebrating great, pet-friendly places. Love that picture of Mr. Phoo; he sure knows how to relax by a pool.

  18. EmilyS
    Posted February 3, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    great list; agree 100%.
    A pet peeve of mine is that the “usual suspects” of really pet friendly motels generally WONT reserve a 1st floor room for you ahead of time. You can request one, but unless you check in early enough, you won’t get one.

  19. Posted February 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Hi Y’all,

    Catchin’ up with y’all.

    Since I’m a big guy SIZE is my pet peeve. Not making Non-smoking rooms available to us is also a pet peeve ’cause my Human Mama gets sick from smoke and the smell is NASTY. The exorbitant charges ’cause I’m big really sets my Human Papa off.

    Some of the favorite places and hotels my Humans like won’t take dogs of any size…My Humans like to stay at Hiltons, but many won’t accept me, especially waterfront locations. If the Humans do stay in a waterfront hotel, they want a waterfront room, not to be stuck in the back someplace. We should be allowed to stay in any room that is available, not stuck someplace ’cause we’re dogs, or I am anyway.

    If a dog is afraid of elevators, then his owners should be able to request a first floor room. Hey, my Human Mama is afraid of heights and gets vertigo and nausea in those glass elevators and dizzy on steps that have no back. So you doggies aren’t alone!

    My Humans always carry baggies for cleanup, lint rollers, baby wipes for my paws and quick cleanups if necessary and my food, water and bowls. They also bring my bed from my crate inside for me to sleep on a familiar place. I do see how if we were all flying somewhere that having such things available through the hotel might be nice.

    Okay, you’ve got my thoughts, where’s my treat?
    Hawk aka BrownDog
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  20. Posted February 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    This is such a great post, and I agree with all your points (the big point I’d add — taking your cell phone number and calling if your dog, left behind during a dinner outing, is disturbing other guests — was covered well by Roxanne and Maianne). The only perks I can think of adding are hotel rooms where the human goodies (extra soaps, etc.) haven’t been left out at dog snatching>>chewing height — and bed platforms that go all the way to the ground, so your dog’s toys don’t roll underneath. I’ve spent more time than I’d like to think about on hotel room floors, face pressed into the part of the carpet that NEVER gets vacuumed, retrieving Chloe’s toys….
    Mary-Alice recently posted..Photo Friday- Chloe and the haircutMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 5, 2011 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Good points about stuff not being left at dog-height, Mary Alice. Frankie can be very undoglike, i.e., doesn’t chew stuff — except tissues! — that are not edible, so I sometimes lose sight of genuinely doggie behavior.

      I think all hotel beds should extend to the floor. I guess that makes the room harder to clean but, like you say, since the underneath are so often NOT cleaned it’s frightening to have to go there…

  21. Posted February 4, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Great list! I travel to show my dogs so dog-friendly hotels are a must – my dogs are used to travelling and for the most part quiet in crates, and the numerical limits and per-dog charges can really be annoying, especially when the reason I’m travelling IS the dogs and a good portion of the day we are all out of the room, and if we’re going cross country we’re staying one night and out early the next morning.

    Re: the “PR Perks” one of my dogs had an unplanned surgery (ear tear) right before my husband and I were going to a conference and I did not want to leave her in the kennel as we originally planned. I remembered reading that Sheratons had all gone Pet Friendly (this was in 2006) so I called the hotel and sure enough, they accepted dogs. When we checked in they offered us a down dog bed which I’m certain Anna would have shredded with glee, “No Thanks, we brought our own”

    One thing they offered which I really did appreciate was a reasonable “half day” rate for a very late check out (It was under $50 for a pricey downtown Toronto Sheraton) that allowed us to leave her in the room on the final day of the conference so we didn’t have to worry about her in a coat check or other insecure place; as she is not of a temperament to sit quietly in lecture sessions. For my usual travels to dog shows this isn’t an issue since the dogs are full participants in what I’m doing, but for a more “normal” vacation trip it was very nice.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 5, 2011 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Yup, the whole concept of dog-friendly meaning special — read: shreddable — items needs to be revised. And you’re right, being allowed to leave a pet in a room for half a day at a reduced fee is genuinely useful — and smart on the hotel’s part. It’s the type of thing that engenders loyalty.

  22. Posted February 5, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Love this post! I’m thinking about printing it out and leaving it behind after all of my hotel stays! My husband and I travel to the Bruce Peninsula on Lake Huron each summer to visit family. After years of staying in nasty motel rooms, we bought a cottage! We rent it out on the weeks we don’t use it and we do allow pets! It is smoke free and clean! Lead by example! :)
    Laura recently posted..What’s in a NameMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Good for you for taking matters into your own hands. Hotels need to get with the program; otherwise better pet friendly lodgings will spring up to compete with them.

      By all means, print out the piece and leave it; I would love to help hotels to get a clue.

  23. Posted February 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this great post…and thanks for your kind words for Bocci:-) Whatever Frankie and Bocci are made of, they’re both adorable!
    We’re off to add you to our blogroll-if you’re so inclined, we’d be honored to be on yours!
    Joan DeMartin recently posted..Saturday Blog Hop And Dogs Who Sniff Out CancerMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Joan. I hope that more hotels get on board with the program.

      And am just getting round to refreshing my blogroll — I’ll definitely add you.

  24. Posted February 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Great post! We often go to a B&B a few hours from here that offers great hiking, beaches and other outdoor activites and their dog wash, pup towel service and complimentary grooming supplies are always appreciated. It makes it that much easier to travel knowing that after a messy day out there is a bath, a brush and a dremel at my disposal should we need it.
    Kolchak Puggle recently posted..No Pain- No GrainMy Profile

  25. Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Great list, Edie! I was going to add something mentioned briefly above, which is for more hotels to allow cats. (If you’d like some statistics, I can provide you with the percentage of pet friendly hotels listed on our site that allow cats but I would estimate that it’s less than one-third.) I’d also encourage hotels to keep their pet fees reasonable. I attempted to make a reservation at a hotel in Minneapolis last summer and was told that the pet fee was $100 per stay – regardless if you were only staying one night!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      I had no clue that cats were treated differently than small dogs. I mean, I know that cats are different; I just didn’t realize that hotels discriminated against them.

      I would love the statistics.

  26. Posted February 9, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Great blog. I just found it through Google alerts. The list is perfect. I might also add access to common areas. Often times, especially in B&Bs and inns, dogs are not welcome in many of the nice places that make the property worth staying at – like the fireplaced library, the gardens, or even the lobby! It’s always good to ask before you book. A comprehensive, easy to locate pet policy on the lodging’s website is also helpful. Just the tone of it alone tells you a lot about just how pet-friendly the place really is.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Oh, that’s a good one Jane — what good is a roaring fire without a dog at your feet?

      Just curious: What’s the Google alert term that sent this to you? I’m not always very SEO savvy so I’d love to know what I hit on by accident!

      • Posted February 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Hi Edie –

        I bet it was dog or pet-friendly since my alerts are all dog-friendly travel related.

  27. Posted March 26, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Great blog, Edie. I’ve added it to my own blog roll.

    Don’t even get me started on the “pet owners get the smoking room” thing. My partner and I took our golden and lab on a trip from Boston to Ohio last summer, and we stayed at an absolutely disgusting Econo Lodge in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Even though I specifically requested a non-smoking room (I can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke), they put us in a smoking one–I presume because of the dogs. A lot of times when we travel, we actually end up camping, which is a lot of fun, but sometimes setting up a tent every night gets tiresome.

    The rule that you can’t leave dogs alone in a hotel room is a pain, although I understand the logic behind it. Sort of. I like the idea that a previous poster presented regarding leaving a cell phone number with management in case your dog is being disruptive. Also, a refundable deposit would be so much nicer than the standard $20 fee per dog per night.

    Traveling with your pets is a blast, but it can certainly be difficult. For example, when we stopped in Philadelphia en route to Ohio, we wanted to visit some of the landmarks or take a bus or trolley tour, but we couldn’t because we had the dogs. It was ninety degrees out, and we certainly weren’t going to leave them in the car. We actually ended up taking a horse-drawn carriage tour around the historical district. The gentleman who drove the buggy was extremely friendly, and Connor and Bailey just sat next to us and took in the sights.

  28. Linda
    Posted April 18, 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Wow…all great posts, and a great blog too. I travel with my two Lhasa’s often and it’s useless to tell them not to bark. That’s what Tibetan Lion dogs do. They were originally a gift to the Dalai Lama to keep in his bedroom to warn of strangers approaching. Yep, that’s what they do alright. So I have to take them with me where I go and then they are good as gold and rarely bark when I am with them unless someone gets in their face.

    My biggest pet peeve (if you will pardon the pun), is the non refundable $20 per pet per night fee. I agree with you and other posters that this should be refunded upon checkout if the room vacated appears to be clean and smell free. After all, hotels allow children and babies, don’t they? How many rooms have to be cleaned of dirty diapers and sticky finger messes? Those parents don’t get charged a cleaning fee per child. And if we’re talking about noise, how about the incessant crying and screaming that issues forth from the mouths of babes? I can’t recall how many times I have had sleep disturbed because of their kind of noise. Let’s put them on a special floor. Come to that, let’s make airlines put them under the plane with the baggage too. My two are too large to fit under the seat, but they would be good as gold if they got to sit in the seat next to me.

  29. Josh
    Posted May 20, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Love this post! I have always hated how unfriendly hotels, beaches and trails truly are to pets. We have two big boys, the biggest baby Tank weighs in around 150+ (scale wont read any higher) and the other Oden is a 100 pounder. Both think they are lap dogs and the sweetest things ever. They have to be because we have a toddler. Hotels are never typically on our list of places to stay just because I cant afford to nor would I pay dog fees higher than my room rental. We camp. Our veterinarian has offices located nation wide so we never feel as if we need to worry. Camping is cheaper and the dogs have way more fun on the trails and at the lake than they ever would in a hotel.

  30. Margaret
    Posted October 11, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    What is your recourse when a pet-friendly hotel accidentally lets your dog loose and you lose the pet?

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted October 11, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      First — I’m so sorry to hear it. That must be terrible for you. As far as recourse — that would depend on the circumstances. A lot of hotels require you to keep your pets in a crate when you’re not in the room, asking you to sign a statement to that effect, just for eventualities like this one. Some require you never to leave your pet in the room at all. A lot of times it’s in the small print. I would suspect, if you didn’t sign any such statement, it would come down to property laws because that’s legally what dogs are, no matter how much we perceive them as members of the family.

6 Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heather Turner, Claiborne House B&B. Claiborne House B&B said: RT @forfeng: RT @RodBurkert: Great post for pet travel and travelers: What Makes a Hotel Pet Friendly – http://bit.ly/dLR1F1 [via @WillM ... [...]

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  5. [...] few weeks ago on her blog Will My Dog Hate Me?, Edie Jarolim wrote about the pet amenities some hotels have begun to offer. Her conclusion was [...]

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