Pet-Friendly Travel:
Understanding Pet Policies

Pet-Friendly Hotel - Policies Many accommodations advertise that they are "pet-friendly". Although they allow pets, lodgings all have pet policies in place to help all guests (those with pets, and those without pets) enjoy their stay. Ask the hotel for details about their pet policies so that you aren't surprised when you show up!

Are there "pet fees"?

Many accommodations charge a fee to bring your pet. Sometimes it's a fee per night, sometimes it's a flat-fee per stay. Ask whether the fee applies per pet or if it is the same whether you bring one or more pets.

Are there a maximum number of pets allowed?

Again, many accommodations place restrictions on how many pets you can have in a room. Some will make exceptions if your pets are small. If in doubt, ask.

What types of pets are allowed?

Travelers with pets usually bring dogs - although cats aren't that uncommon, and occasionally some people bring birds or other caged pets! Always ask if your pet is permitted, particularly if you are traveling with something other than a dog.

Some accommodations also only allow pets who are under a certain size limit. In addition, there are jurisdictions that may have breed-specific legislation in place that restricts the type of dog you can bring into the area.

What are the pet rules?

One of the most common rules is that pets cannot be left unattended in rooms. Pet owners sometimes insist that their dogs will be okay if left alone, but remember, even the most well-mannered pet can behave out of character in unfamiliar surroundings. Many hotels have experienced a distressed dog barking incessantly in its room, while the owners are out and about. Ask the hotel for nearby doggy daycares if you need to leave your pet alone.

Other common pet rules you may come across include: no pets on furniture or beds; no pets in public areas (pools, restaurants, picnic areas); and pets must be leashed on hotel grounds.

Are there other pets on-site?

If you're staying in a small accommodation like a bed & breakfast, for example, the host may also have pets in residence. Your pet should be able to co-exist peacefully with resident pets if you wish to stay in these types of lodgings.

Are any pet amenities available?

There are hotels that go all-out for their canine guests: a big, soft doggy bed for use during their stay, a welcome biscuit or toy, doggy bags, special menus, and even a dog-walking and pet-sitting services. Other accommodations may not offer these perks but are no less welcoming, simply greeting your pooch with a smile, a pat, and a few kind words.

What choice of rooms will you have?

Always mention your pet when you are booking a room to ensure there is availability. Many accommodations set aside a certain number of "pet-friendly" rooms, often rooms with easier access to the outdoors. If your pet is elderly and cannot manage stairs, ask for a room on the ground floor. If there is a certain amenity you would like, such as a room with a jacuzzi tub or a room with a view, be sure to ask if they are available to travelers with pets.

And the number one rule: always contact an accommodation to verify that they are still pet-friendly. Pet policies and management often change!

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