Choosing a pet friendly hotel can be a tricky proposition. While more and more accommodations are allowing pets, asking the right questions before reserving your room will ensure a great stay!

Woman and black cat looking out the window in a pet friendly hotel

The degree of enthusiasm you and your cat or dog will experience upon arrival at your pet friendly accommodations runs the gamut. Though more hotels are referring to themselves as “pet friendly,” their policies and attitudes range from over-the-top accommodating to barely pet tolerant. After years of traveling with our dogs, we have some tips for choosing a pet friendly hotel.

So, how can you be sure the pet friendly hotel you choose will meet your needs and make you and your pet feel welcome? Ask the following questions, and you’ll have all the information needed to make the best decision!

Pet Friendly Hotel Questions

1. Is the hotel pet friendly?

It’s always best to start with the obvious, and make sure the hotel is still pet friendly. Hotel pet polices change quickly, and websites are not always up to date.

Next, if you’re traveling with a cat, know that “pet friendly” doesn’t necessarily translate to “cat friendly” when it comes to booking hotels. Some hotels even charge additional fees if you’re staying with a cat.

Finally, check to see if you’ll need to show proof of your pets’ vaccinations when you check in. Knowing this information in advance helps you to be prepared.

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Small kitty sleeping on a pillow

2. Is there a weight or breed restriction?

It’s common for hotels to impose weight restrictions. Some set the limit ridiculously low – like 15 pounds! But if you’ve found the perfect hotel, except that your pup is too big, ask if they’ll make an exception. Remember, the hotel wants your business, and they know they’re competing with a lot of other hotels for your dollars.

We’ve found that most hotels have a little wiggle room in their size limitations and will try to accommodate you when asked. Just be sure to make a note of the person you spoke to, in case there’s any question when you’re checking in.

Some hotels – though not many – refuse certain breeds of dogs. We’ve found that rather than banning a breed, hotels are more likely to set a weight limit that eliminates the targeted breed from consideration.

Small white dog laying on a bed in a pet friendly hotel room

3. How many pets are allowed per room?

When you travel with multiple pets, it’s important to know whether you can all stay together in the same room.

Some hotels, like Red Roof Inns, have a general pet policy allowing only one pet per room. (Though Red Roof properties have the option to welcome additional pets.)

Other chains, like Kimpton, never impose a limit on the number of pets that can join you. Every hotel is different.

Cool Whip and Hercules, two pitbulls, sitting on the bed at a pet-friendly hotel

4. Does the hotel charge additional pet fees?

This is where the hotel’s pet friendly colors really show! Additional pet fees range from free to charges that can double the nightly room rate!

Whether they’re charged per night, per stay, or per pet, be sure you have a clear understanding of the all the charges before making your reservation. Also ask whether any portion of the fee is refundable if the room isn’t damaged during your stay.

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Woman sitting on a bed in a pet friendly hotel looking at a computer with a cat on her lap

5. Are pet travelers limited to undesirable rooms?

Hotels used to designate their least desirable rooms as pet friendly – even using the same rooms for pets and smokers. Though things have improved, some hotels still limit pets to certain rooms.

If you prefer a specific room location, find out front if your request can be accommodated.

Brindle dog laying on a blanket on a bed

6. What pet friendly amenities does the hotel offer?

The most important amenity is always a convenient, grassy pet relief area. But some hotels also provide treats at check-in, pet beds and bowls in the room, doggy room service menus, spa treatments, and pet sitting services.

There are also hotels that have restaurants with pet friendly patios. And some even host a “yappy hour” in the lobby each evening. Deciding how much to pamper your pooch is entirely up to you!

Dog Bowl on Sidewalk

7. Can you leave pets unattended in the room?

Determining whether the hotel allows pets to be left alone in the room while you step out for something to eat or run an errand helps you plan appropriately.

Pets on their own cause two primary concerns: damage to the room, and noise that disturbs other guests. To avoid those situations, hotels often require pets to be crated when you’re away. And you should always leave your cell phone number with the front desk staff while you’re out.

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Travel Like a Pro: 8 Questions to Ask When Booking a Pet Friendly Hotel |

8. Are there areas of the hotel that are off limits to pets?

Pets generally can’t go in breakfast areas, restaurants, pools, and fitness rooms. But we stayed at one hotel that didn’t even allow pets in the lobby! Before you arrive, be sure you know where your pet’s welcome and where he’s not.

Dogs - Ty and Buster at Hotel Salomar - San Diego, CA

We want you to kick back, relax, and enjoy your next vacation! Asking these questions before choosing the pet friendly hotel will ensure you all enjoy your stay.

During your conversation, take notes with time and date and the first and last name of the hotel employee. After that, all that’s left to do is pack a bag and hit the road!

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Category: Travel Tips / Tagged with: Pet Friendly Lodging