When you're planning a dog-friendly vacation, it's likely that one of the first things you'll do is find dog-friendly hotel accommodations. Dog-friendly hotels are a step in the right direction, but there are so many other things to consider. What if you want to venture out to a restaurant or activity that is not dog-friendly? Will your dog be okay in the room alone? Should you notify the hotel your dog is alone? What if they have to use the bathroom? If you have these questions, you're reading the right blog.
There are a lot of great resources to find dog-friendly hotels, even services like Google Maps and Yelp have upped their dog-friendly search functionalities. When we look for a dog-friendly hotel, we typically look for hotels in the area that we want to stay and then check the "Amenity" section of the hotel website to see if they are dog-friendly (MOST of the time it will be listed here, but not always) . You can always just give the hotel a quick call. A few of our favorite dog-friendly hotel brands include:
Staypineapple (Seattle, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, soon to be NYC!), all dog-friendly
Marriott /SPG (2,000+ dog-friendly hotels worldwide), call hotel to confirm
AC Hotels (Marriott)
Kimpton Hotels, all dog-friendly
Some hotels offer dog amenities like a bed, bowls, treats, extra potty bags, and sometimes a toy (Staypineapple offers the best in our opinion), but it's always good to be prepared with your own items. We always bring bowls, treats (often hotel treats are just cheap milk bones), a few of Maya's toys, and Maya's blanket as a comfort item. One item that is very useful and often overlooked is a sign for the door to let the hotel know you have a dog inside the room. If you've ever been in a hotel room when the staff accidentally enters the room while you're inside, you understand how important this can be. A pet sign on the door can help avoid your dog accidentally getting loose, the staff being frightened, or your dog being frightened by a stranger entering the room.
When we go on vacation we always try to plan dog-friendly activities, but there are sometimes occasions when we want to go to a nicer restaurant (usually not dog-friendly if there is not an outdoor area). Leaving your dog alone in a hotel room can be scary for both you and them. They're in a strange room they aren't used to and you're leaving them in a room which you are financially responsible for. Some hotels even specifically state that dogs are not allowed to be in the hotel room alone, so be sure to check with them before booking if you are planning to do so.
We suggest not leaving your dog in the room alone for the first day or two at least. This will give them a chance to get comfortable in the new surrounding while being with you. Make sure you let your dog scope out the room and give them a little tour - show them where you put their food and water bowls, show them where it's okay to sleep, and play with them to show them that this is their space too.
If your dog is noticeably comfortable, try to leave them in the room while you go down to the lobby as a test. When you return to the room, make sure to check for signs to see if your dog was comfortable or uncomfortable. If your dog appeared to be comfortable and you feel that the dog will be okay in the room alone, tuck your dog in for the night and head out for the evening.
Venturing out at night when your dog will sleep is one thing, but what if a day of your vacation will be spent in a location that isn't dog-friendly? You will surly want to make sure your dog will be fed, taken out, and cared for. On the road, we use Rover for Maya to get walks if we are away for the day. The great thing about Rover (in most places) is that you can get the same walker every time, which is convenient if you're staying in a hotel for a while and will be having your dog walked more than once. You can also find a designated walker on services like Care.com. Once you've found a walker, you can add their name onto the hotel reservation so that they have access to the room. Be sure that you are comfortable enough with this person to allow them into your space.
Dog-friendly travel doesn't have to be hard. If you do thorough research and planning ahead of time, you can have a smooth family trip with your furry friend. If you're willing to pay $100s of dollars to board your dog while you are gone, you might as well make the extra effort to bring them along for the fun. After all, dogs love a good beach day too!