National Dog Day is coming August 26 (my birthday, by the way). Which brings to mind that many pet owners are faced with a dilemma when traveling: either find accommodations allowing pets, or leave them behind.
Including pets in travel plans is increasingly common — four-legged friends can enhance the travel experience for the whole family, particularly if you know what to expect when staying at a pet-friendly hotel.
Steve and Connie Segner, who spent 40 years working in the pet industry, are owners of super-pet friendly El Portal Hotel in Sedona, Arizona, and suggested important questions to ask when booking.
Which types of animals are accepted?
Some pet-friendly hotels only allow cats or dogs, and may impose breed or weight restrictions. Be sure to ask if there are any limitations on the types of animals that may stay at the hotel. Iguanas? Ferrets? Rats? (Don’t know what to expect on the latter.)
Are there pet fees?
Pets may necessitate extra cleaning and may cause damage, so most hotels charge additional pet fees. Ask specific questions about the fees (if any), and about additional costs that pet owners may expect.
How many pets are allowed in each room?
Some hotels may limit the number of pets to one or two in a room. If you have more animals, you may need to book a second room with another person in order to accommodate them. It can be costly.
Are there special rules regarding pets?
Pet-friendly hotels must prioritize the comfort of two-legged guests, so they generally ask you to follow rules regarding how pets are handled. For example, hotels may prohibit you from leaving pets in the room unattended, or ask that you only walk dogs in designated areas.
What perks are available at the pet accommodations?
Some do not charge any pet fees. Some go all out. The Sedona Inn, for example, was constructed with wood and tile flooring throughout to accommodate four-legged visitors, and has over 1,000 square feet of pet-friendly patio space. Upon arrival, pets receive a “welcome basket” with a blanket, doggie bags and treats. Others offer doggy walks, doggy hiking, doggy jogs, doggy velo(running next to a bike) and other services such as dog massage.
Here are a few steps to alleviate stress and make your trip with your pet as enjoyable as possible.
- Review basic behavioral training before your trip. When traveling with Fido, practice basic commands like “quiet,” “sit,” and “stay.” This may help them be better hotel guests.
- Pack essentials. Make sure your pet has essential items such as food and treats, bed and/or carrier, leash and collar, any medications, and vaccination records. Bringing comfort items, such as toys and blankets, helps them feel less anxious in an unfamiliar environment.
- Give your pet plenty of relief breaks and other stimulation. Spending the night in a new place may cause anxiety in many pets —and humans, for that matter — which can trigger unwanted behaviors like marking their territory indoors. So give them lots of breaks, exercise, and affection. This will help ensure that your pet (and the rest of your family) can relax and enjoy your vacation.