Posted Date: September 28, 2015
With all of our many competitors traveling to Cynosport in the next few weeks, here are some tips on how to be a courteous and responsible hotel guest with your dog.
Pet-friendly hotels have been on the rise in the last few years, probably due to the increase in pet owners who want to take their canine family with them on vacation. According to the American Pet Products Association, 29 million Americans travel with their pets, and over 30% of that group stayed at pet friendly hotels and other vacation lodging. While there are many hotel chains that allow pets, there are still many that do not, and of the ones that do allow pets, they often have restrictions based on size, breed, number of dogs, and more. It is our responsibility as responsible dog owners and agility competitors to put an extra effort in demonstrating model dog owner citizenship when traveling. Doing so encourages hotels to continue with, and/or expand or add pet friendly services.
One important thing to remember when staying at a hotel with your dog or dogs is that not all hotel attendees will look upon your canine companions as a good thing. Not everyone loves dogs the way we do, or they may have allergies that prevent them from being comfortable near dogs. They may also see your dog in the lobby and think that they'll be left wide awake all night listening to barking, or that they'll find themselves walking in dog waste on the property. As pet owner ambassadors, keep in mind the feelings of our fellow hotel guests and take steps to provide a positive experience for other guests and hotel staff.
1. Always call ahead and talk to the hotel to make sure you know their current pet policies. While you can book rooms on many websites, and even sites that specialize in pet friendly lodging, hotels can change their polices without notifying these sites and it's best to confirm them over the phone, or via an email. You don't want to arrive and find out that your dog is too large, or they only allow one dog and you have two (or more!) with you. Or they may have changed their pet deposit fees or added new breed or weight restrictions.
2. Some items you should always include when packing your dog's suitcase are:
- Sheets and blankets that you can place over the bed and furniture that may be in the room in order to protect them from pet hair. If you arrive and realize you've forgotten to do this, or don't have enough, most hotels will be more than happy to provide you with some, as this makes hotel room cleanup for the staff much easier and shows consideration for future guests staying in your room who may have allergies.
- Plenty of bags to pick up after your dog - keep some in your car and some in your room so you always have them handy. Always, always, always pick up after your dog!
- Food and water bowls - some pet friendly hotels will actually provide these for you but it's best to bring your own in case they don't.
- A copy of your dog's or dogs' important records, such as their up to date vaccinations. Some locations may ask for these, or if you find you have to board your dog(s) in an emergency, you will need these as well to do so.
- If your dog is crate-trained, bringing a crate he or she can stay in if you have to leave the room will provide your dog with a safe place and ensure that no damage happens to the room. Many hotels actually stipulate that your dog must be crated if you leave so make sure you find this out ahead of time in case you are planning to go out to dinner, etc. and did not bring a crate with you.
- Chew items and/or toys (non-squeaky!) to keep your dog occupied in case you do need to leave them for a while. You don't want your dog to bark while you're gone so make sure he or she has something to do while you're away. If your dog becomes anxious in strange places, you might also want to bring a dog bed from home or some blankets/towels that you have with your home's scent on them in order to provide a sense of familiarity. A white noise machine, or one that plays calming music, can also help to keep your dog relaxed and drown out noises out in the hall that may cause your dog to bark or whine.
3. If you know that your dog will have a hard time being alone, then plan on getting takeout or having food delivered. Aside from making your dog stressed by being left alone, even for a short time, the dog's behavior can also lead to other unhappy guests and hotel staff.
4. Remember again that not everyone likes dogs, as hard as that is to fathom! Always check the hallways and elevators before moving about the hotel with your dog. If you see people coming towards you, ask your dog to sit politely until they pass, and keep an eye out for signs that the other guests may be uncomfortable. Training your dog to have a reliable sit for greeting is one way of easing dog-fearful guests minds, and even teaching them some cute tricks can soften the hearts of those people who don't quite get our canine obsession.5. Ask the hotel what activities dogs are allowed to participate in and what areas of the hotel are off-limits. For example, if the hotel has a pool, don't assume you and your dog can go take a swim! Likewise many hotels have walking areas and some may have restrictions on where dog can and can't go.
Following these steps can help make your trip a pleasure for you, your dog(s) and everyone at the hotel!