From large chains to intimate inns, more and more lodgings are opening their doors to people traveling with companion animals. Some places will allow all kinds of animals like cats, rabbits, reptiles, even horses, but for most, pet-friendly means dog-friendly. But just what friendly means is up to interpretation. Many places fully outline their pet policies on their websites. The tone and amount of information provided can be a good indicator of just how pet-friendly they really are! Others are more circumspect so don't leave anything to chance. Following are questions to ask before you book dog-friendly lodging.
1. Do you have size or breed restrictions? Some lodgings are dog-friendly only if your dog fits in your purse. Others are dog-friendly as long as your dog isn't a pit bull or a Rottweiler. Be sure that your dog is allowed before you place your deposit.
2. Are there additional fees? Fees for bringing the dog can really run the gamut. Some places are totally free, others charge a per night fee or a per stay fee. Often, the fee comes in the form of a cleaning charge or a refundable damage deposit. Be sure you know in advance what it will cost you to bring your canine companion.
3. Where are the dog-friendly rooms located and are they non-smoking? In some spots, the dog-friendly rooms can also be the least desirable. It may not be a problem if you're a smoker, but if you're not, you don't want that room! Neither do you want the small room in the back by the dumpster. When possible, a first-floor room with a separate entrance is easiest for most dogs.
4. Are there places nearby to walk the dog? Not only is it helpful to know if there are parks in the vicinity to enjoy but more importantly, to know if there is a spot for those quick last thing at night and first thing in the morning outdoor adventures.
5. Do you need to see proof of vaccination? Chances are good that you'll need to show proof of up-to-date vaccinations such as rabies. Some places may even require kennel cough (bordetella) vaccination. Find out in advance so you can make sure your dog’s vaccinations are current and of course, don't forget to pack the paperwork.
6. Are there restricted areas? You may not want to book that romantic dog-friendly inn with the historic fieldstone fireplace if you and your dog can't enjoy it. Be sure you know what parts of the property are available to you and your pet so you can make an educated decision.
7. Are there dog walkers/sitters in the area? You know it's a pretty dog-friendly lodging if they provide access to this type of information. Plus, knowing you can book someone to spend some time with your dog frees up time for you to enjoy the not so dog-friendly aspects of your trip.
8. Do you have bowls/crates/beds? Many dog-friendly accommodations have extra supplies on hand. Again, it lets you know how truly dog-friendly they are. Plus if you don't have room to pack your own, it's good to know that you have back-up. Some places require that the dog be left in a crate if you leave the room.
9. How many dogs do you allow? If you are a multi-dog family, this is important. The whole pack may not be welcome.
10. Are there dog-friendly attractions in the area? Locals know more than you'll ever get from a guidebook. They may know of parks, outdoor eating, beaches, and other fun places to visit with your dog.
Traveling with your dog can be an amazing experience. Asking the right questions and planning ahead will ensure that your adventures will go off without a hitch.