Dog Hotel Etiquette: No Barking After 10

posted: 05/15/12
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Until recently, people who traveled with their pets often spent bleary-eyed nights searching for hotels that would accommodate an animal. These days, plenty of hotels welcome four-legged guests and many offer pet spa services and treats at check-in. But problems can still when pets and people come together under one roof. How you handle such problems determines whether you and other animal-loving guests will be invited back. Here are some basic rules of hotel etiquette and tips for enjoying a stress-free stay with your pet.

For starters, do a bit of research on your hotel before you arrive and make sure they know that you intend to bring a pet. Do they charge additional fees or have weight restrictions for each animal? What is the policy on leaving pets alone in the room and/or barking at night? Keep in mind that hotels often revise their pet policies, so what was true last year may be different now. You can usually find out all you need to know on a hotel's Web site or by calling them directly.

If you are traveling with a dog, walk him before checking into your hotel. This reduces the chances of having an accident, especially considering that some hotels have an outdoor feel to their lobby, which may be confusing for a dog that needs to relieve himself. Also, remember to keep your dog leashed at all times and always clean up after him during walks.

If your pet is accustomed to lying on furniture and/or sleeping in a bed with you, bring sheets from home to use on the hotel furniture. If your pet typically sleeps in an animal bed, either bring it along or ask the hotel for a loaner.

If you are staying in a hotel that allows pets to be left in the room alone, remember to leave a number where you can be reached with the front desk. Also, be sure to leave the "do not disturb" sign on the door when you go out. This eliminates the possibility that your pet will hurt or scare housekeeping if they drop by while you're gone. Keep in mind that some animals will cope better with being alone if the television or radio is left on in your absence.

For hotels that do not allow pets to be left alone in the room -- or for animals that will not tolerate such treatment -- ask the concierge for a list of pet sitters in the area. Many hotels will offer to make the arrangements for you, and some may have a dedicated staff member for such tasks.

Finally -- and most importantly -- be aware of which areas of the hotel are off-limits to animals. For most, this includes the cafes and restaurants as well as the pool and any fitness rooms. Some may have dedicated wings for pets and would prefer that animals steer clear of the non-pet areas. By following these basic rules, you and your pet can enjoy traveling together for years to come.

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