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Top 5 Tips for a Dog-Friendly Hotel Stay

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A few months ago I blogged about the first time I stayed at a dog-friendly hotel with my dog, Sadie. (Click here to read about that adventure.) We loved the experience so much that we’ve stayed at a number of hotels since then, including one extended trip where we flew across the country. During those various hotel stays, I have picked up a number of helpful tips that I think would be useful for anyone bringing their pets to a hotel. Today I would like to share my top five tips for an enjoyable stay at a dog-friendly hotel:




Tip #5  – Familiar and Comforting

Make sure you bring a few items that will remind your dog of home. A favorite blanket or dog bed are great options, as those items will smell like home and comfort your dog when he or she lies down with them. A familiar food or water bowl could make your dog more comfortable eating or drinking in an unfamiliar setting. A favorite toy from home can also be very beneficial for your dog. You can use a favorite toy to play with your dog, keeping their mind off of the unfamiliar setting. But for many dogs a favorite toy also acts like a security blanket. They feel more confident and secure if that particular toy is within reach.
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Tip #4  – Location

When staying at a dog-friendly hotel, the location of your hotel room can play a big role in having an easy, stress-free trip. I would suggest asking for a ground floor room, as close to an exit door as possible. If you’re on the ground floor, you can get outside for walks and potty breaks much easier than if you have to wait for an elevator. Also, many dogs are uncomfortable around elevators, some even refusing to step into one, so it’s usually easier to avoid elevators with a dog in tow. Similarly, a room closer to an exit door means closer to the bathroom for your dogs. If you have to run out in your pajamas in the middle of the night because your dog is suddenly desperate for a potty break, I’m betting you don’t want to navigate a maze of hallways or pass through the lobby.
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Tip #3  – Exercise

As many of you know, it’s very important for your dogs to get enough exercise to release excess energy. If your dog has too much pent up energy, he or she may become hyper or destructive or exhibit other types of frustrated behavior that would be especially inappropriate in a hotel setting. But the right amount of exercise before getting to the hotel room can prevent all of these issues. When Sadie and I stay at a hotel, I make sure to take her on a long walk around the hotel grounds before bed. It’s interesting for her to explore the new environment, but she is also tiring herself out. When we return to the hotel room after the walk, Sadie is usually much more calm, subdued, and more importantly, ready to sleep. If the area around the hotel is not conducive for dog-walking, or the weather is not cooperating, Sadie also really enjoyed just walking through the hallways of the hotel. There’s lots of interesting people smells to keep your dog entertained and you won’t need to walk outside in an unfamiliar place.
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Tip #2  – Try to plan your schedule with your dog in mind.

When you are planning a trip that will take you to a hotel with your dog, try to keep your schedule as dog-friendly as possible. Try to minimize your dog’s alone time in the room. It can be very stressful for a dog to be left alone in an unfamiliar place. When my family and I took Sadie with us to Florida, we made an alternating schedule so that someone would always be with Sadie while the others went to the theme parks. I knew that Sadie would not handle being left alone very well, so my family and I made the choice to plan our schedule around Sadie’s comfort and happiness. But I know it’s sometimes unavoidable and you have to leave your dog alone in the hotel room. So try to plan your away time carefully. Make sure it’s after housekeeping has cleaned the room. You don’t want to take the chance that housekeeping comes in and accidentally lets your dog escape. Also try to return for regular meal and walk times if possible. Your dog may be used to staying home all day while you’re at work, but a hotel is a strange place and your dog may not be nearly as comfortable alone. Just keep that in mind and try keep doggie alone time to a minimum.

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Tip #1  – Minimizing Triggers

You do not want to be “that” hotel guest, the one whose barking dog keeps everyone up all night or wakes everyone up early. So make sure you do what you can to minmize the triggers that will set your dog off on a barking spree. Let your dog tag along if you need to run to the lobby or vending machines. It will be extra exercise for your dog and will also ensure your dog isn’t sitting by the door, barking at every little sound until you return. Bring your dog into the bathroom while you’re in the shower. Keep the TV or radio or a noise machine on low if you can; that way your dog will be less likely to notice noises coming from the hallway and other rooms. This is especially important if you need to leave your dog alone in the room and won’t always be there to quiet him or her down.
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So far Sadie and I have thoroughly enjoyed the times we spent staying in dog-friendly hotels. To us it’s completely worth any extra expense or hassle that may be involved with traveling with a dog. We love the adventure and new experiences we can enjoy together. Have you ever stayed with a pet at a hotel? Did you enjoy the experience as much as Sadie and I did? If you haven’t yet, Sadie and I think you should try it!




  1. Since I have a lab, traveling with him is a little more difficult. And he barks at the sound of a gnat moving 3 counties away, he would be a challenge. When he starts barking too much, when he’s in his crate, we have found that putting a blanket over it, and making like a cave tends to soothe him.
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  2. What a cute dog! I followed many of your tips when my dog was still alive. I’d also bring along an old sheet or blanket and put it down in the bathroom, then close my dog in there. That way, if he had an accident, I wouldn’t be as stressed out. I also wouldn’t have to worry about him getting into something he shouldn’t.

  3. Great tips for traveling with a dog. We never traveled with ours, but I can imagine how things like an elevator might not sit well with some dogs. I have several friends who do travel with their dog and will pass on this post. Thanks!

  4. Okay the pictures of your dog are priceless! It makes me want to get another dog and I already own two (which is above my limit normally) she is that cute! We are looking to train one of our dogs to be a service animal for our son so this is helpful for when we might travel. It is so helpful to have this information at hand! And seriously I want your dog she is so cute!

  5. What great advice! You’re right- nobody wants to hear a barking dog in a hotel. I never would have thought about dogs and elevators, either.

  6. Your little Sadie is such a cutie! I’ve never stayed in a pet-friendly hotel before. I have 2 dogs and 2 kids. We’ve brought the dogs to stay in pet-friendly vacation homes before though. It’s definitely a nice experience to bring everyone (furry pets included) on vacation together. Great tips by the way!

  7. What a cute pup. I have a kitty but I think some of these tips could be applied to traveling with her. Thanks for your post.

  8. We have 3 four legged babies with one of them being an almost 90lb Retriever and one being a 6 mo old Retriever….so sad to say, I doubt we will be planning on a hotel stay with them any time soon! But, I agree that these tips can certainly apply to children – which I also happen to have several of & we do stay in hotels often with them 😉 Great post for good tips for first time pet travelers!
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  9. Aww your dog is so adorable, wish I had one. Last time I took a dog cross country it was by truck and that was a mistake. But we did what we had to, stopping every so often to let her out and run around, made sure she had plenty of water, and made sure she was fed. Thank you for these tips, I’ll remember them next time we get a pet.
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  10. I don’t have a dog, although my kids would love a dog. These tips reminded me of good ideas to remember when traveling with children especially helping them get their energy out.

  11. Your dog is adorable! I don’t have one myself (I’m a cat person) but enjoyed reading your tips anyway. Will pass them along to my friends with dogs. I have traveled with a cat before (we were moving) and it was a little stressful (particularly at one hotel where we thought we lost her but she was hiding in a dresser drawer). Traveling with animals takes a lot of planning, loved your tips to make it easier!

  12. I just love your dog! I use to have a dog growing up and we never took her out of town. I ‘d miss her terribly while we were gone. These are wonderful tips that I’ll be sure to use when I get another dog. I was just telling my mom that I wanted one. Thanks for this!
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  13. I don’t have a do right now, but we have been considering in the last year because of my boys curiosity. I had a dog growing up and I think it will be a great for our family. I love your insightful tips about selecting a dog friendly hotel. By the way, Sadie looks very comfortable in those pictures. From the pictures, I believe Sadie enjoyed her experience.

  14. I don’t have a dog, but I have many friends who do. They express the hard times they have had in finding good hotels to stay in that are pet-friendly. I love your tips and will be sharing these for sure!

  15. Oh, hubby and I have discussed on many occasions bringing our hooligans with us when we travel, but it always seems like a big hassle. These tips make traveling with dogs sound a little more doable. Thanks for sharing your tips 🙂
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  16. These are all really great tips! I don’t personally have a dog myself (my toddler is a handful enough!) but my sister is a HUGE animal lover and her dog is like her child! She would find these tips really useful! I will pass them along to her and tell her to check out your blog as well!
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  17. I’m not a dog owner yet but this is definitely some good advice that I can store for a later date and I will share it with friends that are pet owners.

  18. Thank you for the post. I had moved from New Mexico to Utah 7 years ago and stayed at KOA in their cabins because they are dog friendly. It was challenging to find pet friendly hotels in our travel.

  19. My wife an I have 2 miniature schnauzers, we have taken them to a few hotels and so far it has not been a very good experience. Not entirely our dogs fault or ours, some hotel staff aren’t dog friendly even though their hotel is. I wish I would have thought of this information during some of our hotel stays but I will definitely remember it for our future stays.
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  20. Oh what a cutie your Sadie is!!!! I hope one day I could consider taking my 2 fur babies to a hotel…but right now I think they’re still a little too young and crazy to make it work! Your tips are great though!!!

  21. How cute is Sadie? I have two dogs (Well, my husband and littles have 2 dogs.) and never even thought about pet-friendly hotels. Your tips were right on point and thoughtful for the other guests. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Sadie is SUCH a cutie! These are awesome tips and make SO much sense especially to us dog owners. We used to take both our dogs on our trips and as long as dog friendly hotels were available, and prepared ourselves in the ways you mentioned above, we would always have a great time! It’s funny – I can also use these tips for going anywhere with my toddler. Hahah! Love it!
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