8 Rules for Staying in Hotels With Your Dog

When You Arrive

Check in and check things out. When you get to the room, before you allow your dog to run around, examine the room carefully to make sure there is nothing that can hurt your dog. Also make sure the previous guests or housekeeping didn't leave anything behind, such as stray pills.

Create a comfortable space. Many hotels require that you crate your dog if you go out and leave him behind, but even if yours doesn't, it’s a good policy. A crate keeps your dog from getting into trouble in the hotel room, and if someone should open the door, even by accident, there won’t be an opportunity for him to dash out of the room. If your dog isn’t used to a crate, play some fun games at home before your trip with the crate you will be using, and practice leaving your dog in the crate for short periods of time in the security of his own home.

Hanging the “Do Not Disturb” tag on the door is added insurance that no one will knock or open the door to your room and startle or upset your dog. You can also make your dog feel more at home by turning the television on when you leave. If your dog is used to hanging with you when you watch TV at home, the sound may be a comfort. It can also help mask voices and other sounds from neighboring rooms.

Chew this, not that. Chew toys, stuffed Kongs and the like make great distractions for dogs staying in hotel rooms. Make sure you are not leaving your dog with something he can rip apart and choke on, such as a rawhide or breakable treat. Familiar toys can also be like bringing a bit of home into the hotel. But be sure to keep items that you do not want your dog to chew out of his reach. Extra dog food and treats, kits full of toiletries and medications, trash cans and human travel snacks can be tempting to your pup. Stow them safely out of reach. High luggage racks, shelves in closets and even the bathroom (with the door closed) make good storage options.

Be Courteous — and Cautious

Mind your mess. Muddy paws and shedding coat are not so cool in a hotel. Take a sheet or blanket from home to toss on the bed to help keep the spread clean — and do the same for any upholstered furniture your dog might climb on. And don't forget to keep the outside neat as well: You will, no doubt, be taking your dog out to potty on hotel grounds. Make sure you have plenty of bags for picking up poop, and find an appropriate receptacle (outdoors, please!) in which to deposit them.

Play it safe.
Even if you're just grabbing a cup of coffee in the lobby or going to the hotel bar for one beer, it’s smart to leave your phone number with the front desk in case your dog gets upset and noisy. Crying, barking and howling are not only annoying to other hotel guests, they can be a sign that your dog is stressed.

Because your dog may be anxious or overstimulated, pay careful attention to safety precautions. Fasten the leash to your dog's collar before you open the room door to prevent him from making a run for the lobby — or parking lot. Reliable routines can break down on the road, and even a polite dog who knows to wait before exiting an open door can dash when in an unfamiliar and possibly stressful place.

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