I’ve not taken a trip without a dog by my side in close to 20 years, albeit it a few times I flew for business sans Cocker Spaniel. Pet friendly implies the place likes pets and well, they are “friendly” in doing so, right? I have a ton of experience in this department, and nope, nope, and nope again.
Generally, I’ve not had a problem getting my dog into a hotel or bed and breakfast that allows pets. I feel like I am in the minority, and when something isn’t fair, I write about it. For the most part, pet friendly policy means:
* The pet must be a dog. Don’t try to get in with a ferret, cat, etc.
* The pet must be a certain weight. There are restrictions. I’ve yet to ask someone to put my Cocker Spaniel on a scale at the front desk, but we’ve exceeded the 25 pound limit a few times. Policies vary, but as anyone who travels with a dog knows, weight limits are enforced. This excludes a LOT of dogs. If anyone in the hotel industry reads this, try and ask your manager if you can get this rule lifted. You’d see a nice boon in the economy if more “bigger” dog moms and dads could bring their greyhounds, Labradors, and over 50-pound dogs on vacation. I know throngs of them. It’s true.
* The pet friendliness factor applies to a maximum number of dogs. You can bring 3 kids, just not 3 dogs, as an example.
* The privilege of having your pet stay there means a fee will be imposed. I’ve asked about this fee over and over and why exactly it might cost anywhere between $25 and $250 (the maximum I’ve encountered). The typical reply is it is for a “cleaning fee,” or more often than not, “a deep cleaning fee.” I don’t know what this implies but I cannot imagine it takes that long to de-dogitize a room. Also, some fees are nightly, not one time. Proceed with caution.
* Pets may not be allowed on beds, couches, furniture in general. My dog is allowed on all of this at home, so I travel with sheets and lay them across everything when I travel. I am sure at some point, whether child or adult, sockless feet have jumped on the same bed/the same furniture in the hotel, but pet travelers get the warning. I respect it and my dog’s paws never touch the fabric.
* A written pet policy is in place with the establishment and if it isn’t, ask where you can find whatever they have as it pertains to rules of pets staying there. Ninety percent of the places I’ve stayed have a pet policy and ask me to sign it before checking in. Read it carefully. Those $100 deposits, and you will get it back on checkout pending any damages to the room, might be conveniently half way down the page. I’ve never had a problem, but it’s good to know.
* You can be asked to leave if your dog barks and is disturbing other guests. I understand this. I never leave my dog alone in the room. If there’s a fire, who is worrying about the dog in room 204 and if he gets out safely?
* Pet friendly does imply your pet should be friendly in general. Traveling with a dog who generally has no manners and/or lunges at people might not be the best idea. It ruins it for everyone.
* Clean up after your pet. For the love of Lassie, please do this. Again, it ruins it for everyone. It’s a health hazard and rude but also tells management that pet travelers have no manners and avoid rules. Just don’t do it.
* Breed restrictions: I am hearing more about this but I’ve yet to encounter it. I personally would not stay somewhere that had a problem with my “breed” of dog. And are they checking DNA samples at the door?
Will I continue to travel with a dog? I would not travel unless I had my dog with me unless I had to fly for business, and my pooch will never fly — cargo is for baggage, not my dog. What’s your biggest pet peeve about pet friendly travel???