Caitlin UltimoPet Parenting / Travel

What to Look for When Searching for Accommodations

Contributed by Jenna Donleavy, traveler and pet parent of three rescue dogs: Knox, Bear & Harper

While there’s no denying there’s been a significant rise in pet-friendly hotels throughout the country, it doesn’t mean that every single option will accommodate your pet’s every need. So whether you are traveling with dogs, or just want to be sure the staff welcomes your whole brood with open arms (and maybe a belly rub or two), we have the tips and tricks to help you find the best pet-friendly accommodations.

Checking into the Taconic Hotel, demanding treats and attention from the dog loving staff.

Checking into the Taconic Hotel, demanding treats and attention from the dog loving staff.

When searching for dog-friendly hotels, tons of options come up, but don’t be fooled—some pet-friendly hotels are better than others. And that’s why it’s so important to read between the fine lines. Fair warning: If you come across a place with a long list of do’s and don’ts, it’s likely your four-legged friends are free to spend the night, but it probably doesn’t offer any extra amenities to make their stay more enjoyable.

Here’s what to consider during your search:

Posing in front of the gorgeous Taconic Hotel located in Manchester, VT.

Posing in front of the gorgeous Taconic Hotel located in Manchester, VT.

Weight Limits

Through our research, we’ve stumbled upon many dog-friendly resorts that require the pup to be 25 pounds or less. And although I’m envious of parents who have smaller dogs, it’s not fair to discriminate against bigger dogs who are just as well-behaved. Even if you have a dog on the smaller side, any type of weight restriction is a major red flag, so book your stay at your own risk.

Sniffing around the hallways of the hotel and greeting all the friendly guests.

Sniffing around the hallways of the hotel and greeting all the friendly guests.

Breed Restrictions

Granted, states have different laws against breeds, but if you have the time to do some digging and realize it’s just the hotel’s preference, it’s likely they fall under the dogs-tolerated column. And let’s face it, who wants to support a dog-friendly hotel that doesn’t love all the breeds?

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Costly Nightly Fees

Unless they’re donating these extra dog-related costs to a rescue or shelter, we aren’t buying it. Literally. We understand that dogs leave hair behind and that the room pretty much needs to be cleaned top to bottom before the next guests arrive, but it still doesn’t add up to a $250 fee on top of the actual price of the room. Rule of thumb, if the fee is more expensive than it would be for your pup to stay at your local dog daycare and hotel, then I’d look for another spot to rest your head for the night.

Having a snack at the hotel’s restaurant, The Copper Grouse. Charcuterie is better with your dog by your side!

Having a snack at the hotel’s restaurant, The Copper Grouse. Charcuterie is better with your dog by your side!

An Extensive List of Do’s and Don’ts

Always look for the pet-friendly hotel guidelines on the hotel’s website. If the list contains more than the obvious, “Pets should be kept on a leash,” and of course, rules for curbing your pup, then it may turn out that the dog-friendly hotel would prefer if you just kept dogs at home. But it varies, so make sure you do your research before traveling with dogs, and don’t hesitate to call the hotel with specific questions.

Wine Hour at the Taconic Hotel. Dogs are allowed to join their humans on the porch, outdoor lawn, and of course in the hotel lobby areas.

Wine Hour at the Taconic Hotel. Dogs are allowed to join their humans on the porch, outdoor lawn, and of course in the hotel lobby areas.

Dogs Banned From Places Other Than the Room

And finally, if your dog isn’t allowed to so much as set a paw in any other place than your room, reconsider your choice to stay there. If they’re restricted to their room for the entire stay, it’s probably not that pet-friendly of a spot after all. Dogs are family, too, so keeping them cooped up the whole time is a big no-no as far as we’re concerned.

When choosing a pet-friendly accommodation other than a rental home, doing your research is key. I always read the pet policy thoroughly, call the front desk with questions, and read online reviews by sorting them with the keyword “dog.” Once you’ve landed on a hotel and decide to book your stay, be sure to call the hotel and tell them you’re traveling with dogs, because they may have designated dog-friendly rooms. These simple tips and tricks will guarantee a four-paw stay for the whole family.

Jenna Donleavy bio

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