When it comes to going on holiday, going without your dog seems unkind but necessary at times, particularly if you are staying in a hotel. This should not always be the case. Taking your dog to a hotel is far from impossible, it just takes a little more planning than a dog free holiday may need (sorting out a dog sitter or kennels aside).
Here we list some tips for staying safe in a hotel with your dog that can be good to take on board for a stress-free holiday.
Take Their Crate or Bed
Dog crates and dog beds are imperative to take with you on any trip out of your home with your dog, especially when going to a hotel. For those that are crate trained, it will be an enormous comfort to them if you have to leave the room or any length of time, particularly as your hotel room will smell different to what they are used to. Their crate will smell like home which will help relieve any anxieties they may have from being in a new place with periods away from their owners. The same goes for their bed if your dog is not a crate user. Their bed will seem like a part of the home for them and give them somewhere that they know they can rest from the outset.
Plus, practically speaking, not all hotels provide dog beds or places for dogs to sleep in. By taking a crate or bed, your dog will have somewhere to sleep that is comfortable for them as well as giving them a sense of belonging in a new place.
Check That Where You Stay Is Dog-Friendly
It sounds painfully obvious, but it really is a good idea to check that your intended hotel is dog-friendly. There can be nothing more frustrating or impractical than turning up to a hotel that you are looking forward to staying in, only to find out that you can’t stay there as your dog is unwelcome. Not all hotels are dog-friendly – indeed, the majority in certain countries are not.
So to check that your hotel is dog-friendly may sound like an over zealous bit of planning, but it is well worth it. Another notion worth checking while you are ensuring your intended hotel is dog-friendly is to also check the pricing of the hotel for when a dog is staying in a room with you. Some hotels charge exorbitant prices for when even the smallest, most well behaved dog stays in their rooms, which is not always well advertised. Even if your dog doesn’t malt, and even if your dog does not chew any of the furniture, or go on any of the beds, hotels will often charge a large fee for cleaning the room when you check out.
Rightly or wrongly, it literally pays to check ahead on the cost to make sure that you do not get lumbered with an enormous bill well you leave.
Check Nearby Outside Space
Dog-friendly hotels are all well and good, but to make sure you have an enjoyable and safe trip to a hotel with your dog, it is good to research where exactly the hotel is in relation to some outdoor space. It is terribly annoying staying somewhere that has nowhere for a toilet break for your dog should they need to go in the middle of the night – or at any time of day where it is not convenient as you have appointments elsewhere. If you have to drudge even 10 minutes down the road as he or she only likes to relieve themselves in grassy areas, that will seriously affect the amount that you enjoy your holiday.
Some hotels will obviously have a courtyard or garden where dogs are either welcome to roam or at least welcome to go when on a leash. A quick search on their website should answer any questions that you have on this matter, but if you find that they do not have any outside space, have a quick look at an online map to see if there is a nearby park or grassy area. You may be lucky that you have a dog that will literally go to the loo when told, but these are not the most common of characters!
Be Realistic and Fair to Your Dog
Just because you have found a hotel that takes your dog, does not mean that your dog is cut out for the holiday you intended. This is most probably likely to be true if you want to take your dog to a hotel when you are on a city break or staying somewhere with little intention of being in the room for long, or going anywhere that your dog will not truly enjoy.
For your dog to remain safe in the room, when you are not in it, you must still be keeping any anxieties about times of separation from you to a minimum. This means that, if you do take them on a city break where they cannot join you on the tourist trail, you regularly return to your room to check up on their welfare. This may not be particularly practical, especially if you are planning long days out with extensive itineraries so that you get to see every corner of your chosen city.
If this is the case, it may be a better idea to leave your dog at home for these sorts of trips. Their mental safety is as crucial as their physical one, so leaving them in a hotel room all day may not be as kind as originally thought.
Obviously, trips that involve staying at a hotel where you intend to go out walking or hiking every day to discover the natural surroundings, will be right up most dogs’ street. Taking your dog along to destinations like this will not only make them incredibly happy but also make your holiday even better than without your canine best friend.
Don’t Forget The Entertainment
One of the ways that will really help keep your dog safe when staying at a hotel with you is to make sure that you have a plethora of dog toys to keep them entertained whenever you do have to leave them alone in your room. You will know what your dog likes best and what keeps them happiest for the longest period of time.
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For some dogs, this will mean that you pack a lifetime supply of rawhide and chew toys that they can gnaw on whilst you are out. Other dogs will simply love a packed Kong that will keep them amused for hours while they try to route out all the goodies inside. Some canines will be best entertained with dog toys that include squeaks or that are built to be destroyed. Either way, by diverting their attention away from the fact that they are ‘home alone’ they are less likely to chew away on hotel furniture that you could be charged for to replace.
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Check and Plan Your Route
This may sound a little unnecessary too, much like checking if your hotel takes dogs, but it can have a huge impact on the enjoyment of your holiday. If you have a bad journey, and you have your dog in tow, they can arrive at your hotel anxious and grizzly. This mood will only be exacerbated, especially in nervous and timid dogs, by being somewhere new and unknown. This is not a good start to your holiday or your stay in your hotel.
So check your route, making sure you have contingencies in place should you hit traffic. Additionally, make sure that you have planned pit stops for where your dog can get out and stretch his or her legs at regular intervals. This is especially important if you are driving a particularly long way. Dogs need to have, on average, around 15 to 30 minutes to stretch their legs for every three hours they are cooped up in a car.
Furthermore, while you are planning your route, ensure that you have a plan for where your dog will be in the car when you drive to your hotel (this is assuming that you are driving to your hotel, not flying to another destination). Dogs need to be safely contained for both their safety and for yours. If they are allowed to roam free, they can get in the way of you when driving which can cause an accident. Also, if they are not correctly secured, they could cause injury to themselves or you if the car is involved in an accident – that is your fault or otherwise. Crates in the boot or on the back seat are great, or a dog harness to attach to a seat belt is also a good option for safe driving.
Take A Food Bowl and Kibble
This is quite an easy one to forget when you are packing and planning for your big trip. But remembering to take your dog’s food bowl and kibble with you, can help you stay safely in a hotel with your dog. This is because the food bowl will be another source of comfort to them, much like their dog crate. Taking their food with you is a practical help for a good start to your holiday – it means that you do not have to waste time finding them food to eat and so can get to relaxing and exploring as soon as you arrive at your hotel.
Plus taking their usual kibble with you means that you do not have to chance any upset stomachs that may occur if they are given a food that is unusual to them. Dogs do have far more sensitive stomachs than we give them credit for and so by taking their regular food, owners make sure that they won’t have to even worry about their dog becoming sick when on holiday with overly rich food or kibble with ingredients that are irritants to their pooch. This is particularly true of cheaper supermarket brand kibble so it is just not worth risking, especially if you are travelling by car. It takes two minutes to pack a bag of dog kibble in the back of a vehicle.
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Reserve A Good Room For You And Your Dog
Your stay at your hotel should be a great break for you, but try to choose a room that is both good for you and for your pooch. So while we all may want an upgrade to the penthouse suite, this may not be the place for your dog to stay. Dogs will often do well staying on the ground floor and in rooms that are as far away from the lifts or elevators as possible.
It is best to be on the ground floor, especially if you have a dog that likes to jump up and off beds because it means that you won’t annoy any guests staying in a room below you that will be irritated by the constant bangs. Additionally, it is just easier to take all your dog gear with you to a ground floor room – not least because dogs more often than not hate travelling in elevators or lifts and will often bark at the noises they make due to the stress that lifts cause.
It is, therefore, more than possible to stay in a hotel with your dog. It just takes a little planning and sometimes, a little practice. It will totally depend on the temperament of your dog as to what type of trip you can take them on, but having them stay with you is far easier than we often initially think. Plus, as our best friends, it is only right that they join us on holiday as they are part of the family.