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The Truth About Pet-Friendly Hotels

By Carol Bryant


If you’ve ever taken a trip with your dog and checked into a hotel that claims to be “pet friendly,” there are a few things to keep in mind that might not be advertised.


As a pet traveler of 20 years, I have encountered mostly amazing experiences at pet friendly hotels and bed and breakfasts, but occasionally one falls through the cracks. Pet friendly does not mean red carpet in all cases, so keep these pointers in mind the next time you book a room for you and Fido:


  • Fees are usually imposed on travelers who are staying with pets. Always ask ahead if there are fees involved, how much, and if there is a fee for each pet or a one-time deal. Often, hotels will hold a security deposit and then refund it or not charge your credit card prior to checking out.
  • Pet friendly has its pets allowed limits. You can bring three kids, just not three dogs, as an example. Ask first how many dogs are allowed. Nothing ruins a trip or vacation than hearing, “sorry ma’am, but three dogs are not welcome here, only two.”
  • Ask about their pet policy and what exactly it entails. Most pet-friendly establishments have a policy in writing and will ask you to sign it upon check in. Read the fine print carefully and if it isn’t, ask where you can find whatever they have as it pertains to rules of pets staying there.
  • Breed restrictions may apply, so ask ahead. 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. Better to be safe than sorry, so question the policy before making a reservation.
  • 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 a fire occurred, who is worrying about the dog in room 204 and if he gets out safely? Chances are, no one. Some hotels have a concierge service or can recommend a pet sitter/dog walker if you want to leave Fido behind while sightseeing.
  • 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.


Have you ever encountered any issues when traveling with your pet? Chime in. We’re listening.


Comments  87

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  • Traveling with pets
    08/02/2013 07:56pm

    Hey Carol, I don't do much actual traveling with my pets. I'm not sure the cat would like it and I would not want to travel with just one of the three dogs. Still, I think your advice is spot on and especially like that you recommend folks bring their own sheets or blankets to lie across the hotel furniture and/or bed. That makes a lot of sense!

  • 08/13/2013 07:07pm

    Thanks, Yvonne. My roads are traveled with a dog and more than anything else, I remember when an establishment makes me and my dog feel welcome.

  • Size does matter
    09/03/2014 02:12pm

    I travel with a 140lb Great Dane, and probably 75% of hotels that are "pet friendly" have a weight maximum of 25 or 30lbs. In some cases when I really need to find a place to stay I will email the hotel and ask if that is a firm rule, describing my dog and including his training as a pet therapy animal to show how well-behaved he is. Often the hotel manager will make an exception. I do this via email so I have a written record of the special permission with me when I arrive, in case the manager is not on duty.

  • 09/22/2015 03:28pm

    Under American for Disabilities Act, an establishment cannot refuse your access to their facility nor charge you for their stay, if you have a service animal or therapy animal. Traveling with your large dog should not be an issue at all.

  • 09/25/2015 04:17am

    Therapy animals are not covered by the ADA, this is a common misconception. Comfort animals and therapy animals are excluded from protection under the ADA; the only animals that are protected under the ADA regulations are certified Service Animals.

  • 08/22/2016 10:50pm

    There is no federal or state certification for service animals. It is a common misconception that someone needs to certify that there animal is a service animal. As a service animal trainer myself I have trained my dogs to respond to my disability. Paying for a certification service is just giving away money to someone as they never see your animal perform its task.
    From ADA faq
    Q5. Does the ADA require service animals to be professionally trained?
    A. No. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program.

    Q6. Are service-animals-in-training considered service animals under the ADA?
    A. No. Under the ADA, the dog must already be trained before it can be taken into public places. However, some State or local laws cover animals that are still in training.

  • 10/25/2016 06:24pm

    I do know that in many states you Can take a Service Dog In Training anywhere IF it has the Service Dog In Training Vest on. Most also have the words "Do Not Pet" on their harness or somewhere.

  • 10/25/2016 05:20pm

    I know that there is No such thing as Certification for Service Dogs. Check it out.

  • 09/26/2015 07:50pm

    The Americians with Disabilities Act only gives privileges to trained service animals, NOT therapy dogs. Go look it up! You can be fined in many areas for trying to pass off an untrained dog as being a service animal!

  • 09/27/2015 12:13am

    Actually therapy animals are not included in the ADA. ADA covers service animals. ESA's can accompany their owners and not be charged granted they have a letter stating they are needed but they are not therapy animals, that is a whole other breed of "service" animal that is not covered by ADA, their jobs are to comfort many in hospital/nursing home settings.

  • 10/24/2015 02:35pm

    i have a registered dog with the ADA,,,shes registered as an emotional dog,,,a therapy dog isn't protected under the laws but an emotional dog is.

  • 10/28/2015 03:13am

    "Emotional dogs" are NOT covered under the ADA, and there is no such thing as an "ADA registered" animal. http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html

  • 10/29/2015 08:24pm

    Unfortunately, the ADA does not cover "emotional" dogs unless they are specifically trained service dogs, for example, to alert of depression. http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html

  • 11/12/2015 02:16am

    that is because SDs are considered medical devices. Places can however charge for any damage the SD causes

  • 01/08/2016 05:16am

    The ADA laws ONLY pertain to SERVICE DOGS they do not cover THERAPY DOGS. There is a difference. Service Dogs are specifically trained to do work or perform a task for the handler or individual with a disability(s). Therapy Dogs do not have specific training for nor do they do work or perform a task for their handler/disabled individual. Therefor Therapy Dogs are not protected under the ADA laws.

  • 09/22/2015 07:11pm

    I just don't get the small dog 25-30 pound rule so many hotels have! I have a 75 pound 8 year old Golden Retriever who is very well behaved, does not destroy anything that is not hers, seldom barks & has not relieved herself in the house since she was a puppy! My experience with small dogs is so many are yappy! I would like to understand the reasoning behind the small dog rule!

  • 09/24/2015 04:25am

    I've had big dogs and small ones, love them all. The big ones were normally better behaved and the small ones are the mischievious ones who got into everything. Our Morkie did more damage that our lab mix. So I'm right there with you, don't understand.

  • 10/26/2015 02:06am

    I think it's the thinking that large dog equals potentially more severe damage. I agree with you that larger dogs are generally calmer and better behaved. I have two little ones, and while my mini poodle is very quiet and calm, my havanese is a yapper, and he has a very sharp bark. I will never be able to stay in a hotel with him along.

  • 11/08/2015 06:09pm

    While I also do not agree with the 25-30 lb. rule, I don't agree with the generalization of some that most small dogs are yappy. I have known plenty of large and small dogs and have known large dogs that were barkers. I have a Shih Tzu that is not a barker. My dog will sit in the front door and just watch people and dogs walk by and not make a sound while I see many large dogs in our travels that are crazy barkers when anyone walks by.

  • Pet-Tolerated Hotels
    09/03/2014 04:17pm

    This article is excellent. We've been traveling with our extremely well-behaved border collie mix for 14 years and have found there are actually very few sincerely "pet-friendly" hotel chains. When you read the policies of brands like Hyatt, Marriott, Hotel Indigo, and even some Starwood hotels, who profess to being pet-friendly, you'll see they impose ridiculous fees for his service. When I question the hotels why they charge anywhere from $25-$100/night for allowing a pet, they claim, "To cover the extra expense of cleaning the room." That's complete BS. I've watched them clean rooms that had a pet and ones that didn't, and there is no difference, whatsoever. Same equipment, same cleaning procedures…no difference, no extra cost to them. In truth, what these hotels are doing is trying to discourage you from bringing a pet. And making an extra few bucks off your pooch. Hardly pet-friendly.

    So, who is truly 100% pet-friendly? Number One, and simply the most people and pet-friendly brand in the US is Kimpton Hotels. They love pets, they cater to pets, they don't charge a penny for pets. If you are an animal-lover, give your business to Kimpton first. (Their hotels are also absolutely wonderful.) Others that are generally pet-friendly include, La Quinta, Red Roof, aLoft, some Holiday Inn Express, most Westins, some Four Points, some Sheratons, and I'm sure there are others I've missed.

    Always check the fine print before assuming you can bring your pet for free. It can get ugly when you check in and the front office manager surprises you with, "There's a $100 charge for your dog."

  • 09/22/2015 07:05pm

    I found that Red Roof Inn in the area I was traveling would not accept pets. But ALL Hoiday Inn Express locations were awesome. They waived the pet fee as long as I understood that any damage would be charged to the card on file. OK by me :) No problem - no charges. That's the policy hotels should have.

  • 10/20/2015 03:59pm

    I typically board my pets with family when travelling, but I recently had to take my two senior dogs (90lb 12-year-old and 35lb 16-year-old) with me for an out of town family funeral. The dogs DID have to be left in the hotel room for a few hours at a time (we scheduled breaks in the day), and aside from the fact that next time I will take a small hand vacuum, the experience was very positive.

    Red Roof Inn was our location of choice. The staff was absolutely wonderful to deal with; friendly, accommodating, and very clear about the regulations. We were clear about the dogs' breeds and sizes when we booked the room, so there were no surprises at check-in. We offered our contact information to the front desk in case there was an emergency (like barking), and they replied, "That shouldn't be a problem. Folks know this is a dog-friendly hotel, so they shouldn't get upset about a few barks. We'll only contact you if it's excessive." No problems arose, and they encouraged us to consider them again when travelling.

    I'm sure experiences vary by location, but I was very happy with our experience at Red Roof and will use them again with confidence!

  • 10/20/2015 11:49pm

    You're right - it does seem to be an individual location thing. Just for argument's sake, I called a Holiday Inn Express about pets and that particular location does not accept them. But the ones we stayed at do. And the Red Roof Inn I called a few years ago doesn't either. Maybe with so many of us traveling with out cats, dogs, and other small furries, things change for the better, like having a few barks not be a problem :)
    So, yes, call ahead and get the story before hand. Lots of good things happening out there.

  • 10/28/2015 08:56pm

    Totally agree on the Kimpton Hotels. They are awesome. In fact, they know my dog more than they know me!!

  • 11/10/2015 04:37am

    Scratch aLoft Durham (NC) off the list. I was told they accept pets, that all aLoft locations accept pets with no fees, upon reservation. This is the only aLoft that does not accept pets. Imagine the surprise when trying to check in. Vacation ruined.

  • Road trip, Road trip, YAY
    09/03/2014 05:35pm

    We are fortunate in that our guys are great travelers, love cars and new places.
    When I travel with out 3 large (19 pounds, 16 pounds and 14 pounds) cats we always try to find a LaQuinta. They do NOT charge an extra fee and the new ones or the recently refurbished ones have always been spotlessly clean, to the point my FurBrats don't seem to realize that any other animals have ever slept there before them, I think the desk staff are hired because of their pet friendly attitude. They have always asked if we need any special accommodations...easy access to outside, water bowls, etc.
    The rooms have all had platform beds and furniture that sits snug to the floor with no hidey-holes. And the bathroom vanities have all been raised, making it convenient to place a litter box.
    It is advisable to call ahead, because, although the chain is pet friendly, I have be told that some city's health laws do not allow for animal guests.

  • 07/29/2015 02:34pm

    La Quinta's fees are on a property by property basis. We stay (frequently) at the LQ in West Phoenix and they have been marvelous with us and our 2 Mini Aussies. They don't charge a fee, but when we went to book a stay in Las Vegas, the LQ there did have a modest pet fee. Either way, we are extremely happy with how the LQ's we have stayed at have treated us and our pets.

  • 08/14/2015 07:38pm

    When my son graduated Basic Training at Ft. Jackson, in Columbia, SC, we stayed 5 nights at the La Quinta there, off Exit 17 (Two Notch Rd.)

    I put the location, because of the way this La Quinta treated us, and our pets. Anyone travelling with pets, and needing to stay in Columbia, SC, should definitely stay here. It is the most pet-friendly hotel, BY FAR, that I have ever been in. No fees, no hassle, and very nice areas to walk them. You can walk them on a leash, right through the front lobby. And the hotel is clean, as well. Highly recommended!

  • 08/14/2015 07:41pm

    And in addition, we were given permission by the manager, to even leave our pets in the room for short times (going to eat, the store, etc), inside of their kennel. They only asked that the pets were walked before-hand, and would not be noisy. But it was nice not feeling that you had to sneak them in and out of the room (which we have done many times in other places, and not gotten caught yet...:)

  • 09/24/2015 05:58pm

    Early this past summer we stayed on post at Ft Jackson with our 75 pound Golden Retriever when my husband worked there for a week & it was an excellent stay! They have a pet friendly lodge/hotel which was a reasonable additional charge. Lots of places to walk and even play ball off leash!

  • 09/22/2015 07:08pm

    Thanks for the heads-up. If I ever have to travel with my crew I'll look into LaQuinta. They sound very pet-friendly :)

  • 03/05/2016 10:55pm

    I totally agree with your review!! Our pet is a Siamese Cat, and it frustrates me to no end that so many places advertise "Pet Friendly," but when I inquiry I am told, "Oh, we mean DOGS!!" Last I checked, Cats are pets as well. We are so fortunate, and appreciate La Quinta for accepting our Cat - as you pointed out, many if not most, of their motels are newer, very modern and provide an excellent overnight experience for my wife, myself, and our pet (CAT)! If anyone has any additional recommendations for Pet Friendly Motels, that include Cats, please let me know. I mean motels that are "decent", not some dump that I would not even allow my cat to stay in!!!

  • 03/06/2016 01:22am

    Hi - Thank you!
    We had some good luck with Holiday Inn Express, but it was on a place to place basis.
    If I hear anything good, I'll definately clue you in :)

  • (sigh)!
    09/03/2014 06:47pm

    As usual, another site that equate "pets" with dogs only. We had to travel cross-country with three cats, so cats should have been included in this article. Pretty much done with PetMD.

    Pets = dogs ...NOT!

  • 08/14/2015 07:44pm

    Oh, good grief!

  • 09/22/2015 03:38pm

    While I agree with your feelings, I think that there may be a limitation on cats due to the number of people who are allergic to cat dander. Even a thorough cleaning can leave behind dander that can aggravate allergies.

  • 09/22/2015 06:58pm

    When we traveled across country with our three cats we had no problem finding places that acepted them. It's the articvle that I'm commenting on. Lots of animal lovers have cats, not just dogs.

    And yes, "Good grief" (not your comment, moses). If you're an animal lover it should bother you that ALL animals are not included. It just reinforces the mind-set that cats, rabbits, ferrets, rats, etc, do not quailfy as "pets". But they are.

  • 10/26/2015 02:18am

    For goodness' sake. Did you bother to read the comments that came before you, in which cat owners shared their traveling experiences? That would be less satisfying that writing an angry note, I guess. Life is happier when you don't go looking for reasons to feel slighted.

  • 10/26/2015 04:36am

    Did you read my comment? It was about the article, not other comments. And how is having an opinion not reflecting your own seem angry to you? I was making a point that others agree with. Maybe if you had the same outside the box experience I've had, you'd understand what I was saying.

    For me, life IS good. I just choose not to wear blinders that show me just the "happier" things around. And I choose to speak out on things that I think need tweaking - that's how changes are made. That's all. ALL animals are important to me, and I've done rescue and abuse work for years.

    My blinders were gone a while ago, and by way of comments have opened some others' eyes. So, grief not withstanding, try to have a bit of respect for another person's views. You sound like you're not a happy person.

  • B & B in PA
    09/04/2014 12:35am

    I found a super pet friendly B & B outside of Pittsburgh PA. They were so accomadating for us. We were on the lower level, mere feet from the door to go "outside", we were allowed to let the boys wander around our level, unleashed, if they were the only ones there at the time. My guys were allowed to sit on a sofa with us and watch TV and we were not charged any extra fees. They even had "cookies" for them. They treated my boys like guests. Now that is pet friendly!!!

  • Traveling with pets
    09/04/2014 11:22pm

    When we move is the only time we stay in hotels with our pets. We found out that Motel 6 is great with pets, & they don't have a deposit. We always post NO service. We clean the room, fold up all the bedding & towels, & leave a tip for the maids who clean the room behind us. We do this to be a good customer, as we travel with 2 service dogs (115 lb & 10 lb), & 11 cats. The last time we stayed there we were there for a week.
    The maids, repairmen, & office persons always come by to say hi to any who are sitting in the window. We can't afford to stay in any of the high end fru-fru places, so I can't compare any of them.

  • In addition...
    07/29/2015 01:07am

    I travel a lot with my dog… most of the time 30 days at a time. I have learned to ask hotels when they last updated the room and what the condition of the room is. I have found a lot of hotels block a certain amount of rooms which are pet friendly. They advertise remodeled rooms, but fail to tell you the pet friendly rooms were not remodeled. Just because I am staying with my dog does not mean I want to stay in a room with old, worn, smelly carpet and worn furniture.
    Also, FYI, there are several great app's with great info on pet friendly restaurants, hotels, parks, etc. They also have vets and emergency vets in case one is needed during your trip. Examples, BringFido, doggiedoor, Pets&Hotels, Rover.com.
    Lastly, to avoid barking at strange noises outside of the room, keep bathroom fan on or television or radio on to drown out hallway noise.

  • ADA
    09/26/2015 12:46am

    I forgot who said something a bout according to the ada that service dogs have to be certified. That is not true. According to the DOJ and an ada specialist there is nothing in the ADA that requires a service animal be certified all certification means is the service animal is trained to the trainers/programs liking. If certified that is fine the establixhment can not ask to see the certification apers. Here is a link to an ada handout that has what I said in it and phone numbers


  • Traveling with Shih Tzu
    10/16/2015 11:24pm

    They may also restrict where your dog might be , even in your arms. Had a stop on the road at a motel where reservations were made ahead of time....no advisory of an any fee after inquiry. On arrival, it was pouring down rain and we were given an outside entry room as our Shih Tzu was not allowed in any portion of the motel other than the room. Not even in the lobby. They did finally agree to split the cost of the fee due to not having advised us what it was. Our dog is the perfect traveler. Never barks, sleeps when riding and of course is leash trained.

  • Dog Friendly Hotels
    10/18/2015 05:56pm

    Many times hotels/motels have specific rooms they rent out to dog owners. Be extra diligent about walking your dog for potty breaks or due to deep scents, your pup may mark his/her territory and then you will have to pay!

  • Traveling with Pit Bulls
    10/21/2015 03:59pm

    I've seen some hotels/motels that have expressly stated that they do not allow "Pit Bulls", Rottweilers, German Shepherds, or Dobermans, and some that charge more for the dog to stay than the room costs for the person alone (and it wasn't a deposit, just a way to scare off anyone thinking about coming in with a dog).

    I've had good luck with Motel 6, La Quinta, and Holiday Inn Express, both reserving in advance and just showing up on their doorstep hoping to rent a room. I've had no problems taking my bullies into these motels - I don't sneak them in, they are well-behaved breed ambassadors so I make sure they're minding their P's & Q's when we go in.

    Because my dogs come with the unfair special baggage of discrimination, we make sure we're quiet, are never left alone alone, and we always clean up after ourselves. And of course they're always available to give kisses and cuddles for those who know or want to know about how special they really are.

    That said, we have experienced discrimination on the road because of breed discrimination. I once was turned away, even though I had a reservation at a pet-friendly motel, because the manager didn't like the fact my very frail 15 year-old companion was a pit bull. We slept that night at a rest stop in the back of my SUV.

    I too appreciate and remember those that make us feel welcome.

  • 11/01/2015 05:41pm

    I was hoping someone would post that owns a bully . I know I get the look just walking mine down the street . I own 5 Pit Bull mixes and three are over 100 pounds . I haven't tried traveling with them yet but I've been told no a few times with my 175 pound Great Dane . He's big and solid black . I guess to some he looks scary or something .

  • We have 2 dogs
    10/24/2015 01:25pm

    My husband and I love to travel with our two dogs. Once we started using sites like airbnb or vrbo, we never went back to hotels. It was easier to communicate with owners and to figure out rules and fees for each rental. We still bring lots of sheets and cover all furniture, because our dogs are allowed on everything and sleep with us. So far, we have never gotten negative feedback, and usually leave places cleaner than we find them...we want to show people that there are responsible pet owners out there.

  • I use Bringfido.com
    10/26/2015 11:49pm

    We always travel with our pups and we have 3 of them. A lot of hotels only accept 2. We use bringfido.com, they have already checked with all the hotels for their pet policies, and we never have an issue.

  • traveling w a dog...
    10/27/2015 03:43pm

    About a year and a half ago I decided to drive from my home in NJ to visit a good friend of mine in Nevada. Why drive? Because I didn't want to leave my pup behind and definitely wasn't putting her on a plane. She's a 65 pound boxer, so in some areas I had a slightly limited selection of dog friendly hotels, but overall I was surprised at how easy it was to travel with her. Some chains are definitely more accommodating than others, but the ones that made me either laugh or shake my head were those that were pet friendly...but not really. There was one where I was told it was ok that I brought my dog in the lobby to check in, but that as a rule dogs weren't allowed in the lobby so we really needed to use the back entrance. Every time I called a hotel I not only asked if there was a pet friendly room available, but specified a first floor room near an exit. My dog was only a year old, I figured there was no sense in risking a bathroom emergency lol. One hotel that I called said no, all of their pet friendly rooms were on the third floor. I'm not sure how pet friendly that is... The one motel I stayed in had just one side of the building that was dog friendly. This would have been fine, except that the dog friendly side of the building had absolutely no grassy area (not even a small grassy patch!) to walk the dog on, so I had to walk to the not dog friendly side, where there was a huge grassy field. Not the best planning in the world, lol. The one big issue across the board was that dogs aren't allowed in the breakfast areas. I get it, there's food out, it's a health hazard, etc, but most hotels don't allow you to leave the dog alone in the room (which I would NEVER do anyway) so when they would then tell me about the breakfast I was like "umm...you just said I can't leave her alone in the room & that I can't bring her in the breakfast area soooo..." Fortunately I had planned ahead & brought a cooler with me so I had everything I needed. ;-)

  • Pet friendly traveling
    10/28/2015 11:58am

    When we moved to East TN from So FL we had mixed results with pet friendly. One place did not allow but did not notice sign till after registering we were tired it was Midnight so we snuck our 2 cats and one dog and left about 6 the next morning. We arrived at out destination and our place was not ready so had to stay in a hotel for about 3 days thank heavens they were pet friendly. Did request a room on ground level and near the end of the building so not many walked by.

  • 10/29/2015 10:19pm

    I manage an extended stay property for Marriott and we are most definitely pet-friendly with a few basic conditions.

    We simply ask our guests to sign a basic pet agreement upon check-in (really obvious stuff...like do not leave your dog for extended periods of time, please crate in your absence, use the designated potty areas, etc...) and of course, we do charge a one-time, $100 non-refundable pet cleaning/recovery fee.

    I can't even begin to tell you how much pushback we get from guests as it pertains to the fee.

    While I understand that an extra $100 may represent a burden to some travelers, we're an extended-stay property and the $100 covers your pets for the duration of your visit. In many cases, we have guests who stay two weeks...a month....three months or more. When you crunch the numbers, it is a far more economical alternative, not to mention a more comforting experience for your animal, than to spend the time in and be subjected to the dangers of..... a kennel. As someone who has multiple pets, I can assure you that most boarding services run roughly $35-40 a night on average, at least in our area.

    As you can see, the cleaning fee is extremely reasonable when you look at it in that context.

  • Traveling w/ Lily n Dulce
    10/29/2015 11:36pm

    Hello Carol and Others,
    My husband and I travel everywhere with my lab and my golden. We are constantly searching out new "pet friendly" hotels. Besides everything you mentioned Carol (which was spot on).. I always make sure that the hotel has some sort of green spot for my girls to use the bathroom. They don't like going on cement and it can be very difficult for them at times if the hotel doesn't have a designated space for animals to do their business. Also, I always check on the weight limit as well since my lab is a big girl.
    I must admit that I get annoyed at pet fees. I do not mind if they charge me a deposit and then return to me when they see their room is in perfect shape; but to charge me simply because I brought my dog with me I find very hypocritical. If you are going to charge me for simply having my dog, then you are not truly "pet friendly". I know many many many a children and teenagers and even some adults that are much more destructive to others property than my dogs are.

  • 10/30/2015 02:10am

    From some of our experiences, I'd rather have a few dogs or cats in a hotel then some people, and kids. Most dogs are better behaved than some children.

  • 10/30/2015 04:24am

    I see no problem charging someone a nominal fee ($100 or less) for an extended stay with an accompanying pet. The alternative is to kennel your dog at a nightly rate of $30 or higher. So, yes, you're seeing a huge savings when your dog tags along with you and it's a flat, one time charge. I absolutely think that's reasonable.

    My problem is when hotels are imposing fees of $100-150 for the dog to stay one or two nights. That's excessive and nothing more than a source of revenue for the property.

  • Travel with my dog
    10/31/2015 04:01am

    When I relocated to Charleston SC, I stayed at a Best Western. No extra cost, no deposit. 50 pound mix breed (Huskie/Shepherd) who was 8 yrs @ the time. I did have a blanket for the spare bed that he slept on. No problems, no hassle even when I left him for 3 - 5 hours. He's not a barker & I made sure the room was cleaned before I left.

  • pets smoking
    10/31/2015 04:30am

    We have checked in to 'pet friendly' motels with dogs, and been given a room where the motel has allowed smoking. I suppose they lumped it all into one category.

  • We are "Pet Friendly"
    11/09/2015 02:30pm

    We own a "pet friendly" cottage colony on Squam Lake in Holderness, NH - www.cottageplaceonsquam.com. We decided to allow pets because we own Newfoundland dogs (which are the ultimate companion dogs) and know how much they enjoy being with us. We wanted that for our guests. In the 13 years of allowing pets on our property, we have had very few incompatible situations. Pets are allowed anywhere on the property as long as they are under complete control of their owner - this is to prevent somebody's pet bothering someone who is not traveling with a pet, as well as keeping the pet safe. We own a sandy beach and water front so there is definitely extra cleaning when a pet visits. We do charge $25 daily per pet per night as that fee is comparable to boarding your pet instead of bringing your pet - no limit on number of pets. It will take us an hour to an hour and 1/2 longer to clean our cottages after pet(s) stay with us. We are not grumpy about that, as we have built in a cost for that. Yes, some travelers are great about cleaning up after their pets and SOME are NOT (both inside and outside). I really appreciate that Carol brings her own extra linen for the bed and couches - MOST people do not - sometimes they even ask us for extra linen. So please know that while you may feel you are meticulous, we still find a cottage that hosted a pet to be way more work as everything in the cottage must be stripped - sometimes even the curtains and definitely all rugs, quilts, pillows - laundered and replaced. Also properties who allow pets, sometimes have increased insurance premiums - pets bite other pets, children, people and insurance companies assign a risk of destruction and liability which means we pay higher premiums. We do not want our rates to increase to compensate for extra cleaning, extra liability of being "pet friendly" so we assign a nominal fee which is comparable to boarding to help us run our small business. There are many reasons why other properties WILL NOT allow pets. Please be understanding of the necessary fee.

    Also, I am very confused about the definition of "service animal" and feel that those pets should also be subject to a fee - they shed and track just like all the rest of the pets. Thank you for providing all the links so I can become a bit more educated about this subject.

    I really enjoyed this article. My comments are meant to be informative and not at all argumentative. Sue

  • 12/28/2015 03:18am

    Hi Sue,
    There is a lot of confusion about service animals. I have had service dogs for 15 years now, and it's not easy. According to the ADA, a service animal must be a dog, individually trained to do work or perform tasks that is directly related to the disability of its handler. The dog is considered "medical equipment."
    That being said, I love my dog. He pulls my wheelchair, picks up things I drop, and helps me up off the floor. He gets me through the snow in the winter. When I take off his harness and give him the "release" command, he is treated as a pet, and can meet other dogs, play, and have fun.
    The law says you can't charge extra for someone to bring a service animal because it is treated like a piece of medical equipment. (for the law's purpose) Even though dogs shed, track in mud, etc., they're still considered equipment similar to my wheelchair. It's hard to understand sometimes, because dogs have personalities. No one ever asks to pet my wheelchair!
    Cleaning up after a service dog, like any other dog, takes time. So does cleaning up after someone who uses a wheelchair. I bring rags, spin my wheels on the welcome mat, and do everything I can NOT to track in mud when the weather is bad, but I've left some muddy "wheelprints" myself, which I can't clean, although I try.
    I don't travel often anymore, but before I had service dogs, I raced wheelchairs for the USA. Cab drivers would try to charge more, because putting the wheelchair in the trunk was extra work. In Europe, they tried to keep us off a train because we didn't call ahead to tell them we used wheelchairs. We were refused service at restaurants because our wheelchairs "took up too much space." If you change the word "wheelchair" to "service dog" it might help you understand the reason behind the rule. If I leave my dog behind, I'm stuck, just as if I had left my wheelchair behind.
    People will claim their dog is a service dog, and businesses can only ask whether the dog is trained to assist you and what it does for you. That's the part of the law that causes so much confusion! People constantly bring dogs into our store, saying they're service dogs. Some are, but others just seem to be pets - they don't act appropriately - jumping on things, snarling at my dog (who's usually under the counter where I work) or barking and sniffing. If we say something, we're liable. It is hard to fix the law, but good people are working on it.
    I hope this helps you understand a little more. Someday, I would love to go on a vacation with my dog. Your place sounds wonderful!

  • Why no fee 4 SDs
    11/12/2015 02:14am

    I forget who said something about charging service dogs a clean up fee As a person who has a service dog, I can answer that for you. It is most likely because service dogs are considered medical devices

  • Hotel fees
    11/14/2015 03:50am

    I have 3 chihuahuas, I travel with kennels, I cover the hotels crappy furniture etc. with my travel sheets, I have wee pads (just in case). I never leave them alone in a room, we are quite. Other guests don't know we are there unless they actually see us. I have never left a doggie mess, nothing has been chewed or whizzed on!

    I have always been charged a "deposit" of at least $50 PER DOG.
    The "deposit" ($150) usually costs more than the room!

  • 11/14/2015 03:54am

    FYI - The "deposit" is a DAILY charge.

  • Pet Friendly Hotel Worker
    11/15/2015 01:05pm

    I work front desk at a hotel in Oklahoma, and we are pet friendly. Yes there is a pet weight restriction and a "pet limit"; but, at least at our hotel, if you are honest when you make your reservation and let us know that you have 3 dogs, we let it slide. I, personally, work the night audit shift, and I will tell my guests who have 2 or 3 smaller dogs that I am only going to charge them the pet fee ($10) for one pet, not for each pet. The guests who have larger pets, really never complain about paying $10 per pet. Each hotel is different, but I am an animal lover, so I do the best I can for our pet parents here at the Baymont Inn & Suites in Oklahoma City.

  • Breed Restrictions
    11/30/2015 11:31pm

    I often get turned away because of the breed/size restrictions hotels have. My 60lb American Bulldog/Staffie/Pitbull mix causes people to be alarmed for no reason. I have to check the area in advance to make sure she is allowed in that city first and then have to find a hotel that will accept her. I often end up camping in a tent but even campgrounds have breed restrictions in many areas. The key is to do your research, call ahead, and be clear on their policies/expectations no matter what the breed and size.

  • Dogs of all sizes welcome
    12/08/2015 04:18am

    The Kimpton hotel chain is one I try to support if I can swing the cost. They welcome dogs of all sizes and all breeds. I believe their policy if pretty straightforward. I joined their rewards program which offers a number of a perks that can make up for the cost of the rooms. The first time we were there, they were offering pictures with Santa for the dog guests. Dogs also get a welcome basket. Perks of the rewards program can include free WIFI, free happy hour, $10 mini-bar credit, and we were able to find a deal that offered free parking with our stay which saved money as well. Just sharing that it's worth looking into - we try to support just because so many places won't accept our dog - too big, wrong breed (AmStaff).

  • Alpine Lodge
    12/08/2015 02:05pm

    Alpine Lodge in Cookeville TN is pet-friendly. They do charge a modest fee, but the seem to accept many breeds. They had no problem with my 100-pound GSD and when some of the staff saw us in the hall, they all wanted to pet him and love on him. Most people are afraid of him because of his size and breed, so I was pleasantly surprised. They also gave us a room next to the outside doors, plus a room on the first floor that also had a patio with French doors for easy in and out. Their only requirement was to not leave him alone in the room. http://www.alpinelodge.org/

  • Pets Welcome!
    12/21/2015 10:03pm

    I manage a Best Western and a Days Inn in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Both hotels are pet friendly with certain restrictions. We have a limited number of "Pet Friendly" rooms, which, by the way, are renovated at the same time all the other rooms are.
    First bit of advice: Do call ahead and let the hotel know you have a pet if your reservation is made with anybody except the individual property. Expedia, Hotels.com, etc are famous in the industry for "run of house" rooms (that means smoking, non-smoking, pet, non-pet - whatever is available) and NOT letting the hotel know you have a pet. When you show up with a pet and there are no pet rooms available, you can end up with a big problem.
    All of our pet rooms are located on ground floor (I don't want to have to take my dog on a long trip if he has to "go" at 2 am). We do charge a $10 per night per room fee in order to cover the costs of extra cleaning. That extra cleaning/maintenance involves supplying a "poop station," more deep cleans in a year, extra carpet cleanings, extra exterminator visits, etc. By doing all of this, we are able to present each guest a room that is completely equivalent to all the rest and does not tempt a fur baby to "mark" any territory.
    We do not take some exotics. Though I personally have no objections, I think I might lose some housekeepers who went into a room where a pet boa constrictor was staying - lol. That said, we have had birds, cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits and sugar babies as guests.
    As for larger dogs, we do have an 80 lb limit, but are not too strict on that. I think most hotels have a limit in order to limit the size and quantity of the poop piles that some owners do not take time to clean up as well as the amount of cleanup it takes if the larger dog has an "accident" in the room.
    I travel with a service dog and a pet dog. I try to treat all of our furry guests the way I want my animals treated. If owners would do the same for the hotel property, I think that pet friendly hotels might be a bit more friendly.
    Just using our hotels to maybe clarify the thinking behind some hotels' pet policies.

  • Travel with service dog
    01/04/2016 01:08am

    I have reasons both for and against lodging at pet friendly motels. FOR - 1) If a motel has a fenced area for dogs he can play and have some fun. 2) Since any dog is allowed, I don't get nasty looks about having my dog there. 3) I don't have to worry about arguing with a desk clerk about allowing my dog there. AGAINST - 1) I don't get blamed for damage that someone else's dog did just because it was overlooked when that other dog checked out but not when we did. 2) I don't get blamed because someone else didn't pick up after their dog (that has happened to me). 3) I don't get blamed for noise that another dog makes. 4) I don't have to tolerate other dogs who are ill mannered and bark at my dog. 5) I don't have to tolerate some family who walks "Fluffy" around the motel grounds and they let "Fluffy" run all up on my dog thinking it is funny, or cute. The "DO NOT PET ME" patch on my dog's gear means "DO NOT DISTRACT ME", not just do not pet me, but given the number of ppl who reach out and pet my dog without asking thinking it's appropriate, you can imagine how many think letting their dog interact with mine think that is appropriate. So I have reasons for wanting to stay in both pet friendly and non pet friendly lodging. It's a tossup.

  • Door Locks an Issue
    01/28/2016 08:45pm

    When staying at a pet friendly Day's Inn in Virginia, we encountered a problem. They allowed the dog to be left in the room during the day, but the door opened inward, but all it took was a gentle downward press to get the door to open. Our dog would jump at the door when a stranger went by, and hit the handle. The door would become unlocked and open a crack - just enough for the dog to get out.

  • 05/19/2016 07:03pm

    We always take a collapsible playpen for our dog. He can have his water/food a dog bed, blanket and a puppy pad inside it. Then we turn on music soft to cover noises in the hallway, put his ThunderShirt on him and hang up the do not disturb sign. He never barks and has done really well traveling.

  • fleas
    01/29/2016 02:32am

    A flea can transmit a tapeworm. Did the previous animal guest have fleas? How well are those rooms cleaned???

  • Pets and camping
    01/29/2016 05:37am

    My husband and I have been campground host in the past for National Parks and it is important to follow the campground rules also. All National parks have a pets on 6 foot leash rule that is probably one of the most broken rules in the park system. I couldn't even count the number of times I asked someone to put their dog on a leash. The response was almost always my dog is friendly and won't bite anyone. However that is not the only reason the rule is in place. Once there was a couple visiting our campground with a very small dog. I asked her many times over several days to put the dog on a leash. Every time I turned my back she let it off. During the weekend a couple arrived with two very large dogs which they did keep on six foot leashes they were either holding or had tied to a very sturdy picnic table. The small dog was running loose again and it ran down to the large dogs campsite and barked at them. Before anyone could move the large dogs grabbed him and tore him to pieces between them. The dogs did not appear to be aggressive toward people at all. The rangers were called and they told the small dog owner it was her fault for breaking the rules. She was of course very upset. My point is that even when you are traveling in your own RV or tent it is important to know the rules and follow them.

  • 04/26/2016 09:06pm

    As a retired Forest Service employee and a frequent visitor to National and State Parks, dogs should be leashed (cats too for that matter) for additional reasons than just encounters with other pets. National Parks are wild areas where most folks want to be able to see wildlife. Well, wildlife can be wild and dangerous not only to humans but to their pets. Sure we all can recognize that grizzles can be dangerous, but deer can seriously injure both humans and pets, particularly if Fido corners one. Several bird species can be rare or endangered and your kitty is a threat to them. Owls, eagles, or hawks, in turn may be a threat to your kitty or small dog. Use a leash or other means of restraint to keep your pet close to you and do not leave them tied and unattended. Wildlife can also carry diseases like rabies (foxes, skunks, bats etc.). Wildlife you may think of as cute and cuddly can also inflict serious damage. For instance that cute midnight bandit, the raccoon, is no wimp if threatened. So have a safe trip and leash your family pets when camping.

  • Cheri
    02/16/2016 05:57pm

    We have periodically stayed in Amarillo, Texas at the Drury Inn located on I-40 @ S Soncy Rd (FM 335) on our way so see our son in southern NM. It is pet friendly! There is a small fee and a few normal rules to follow. Their pet walking areas are lush green grass on the perimeter of the facility and there are adequate receptacles for dog poo clean up: plastic bags with trash can. We have taken the dogs through the lobby to the elevator (one dog will NOT use the stairs) when staying on the upper floors and also when staying on the first floor. The rooms are lovely and clean and the staff are accommodating. We kennel our dogs at night so they have familiar surroundings but do not leave them alone in the room. There are many good restaurants around the immediate area so we get take out for dinner and eat in the room.

  • La Quinta
    04/29/2016 02:54am

    We travel with an 11 yr. old Shih Tzu and always stay at La Quinta. There has never been a charge for her and the staffs almost always give her treats while we are there. They also have nice walking parks for the pets to use. We have not found a comparable pet friendly motel in any state we have traveled. They are clean and cost-effective for us.

  • Highly Suggest
    08/13/2016 08:51pm

    On 7/09/16 I stayed @ the Lee-Jackson in Winchester VA. I'd give them 5 stars. Clean, easy to take out my Cavapoo. Each person in registration came out to pet her. Very pleased. I have no affiliation to Best Western. Sincerely happy to suggest them.

  • Some are scams
    09/14/2016 06:24pm

    Some of these "pet friendly" hotels are scams. One I walked away from was going to charge a nonrefundable $50 per dog (although I, like the author, always cover all the furniture and my dogs are well-behaved) and then put me in a room five feet from a busy highway. So not only are they able to rent an otherwise unrentable room, but then get an extra $100 for no extra work. I had similar experiences (although not quite that bad) at ALL the "pet friendly" hotels I used on that trip (west coast).

    I had a very different experience at La Quinta in Twin Falls, where not only was the room great, but there was also no extra charge or even deposit.They did group the pet rooms together, I think, so that the people exposed to barking dogs were themselves dog-people.

  • weight limits
    10/17/2016 06:48pm

    Have run into issue of weight limits.

    Some hotels will only accept dogs under 30lbs or so.

    Thus, a Golden Retriever is to zaftig to stay.


  • Used to travel with pets
    10/26/2016 06:10pm

    I no longer take my pets when I travel. We arrived once in a very known and excellent brand hotel without fleas and we left with them. A pet sitter at home is much better for them and me.

  • Recent Experience
    11/01/2016 02:29pm

    We recently spent a total of 6 nights at La Quinta Inns in the South with our 40-lb mixed breed 2 yo dog. It was her maiden voyage for a long car trip, and went exceedingly well. The article gives sound advice. She is very shy, so we brought her kennel to provide a refuge for which she was grateful. We didn't leave her alone in the room at any time. There was no extra charge, and she was warmly welcomed; the guests who had pets tended to be in the same wing. In 6 nights, we heard 2 muffled woofs about 6:30 p.m., and one night about 9 p.m. a Yorkie across the hall barked twice when an employee came to the door to check on a problem with the internet in that room. Other than that, there was perfect silence in our wing--much more so than when we have shared floors with athletic teams where there tended to be kids pounding back and forth outside our rooms, or adults who don't have inside voices, or blared their tv's in the next rooms. I am considering pretending to have the dog along when next we take a trip without her--the pets and their humans were delightful.

  • Traveling with pets
    11/16/2016 11:04pm

    Your article is spot on! We are just beginning to travel with our dogs and have had good and bad experiences. I generally do a lot of research before staying at a hotel. We ask for a couple of sheets upon check in to cover the bed and couch. Also, if the fees for dogs are high, I take that to mean they really don't want dogs.

  • Pet Deposits vs Fees
    11/21/2016 12:18am

    A few years ago we were traveling with our dog (miniature Schnauzer) and we stopped at a "pet friendly" hotel. When we checked in, the desk clerk said that there was a $200 pet deposit. I said I knew that from their advertising and I had no problem giving the hotel a deposit. The next day when we left the hotel charged me the $200 despite the fact that there had been no issues with our dog who'd been quiet as a mouse the whole time. The room was in the same condition as when we arrived. I was hot. I told the clerk that since there was no damage and no issues, I wanted my deposit back. He said, "No, it's a non-refundable deposit." I said "That's not what your advertising said." He stuck to his guns and I was out $200. As I left, I said, "If it's non-refundable then it's a "FEE" because deposits are just that and are refundable. You need to change your listing." We never stayed at that hotel again.

  • Pet Friendly Travel
    11/26/2016 03:11am

    So far we have had positive experiences traveling with our 6 pound Maltese. We have our faves to stay at and always book early. One thing I've learned and always like to pass on is when booking at a place you've frequented, ask if they will waive the pet fee. We also ask when staying somewhere we've not stayed before if they'll waive the fee because she is so small, and we do not leave her alone. Typically they will, our faves have started doing so as well as they know we take care of our room, and she's not caused problems, or made messes. We take pee pads with us for overnights in case she doesn't wake us up, which rarely happens. But she also is finicky when it comes to the weather outside, so sometimes she won't do her business if it's rainy or too cold. Thank You for the tips above in the article!

  • "Pet Friendly" lodging
    11/30/2016 08:46pm

    We just returned from a 5,200 mile round trip from Western Pennsylvania to the Oregon coast with our 7 pound Chihuahua and here is what we found during 8 hotel/motel stays along the route.

    At some point each day, we plotted where we would stop driving and began calling hotels and motels in that area to ask if they accepted pets.

    We found the decision to be pet friendly was one made by the franchisee and not by the parent company. Therefore, Hotel X in Davenport, Iowa may not accept your pet; but Hotel X in Cheyenne, Wyoming might.

    Most of the larger hotel/motel chains were not pet friendly. Hampton, Marriott, Hilton, etc. And if they were pet friendly, there were charges from $15.00 to $75.00 per pet, per night.

    The smaller motels (Super 8, Quality Inn, Comfort Inn and mom & pop locations) were more likely to be pet friendly, but not always. Most had no charge for pets.

    The only pet policy more annoying than lodging, is air travel. For most airlines, there is no charge for one carry-on bag that fits under the seat and can weigh as much as 50 pounds...but if you put an 8 pound dog or cat in that same size bag under the seat, expect to pay $150.00 or more for a one-way, cross country flight.

  • Pet Friendly?
    12/08/2016 10:44pm

    Some hotels may have sprayed the room for bugs. Some dogs may have a very bad reaction to the spray. Been there....if your puppy starts scratching and crying, get it to a vet immediately. Not all hotels will admit to spraying for bugs.

  • Cleaning fee
    12/28/2016 11:32pm

    I can understand the *need* for an extra cleaning fee, because I am familiar with some of the extra steps necessary to clean a room with special equipment like a pet dander vacuum, enzyme sprays and other things that are necessary to remove any traces of pet occupation even for clean, non-damaging pets. I would just hope that the hotel charging this fee actually *performed* those extra steps. Cat allergies are not the only debilitating pet allergies; I am so severely allergic to dogs that physical contact with a dog's nose or a lick leaves raised welts on my skin, and breathing dog dander can lay me up for a day or two. I stay out of homes where dogs live, it's just not a safe environment for me. If I am going to stay in a hotel that is part of a major chain, I have to trust to some point that they can clean to a standard that will keep me from getting sick under normal circumstances. If they do the same exact cleaning whether a pet has stayed in the room or not, then not only are they cheating the pet traveler blatantly, but they are endangering other customers with a false assurance of safety. I guess it'd be an important thing to check up on for either type of traveler!

  • Survey the room first
    01/04/2017 10:17pm

    I travel several times each year with my small terrier to dog sport competitions. One thing I do before letting my dog run around the room is take a strong flashlight and look on the floor, under the bed, etc., for pills, food or other things I don't want my dog to eat or have contact with. I've had good luck with LaQuinta -- I think almost all allow dogs with no fee. Some of hotels in the Wyndham chain allow dogs, too. Both have rewards programs.

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