Pet owners often complain about how difficult it is to find pet-friendly accommodations. It seems particularly unfair when our pets are both quiet and better behaved than many human guests!
Unfortunately, some hotels have a reason that they won’t allow pets (or have very strict pet policies that may seem unreasonable to many pet owners): someone, sometime, even if it’s in the dim, dark past, has allowed their pet to run amok. Maybe the pet has disturbed or frightened other guests. Perhaps the pet destroyed the room. Even if this type of thing happened “only once,” it’s often enough to cause them to put a stricter pet policy in place—or even disallow pets altogether.
You and your visiting pet are ambassadors for all of “pet-dom” when you travel.
- Choose accommodation that is suitable for your pet. If your pet doesn’t like other animals, don’t vacation at a ranch or a Bed & Breakfast where resident pets might mingle with guest pets. If your pet likes to bark at strangers, choose a private cottage over a busy hotel. There’s a wide variety of pet-friendly accommodations available that should make your choice easier.
- Your pet should have good house manners. Obviously he should be reliably housetrained, shouldn’t chew or scratch, should be quiet (or will be quiet on command), and should not run gleefully around the room, knocking things over or breaking them.
- Let other guests (including guest pets) enjoy their stay in peace. Some people are afraid, allergic, or simply don’t enjoy pets the same way we do. If your dog is prone to barking, don’t leave him unattended in the room (even if the hotel’s pet policy allows you to do so). Don’t allow your pet to jump on or rush at other guests, or lick them or lean on them unless you know it’s okay with them. People who love pets will often give you some pretty clear signs!
- Don’t allow your pet to approach guest pets at will, either. Some animals don’t enjoy meeting “strange” pets. Ask permission if you want to introduce them. It’ll help keep the peace!
- Remember that even the best-behaved pet can exhibit behavior they normally would not, when they’re in an unfamiliar place. Barking dogs are one of the biggest concerns since they disturb other guests. Do not leave your pet unattended unless you have permission—and even then, notify the front desk and leave them your cell phone number. If you know your dog has a tendency to bark then do not leave him unattended even if you do have permission.
- Keep your pet under control at all times. No enthusiastic running through the lobby, halls, or the grounds! If your accommodation allows dogs to run off-leash (and some do, such as resorts or cottages located in secluded areas), make sure he comes on recall. Pets can become confused in unfamiliar surroundings … plus there may be wildlife in the area.
- Take responsibility for any damages your pet does. Accidents can happen even with the most well-behaved pet.
- Respect the pet policy. One pet owner might not mind that pets aren’t supposed to use the furniture (since Fido never uses it at home anyways), while another may see that as unacceptable. If you don’t agree with the pet policy, either come to an agreement with the accommodation before you book your stay—or find a different place whose pet policy is more in line with your own.
- Always pick up after your dog. Bring along your own supply of bags for this purpose, even if the accommodation says that doggie bags are provided.
- Try to keep your lodging free from dirty paw prints, excessive fur, etc. Bring a towel or two to wipe the pooch off after a hard day at play.
Remember that both you and your visiting pet are “goodwill ambassadors” who represent all of the furry and feathered friends that might want to visit in the future. Let’s all do our part to demonstrate that pets do make good guests, and that they deserve to be welcome—just like the rest of the family.
Originally published on Pet Friendly Canada