Tips For Staying At A Hotel With Your Dog

Filed Under: Hotels

I recently published a review of a hotel stay where we brought our dog, Winston. I read all the nice comments to Winston and he very much appreciates them (though next time he would prefer turkey in the mail from you guys rather than nice comments). 😉

A couple of readers asked if I could write a bit more about the process of having a dog with you in a hotel, for those who may have dogs but who may not have done so before.

I’m by no means an “expert” when it comes to pet travel, though I’ll gladly share my experiences.

A bit about Winston…

First let me talk a bit about Winston, because, well, what dog lover doesn’t love to talk about their dog? I’m not just sharing this because I love him so much, but because I think it’s useful context for some of the challenges he has with hotels.

Winston is four years old, and we’ve had him for about two years. We got him from a shelter, and not only that, but he was half off, since he had been there for a month… talk about the best $60 we ever spent!

Winston had been brought to a shelter as a puppy (not by the owner, so he was found), and then somehow he ended up there again about 18 months later. He was chipped during his first time being brought there (since they do that to shelter dogs), so they tried to contact his family, but I guess they didn’t want him.

We fell in love with Winston the second we saw him. Most dogs in shelters are incredibly subdued because it’s just absolutely awful there, but when we walked by Winston, he was dancing on his hind legs with a big smile on his face. I can’t believe he had been there for a month and no one wanted him.

Below is him with Ford the second we got him (suffice to say he needed a good haircut and wash, because he was filthy, cute as he was).

“I can’t see what’s going on, but I like it!”

Anyway, that’s everyone else’s loss, because he’s with us forever now.

While it’s not the point of this post, let me say that if you’re someone who hasn’t considered adopting a dog (over buying one from a breeder), I’d highly recommend doing so. There are so many dogs who need homes who have so much love to give, and it’s sad how many of them are put down.

Growing up (when I was very young) we “bought” two dogs from a breeder, and after Winston I know that I’ll only be getting dogs at the shelter in the future.

No judgment to those who buy their dogs, but you’d be surprised by how many incredible dogs there are who want nothing more than to feel loved and secure.

Winston has abandonment issues

As is to be expected given his past, Winston has some abandonment issues. Fortunately he has come such a long way since we got him.

When we first got him he would cry in the most heartbreaking way if we even left home for an hour. He had such a terrible fear of being abandoned. I’d say that was the case for months, and then eventually he got much better.

Nowadays he is very happy if we just lock him in our bedroom at home, turn on some relaxing dog music (it’s a thing on YouTube), lay out his favorite blanket on the bed, and dim the lights.

“Posing for my next portrait!”

Heck, we just have to say “Winston, nap time,” and he runs to the bed. Typically he doesn’t move between the time we leave and when we get back, and his face is usually “smushed” on one side.

While Winston has gotten very comfortable at home, when we travel with him, all bets are off. Even when he’s with us, he still hates being in an unfamiliar environment:

  • He gets so depressed when he sees us packing our bags, even if we’re taking him with us
  • He hates being alone in a hotel room
  • Even if he’s sleeping with us, he often wakes up in the middle of the night and is very alert when he hears noises in the hallways, doors slamming, etc.

Tips for staying in hotels with dogs

With the above out of the way, I wanted to share some general tips and thoughts I have on staying with dogs in hotels. Again, this is all just based on my own experience, and I encourage others to share their experiences as well.

How do you figure out if a hotel is pet friendly?

This is fairly obvious, though generally I just do a quick web search for the hotel’s name and “pet friendly.” This either brings me to the hotel’s website directly, or to, which is great for figuring out if a hotel is pet friendly or not.

If I see it on the hotel’s website I assume it’s accurate, while if I see it on BringFido I still try to check the hotel’s website to verify. If the hotel’s website isn’t clear, I’ll call the hotel to ask.

Note restrictions on the number of pets, size limits, etc.

Even among the global chains there’s quite a bit of inconsistency when it comes to whether or not hotels are pet friendly. Kimpton is perhaps the exception, and is known for just how pet friendly they are.

“Two paws up for Kimpton!”

How much is the pet fee at a hotel?

The fee for bringing your pet varies by hotel. Some charge a flat rate per stay, some charge a per night fee, some charge different amounts if you have two dogs, etc. In general I’ve found the fee to be anywhere from $50 to $200, so there’s huge variance.

A couple of things to note:

  • Some people claim that they get the pet fee waived if they have an emotional support animal; personally that’s not something I’m comfortable requesting (even if, theoretically, Winston were certified for that, because I think it’s reasonable for hotels to charge something, and I want to encourage them to continue to be pet friendly)
  • I know some people just sneak their dog in, which realistically is easy enough to do, especially at bigger hotels, though it’s not something I’ve done

Do you have to let a hotel know in advance if you’re bringing a pet?

I know some hotels prefer if you let them know in advance if you’re bringing a pet, though it’s something I only very rarely do. I’m just not a good planner, and there are all kinds of emails I should probably send hotels before arrival that I don’t.

I usually just let them know at check-in (assuming they’re pet friendly), and have never had an issue.

However, others have mentioned that they have run into issues in these situations, as only a limited number of rooms may be pet friendly. It seems the best practice here is to let the hotel know in advance.

“I like to arrive unannounced.”

What should you know once you’re at the hotel with your pet?

Typically you’re asked to sign a pet waiver, the exact details of which vary by hotel:

  • Most hotels ask you to put a special sign or do not disturb sign on your door when your pet is there, so housekeeping doesn’t accidentally enter
  • Many hotels require that you don’t leave your dog unattended at any time; of course you’ll know your own dog best, and realistically I’d have no qualms leaving my dog alone if the dog was comfortable with it and won’t cause any problems (even if it violates the rules)
  • There are usually restrictions on what parts of the hotels you can bring your pets to, where they should do their business, etc.

Traveling with a pet might not be as fun as you’d expect

The thought of staying in a hotel with a pet probably sounds really fun, though if you haven’t done it yet, note that it might not be as fun as it sounds. Take Winston, for example. He’s so nervous when he’s in hotels alone, and really doesn’t enjoy it.

He’d much rather stay with one of his grandmas, even if he misses us.

“I like staying with grandmas, they never Bonvoy me!”

But even for Winston, sometimes taking him along is still the best option:

  • When we visit Ford’s mom in West Palm Beach, it’s only a ~90 minute drive away, and it’s easiest to just take Winston
  • Throughout my mom’s cancer treatment we’ve often taken Winston with us to Tampa since we just don’t know how long we’ll be there, and in cases where there is no one else who can take care of him

“Who says I’m not an emotional support animal?!”

That proved pretty problematic last year. For the most part my dad was coming to our hotel during the day to watch Winston while we went to the hospital.

However, one morning when my mom was having an emergency surgery at 4AM we ran to the hospital and left Winston behind, and 15 minutes later the hotel called us and said that Winston was crying uncontrollably. Grrrr…

Make the room as familiar for your pet as you can

If you are taking your pet to a hotel, make the room as familiar as possible. Everyone knows what makes their dog most comfortable, so whether that’s bringing some familiar toys, some clothing that smells like you, a blanket, or a bed, that can go a long way to making your pet feel at home.

“I just brought a few of my friends”

Plan your travel differently if you take a pet

Like I said, everyone knows their own pet best. If your pet is happy alone in a hotel room then this is all a non-issue. For the rest of us, it can make sense to plan your hotel stay differently with a pet in tow.

Plan dog friendly activities, look at restaurants where you can take your pets, etc.

My question: how do you get pet sitting at hotels?

Here’s something I’m curious about, which sure could come in handy. For those situations where we do take Winston to hotels, I always wonder if there’s any practical service for last minute petsitting.

I know there are some dog walking and dog sitting apps out there, etc., but is there a practical/non-creepy option when you’re staying in a hotel room? Like, I feel like it sounds creepy to ask a stranger to sit in your hotel room and watch your dog, so I’m curious if anyone has any advice in that regard.

“Ew, can’t you leave your pet at home?”

Lastly, to address the inevitable comments from some about why we can’t leave our pets at home…

If you don’t like hotels with pets, don’t stay at pet friendly hotels. Hotels aren’t pet friendly because the global hotel chains are charitable, but rather because they’ve decided it’s good for business — not only can they charge fees for pets, but many people will choose certain hotels for being pet friendly.

If you don’t like it, there are plenty of hotels you can stay at that aren’t pet friendly.

Bottom line

The above are some of my tips and thoughts when traveling with Winston, and I’d certainly welcome thoughts from others about traveling with pets.

I guess my simple advice is to know the policies of hotels, and don’t assume that your pet will like traveling as much as you do. The unfamiliarity may scare them, and they might just be happier at home. At least that’s the case for some dogs, while some more adventurous dogs love it.

If you’ve traveled with your pet, what was your experience like?

  1. You forgot the most important part that will make life easier as far as staff and judging eyes…

    Have an unbelievably cute pet!

  2. I have three cats and I really think that they should stay at home, where they are used to be… It’s stressful to them to be one day in one place and the next day in another. It’s incredible selfish of you to put him under these circumstances

  3. @ Gomes — First of all, cats are different than dogs, and can actually stay home alone. I can’t do that with my dog. Second, what are you suggesting a better option is? You think he finds it less stressful to be in a “doggy hotel?”

  4. Lucky – Cats aren’t that different from dogs. They can’t be alone. They need as much supervision as any given dog. I really suggest that you hire someone to look after him whenever you have to travel. In my case, since my cats aren’t treated like pets but as family members, if my husband and I are out of town, I simply ask my veterinarian to come to my home the watch them of about one hour each day. But, I reckon that I’m not American and I don’t freak out if someone that I trust come to my place… just my two cents

  5. We used to take our pug Fonzie on all of our road trips all over the USA. Red roof inns were great. Mid priced hotels, pet friendly and no extra charges! We also used for pet sitters when we had to go out and Fonzie wasn’t welcomed. Awesome experiences with them. A quick meet n greet at their home to make sure Fonzie would be comfortable. Then drop off on the way out and pickup on the way back to the hotel. Nothing creepy just great experiences with some wonderful fellow dog lovers. Also a lot of hospitals don’t mind if you bring along your pet to visit. Great for the patients as well as the owners.

  6. I think you’ve gotten lucky with not notifying the hotel in advance you’re bring a pet. I’ve had numerous hotels where there are a finite number of pet-friendly rooms (e.g. west wing of first floor) so that they can keep the majority of the hotel pet-free. I learned the hard way to always call in advance, even if it’s just one day’s notice.

  7. What I’ve always wondered about pet friendly hotels is how they manage the allergy side of it. I assume that some people who are severely allergic to dogs might unknowingly check in a room where a dog previously stayed, so I wonder if that’s a risk hotels take or if there are specific cleaning procedures after a guest brought a pet (I have cats, and the whole allergen cleaning routine is SUCH a pain and very time consuming).

  8. @ Gomes — I don’t know what kind of dogs and cats we’re comparing here, but I know plenty of people who have cats and leave them home alone for days at a time. One can’t do that with dogs, unless they’re somehow trained to go in a litter box or have an easy way to go outside.

    As far as your vet situation goes, Winston would be downright impressed if he were only around a human for one hour per day.

    I think it makes sense to recognize that not everyone’s pet is the same. I know Winston is much happier being with us for 80% of the time when we travel, rather than being home alone and having someone around for 5% of the time.

  9. Great post, even not counting Winston’s adorable face! We too have a small rescue dog and much of your situation rings true for us as well. I’d second Rover; if the person is reputable, we have no qualms about having them chill in our room with the dog while we’re out on the town (just keep valuables in the safe).

    One nuance to bear in mind is that some hotels restrict dogs to certain floors or banks of rooms, or have other restrictions that aren’t visible or well-integrated on the frontend during booking. We stayed at a boutique hotel that was recently re-flagged as a DoubleTree, booked a high-floor view suite with Honors points and checked the pet box during booking. When we checked in we were informed that dogs were restricted to the bottom two floors, forced downgrade from our confirmed room type. There was also a pet fee that wasn’t disclosed in the Hilton booking channel or property page. The next day, the GM was apologetic and acknowledged some unresolved IT kinks, waived the fee, and partially refunded some points. As Ben said, it’s always good to call ahead.

    Probably my best experience so far was at the IC San Francisco. Great high-floor corner upgrade, and a lavish setup for the dog with fancy dishes, food, treats, a memory-foam bed, and a note from the manager. Super thoughtful and memorable.

  10. Lucky – I really understand your point. Be sure of that. Cats shouldn’t be left alone. They need as much company as any dog. If you leave a home cat alone, they will die pretty soon, because they don’t know how to prey and are used to be fed.

    But I digress… Maybe leave your dog in what we call in my country as a Dog Hotel.

    That’s just my opinion. As long as Winston is happy… that’s the main point!


  11. Enjoyed this post, thanks Lucky. We had (up until June 2018) a wonderful rescue GSD (German Shepherd) named Esther for 9 years. During the time we had her, we only stayed in three pet-friendly hotels that I can recall. The best was the (former) Hotel Monaco in Old Town Alexandria, which was an awesome hotel and location. There was also a Hyatt Place, IIRC. The other was a Red Roof Inn (that we stayed at to facilitate Esther’s early morning, next-day surgery at an affordable vet in Richmond, VA). I think we left Esther alone only briefly maybe once or twice, so if you can’t take your dog with you, that’s definitely a factor.

    One key point to note is that many so-called pet friendly hotels also impose a weight limit (often 50 pounds) for dogs, so if you have a large-breed dog, it can be extra tough to find a suitable hotel.

  12. Cats and dogs are different, period. Gomes is just teaching Lucky how parents feel when people say “this [dog/cat] is my fur baby!” No, it’s a pet. It’s different than a baby.

  13. @Gomes “they will die pretty soon”? What a completely uninformed opinion. I literally know dozens of people with 2 cats who leave them at home for a few days at a timeand they are just fine. Automatic food/water dispensers and a clean litterbox and they are fine. No one is suggesting you just leave them to fend for themselves.

    I’m glad it works for you to board them, but it’s not an option for every person or pet. Lots of pets enjoy traveling, lots of them don’t. But what a stupid blanket statement that they’ll die if they’re left alone.

  14. No hotel should allow any animals other than service animals. This is vile and disgusting. You are rude and inconsiderate for thinking other people want to stay in rooms after you’ve made them filthy because of your mutt.

  15. Considering 99% of dogs are more well behaved than human children & infants, I have zero problem with people bringing their dogs on trips. Traveling in the hold & doggy hotels are cruel places.

  16. Hi Winston!

    We let the hotel know in advance when we have our pup w/ us. We’ve stayed at various chains, Hilton, Hyatt, Fairmont, Kimpton and Westin. The best treatment we’ve gotten is at Fairmont Waterfront – Vancouver BC. They really rolled out the red carpet for our pup – special bed/bowl/treat, extra fruits from the restaurant and lots and lots of hugs from the staff. However, most dog friendly hotels are pretty good nowadays about accommodating. We carry her w/ us only on car trips, have not done it when we fly although taking our Shetland Sheepdog on JSX from BFI to OAK is appealing.

    The advance notice is good bc some hotels has limited rooms available for pets.

  17. Someone I know who is a pet sitter on Rover has been hired to pet-sit in hotels. She says it’s a desirable gig because she’s usually paid to stay the entire time (vs regular jobs where she comes, walks and leaves) and she handles the walks(s) and then just watches TV or surfs online.

  18. @Gomes, might I suggest the concept of “cat sitting”.

    You can leave adult cats at home with a cat sitter coming for an hour a day max and they should be perfectly fine (especially if they have a cat door to the outdoors… and you SHOULD, as forcing cats to be indoor only, bar health problems/old age, is considered to be cruel – UK shelters won’t even let you adopt most cats to be indoor only). For a dog you would need someone there all day everyday or 3x a day for walks, etc depending on your set up.

    It is very hard for cats to adjust to new locations, they could take weeks or months to adjust to a new home (if for example you move). So I would say that it is very much advisable that you leave your cat at home if you are going on holiday (with a cat sitter coming over daily, of course).

    Dogs aren’t the same. Yes, they may get nervous in new places, but they are generally much less nervous if they are with their owners, and it is much harder (on them) to leave them at home or in a doggy hotel.

  19. You’ve always proclaimed yourself a germaphobe and now you let your dog jump on your bed? I was a little bit shocked by this. My bed is the only off limit zone in my home for my dog. 🙂

  20. Love seeing Winston pics, MOAR! 🙂 I posted a longer reply a little while ago (which was flagged for moderation), so posting the main point again.

    Those traveling with large-breed dogs should be aware that many/most hotels, despite being pet-friendly, have weight limits (often 50 pounds).

  21. I’d like to send Winston some Turkey treats! I just don’t know his address…..

    Hint: He should blame his famous owner.

  22. Not a fan of pet friendly hotels. Too many possibilities of crap, piss or doggie odors lingering in the room after the dog checks out not to mention fleas and doggie fur.

  23. Thanks for this post! My wife and I also have a rescue pup (and will only adopt in the future), and are interested in taking her on more short trips with us as she’s become much more comfortable in the nearly 2 years we’ve had her. She stays at grandma and grandpa’s or a very nice doggy day care run out of a home (where her cousins come over to play a few times a week) when we travel internationally, and I don’t think flying is going to be in her cards, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do more weekends away.

    We did a road trip to Joshua Tree, but she was weird about doing her business on sand/rock and eventually figured it out on some creosote bush. Only places with plenty of grass or at least artificial turf from now on I guess.

  24. Agree 150% re shelter animals. And you’re right that cats are different from dogs; I have a sitter situation where when I travel, someone comes over for an hour a day to feed and play with her, and I think that works okay (although she’s obviously much happier when I’m around). But it would be far more stressful for her to leave home with me every time I go away.

  25. I have an emotional support dog who allows me to go into stores. I have agoraphobia. Yes, my dog has had an accident in a store. I carry bags and disinfectant wipes and clean up the problem immediately. Often store staff have no idea an accident occurred. One grocery store employee was shocked that I had cleaned up before their staff could respond. If we are responsible for our animals it would be easier to have them as needed. Thx

  26. Hotels should disclose which rooms had pets on it. Many people have severe allergies to dogs and cats and should not be put in danger just because someone had a pet there. I am not saying I am against pets in a hotel as long as they have designated rooms for pets and they inform guests in case those are the only ones available.

  27. @brian in the minority. Have you seen the state many guests leave their rooms in ? Provided the humans are responsible and the dog is quiet , then there’s no problem

  28. I’ve got two huskies, one rescued while in Alaska and one in Colorado, and have traveled a lot with them both. It’s nice knowing La Quinta does not charge for pets while on road trips in the US, but being long time Marriott, it does limit which brands we stay at. Luckily, Residence Inn is perfect for us and the room is not so small they get crazy.

    In terms of the pet fee, after traveling across country with them I ended up calling Marriott Corporate to voice frustration over the $100 pet fee at a hotel that cost me $95/night. I was informed the pet fees are set by each individual hotel, NOT by Corporate. That’s an issue that I wish they would resolve, along with including the pet fee in the online booking if you elect that option so there is no additional surprise.

    Also, totally second Rover for pets. I have not thought about having someone watch them for the day while I go ski, or in town, but that’s a fantastic idea that I’ll definitely look into!

    Now if flying them was cheaper, that would be great…

  29. @Santastico – many of the hotels I’ve stayed in have specific pet friendly rooms. Similar when I travel for work they only have so many government rate rooms blocked off. I asked, and it makes it easier for the staff to know which rooms may need extra cleaning due to dander and hair. Also, most pet friendly hotels I stay in tend to put guests on the first floor, near the side doors for quick entry/exit for bathroom breaks. Also, more hotels are giving me an additional door placard when I check in that notes a pet inside, with instructions that any time the animal is inside the placard must be displayed.

  30. Winston is indeed adorable.

    I have a suggestion to help with his restlessness at night and alertness to sounds in the hallway: get a good white noise app for your phone and blast it. It was the only way our French bulldog would stay sleep during our marathon cross-country drive a few years ago. Ended up helping us sleep too!

  31. For dogs with serious anxiety and separation anxiety issues Prozac can be a god send. Yes, there is a special formulation for dogs that’s beef flavored, but my, now gone, special needs dog pilled very nicely with a human variety. Be sure to talk to your vet that you’ll be using a human pharmacy.

    Obviously Winston is doing fine at home now, but you may want to discuss options for travel if it’s going to be more common. Prozac is not a ‘happy pill’ for dogs, more like an anti-anxiety med. And you’ll need to have them on the med for a while to see results. Usually 30 days or so.

  32. What good timing . I just finished making a reservation at the La Quinta hotel in Charlotte NC where I always stay with my little dog when she has to see her specialist vet (one of the best in the country ).
    She loves staying at the hotel but it is definitely not fun for me .
    I always have to worry about taking her outside , bringing her food and blankets . She doesn’t travel light !
    And if you think staying in a hotel room with a little dog is adventure . …try three days with an African Grey parrot ! !
    Been there ,done that too. Traveling with an animal can require patience , planning and understanding .

  33. I’ll take a hit on this one.

    Ew, can’t you leave your pet at home?

    I feel bad for the pet.
    Just because they can’t say no or ask Are we there yet doesn’t mean they want to tag along for the trip.

  34. OMG – here we go another dog vs cats vs. no pets at all.
    Personally I find it pretty disgusting that you have a dog on a hotel bed. What you do at home I do not care about – but that you let your dog on a hotel bed is beyond me. Why not let the dog stay at home?
    And yes – I know all the dog lovers will hit me on this one. I also think that Winston is cute – but not on a hotel beyond. yikes.

  35. The Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee is dog-friendly to the point that there’s a “Big Dog Special” add-on you can add the your reservation. For $150:
    “Your 4 legged family member will enjoy: Oversize in-room plush pet pillow & food and water bowls, Dog treats in pint glass by Milwaukee’s own Leashless Lab, Doggie scarf by Milwaukee designer Lost & Hound (proceeds benefit local pet charities), Doggie toy, your dog’s name on the lobby welcome board (please share your pet’s name), “BIG Dog” room service menu, dog walking maps, and a list of dog-friendly parks and outdoor dining spots. Package includes the $100 room detailing fee applied to all overnight pet guests.

    They also do “Yappy Hour” at their outdoor bar during the summer.

  36. @woodcrow…

    Aren’t duvet covers washable? Not sure I understand the use of such a strong word as disgusting.

  37. When we moved from UK to Bulgaria our two dogs travelled across Europe with us. Dog friendly hotels were essential to us.
    It was important to us,however, to be considerate to other guests. Milli and Blouis were very well behaved. We didn’t allow them to sleep on the bed, they had their own. On the funny side, Blouis a retired racing greyhound, decided to sleep in the shower cubicle. I think he likened it to the stadium kennels from his racing days.
    We didn’t leave them alone for long at all, but nobody seemed to mind them joining us at the bar etc.
    We had a particularly fun evening in a Mexican bar in Germany where the other customers spoiled and fussed them all evening. They both enjoyed fajitas and beer !

  38. As someone who is severely allergic to animals, please do not try to sneak your pet into a hotel! I can tell within a minute that a dog has stayed in a room even if I’ve requested an allergy free room. 🙁 Traveling for work I have little control over my hotel most if the time so I can’t just avoid pet friendly hotels as you suggest.

    That being said, Winston is adorable and I’m glad the Grandparents have never “bonvoyed” him, lol!

  39. Great post!

    I Wish I had this information about 5 years ago, when my family and I started traveling across the state to our vacation condo.

    To break up the driving time for the family, we would spend the night in a hotel about 4 hours in to the trip. Luckily, we found a wonderful hotel in Santa Barbara that not only welcomed dogs, but truly enjoyed hosting them (the El Encanto).

    After the 2nd trip there, Pepper lept out of the car at valet parking, to run and greet the front desk. She felt as much as a valued guest as we did, with a dog bed, her favorite treats (carrots) and water/food bowls in the room. We started packing an old sheet to put on top of the beautiful linens on the bed, as I’m sure they cost
    a small fortune (and yes, she sleeps with us).

    On our last stay there, we noticed about 5 families with dogs in tow. They have beautiful grass lawns where the dogs socialized while we enjoyed a glass of wine. And other dog owners loved to spend time with pets they left at home.

  40. We’re staying at a Fairfield Inn and Suites in Steamboat Springs with our pup now. As my hometown I wouldn’t normally choose this property because of its location but it’s one of the few pup-friendly places here, with a $25 per night pet fee. Our Juliet is a 12-year old Chilean terrier and loves to be wherever we are, but has the same issue as Winston with new noises.

    We normally don’t travel with her, but when we do it’s by car only and we basically bring EVERYTHING that’s hers so that the hotel room resembles home as much as possible. We also bring a lint brush and rub down chairs and other furniture that doesn’t get washed between visits (I know, many say that that’s what the pet fee is for but we try to be conscientious).

    Overall I’d say traveling with a pet is stressful for everyone involved because we can leave her alone without worrying about barking (this hotel doesn’t require that the pet be accompanied at all times). Compared to the stress of a kennel, we feel like this is the best alternative.

  41. We had traveled extensively with our dogs over the past decade. My wife’s current main competition dog has stayed in hotels or AirBNBs in multiple states and around our own large state.

    There are a few things I’d like to suggest folks traveling with dogs bring:
    – a thin large flat sheet for covering the bed to minimize paw prints.
    – a white noise machine (
    – potty bags and a mini clean up kit in case pup needs a quick wipe down.
    – proof of vaccines and of flea medication.

    We crate our dogs when they are not supervised.

    Finally, separation anxiety is a real thing. Sounds like Winston has developed some coping mechanisms but could use some additional support. Consider a CSAT like here:

  42. I honestly don’t understand why some people feel the need to think all dogs need x, or all cats need y. Pets have different personalities and needs and I do think it’s fair to assume that at least most loving pet owners do understand their pet and its needs best. We previously had a greyhound (he passed at 15 years old a couple years ago) who was petrified of the car and liked everyone – so the best thing for him when we went away was for us to get him a full time petsitter at home. We now have a cat who just wants to be with us 24-7, enjoys car trips with us, is outgoing but doesn’t much care for people other than us. We all really enjoy going on short breaks together, he is perfectly happy in a hotel room (even one that’s completely new to him) and we are even considering all going out exploring in a caravan.

    I really wish there were more pet-friendly hotels down our way in Tasmania, Australia. Our favourite has 1 pet friendly room (out of seven – it’s a luxury boutique hotel) and I really can’t understand why more of the larger hotels can’t offer at least 1 or 2 designated pet friendly rooms. I think you are actually rather spoiled for options in the US compared to Australia!

  43. I have no problem with it so long as hotels designate pet rooms (which we all know they don’t). If they’re sold out with one room left guess which one you’re getting. Its rude and no different than support animals which most on here complain about but because it’s lucky and Winston yes lets fawn all over them.

    It’s inconsiderate to bring your pet to a hotel. It’s also strange to have a pet traveling as much as he does.

  44. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Montreal, QC and they arranged to have a pet sitter watch our dog.

    You might want to talk to your vet about tranquilizers (Valium, so it’s a controlled substance, so be careful when you travel internationally) for Winston.

    Don’t forget wee-wee pads!

    Email me if you want to talk!

  45. Kimpton, Kimpton, Kimpton, Kimpton….

    I have never had a bad experience with them. I always call ahead. In a few hotels, they know my dog by name.

    I stayed at the Monaco in San Francisco for a month when it was a Kimpton property (it is now the Marker). The staff even walked the dog and arranged for sitters when I needed them.

    It helps to have a smaller, very cute and cuddly critter. A Havanese, similar to Lucky’s dog, is just one of those breeds…”he’s adorable” helps. I know that sounds nuts but your dog’s personality dictates how it is treated. See also: charming owners.

    Which brings me to the following point: dog people *tend* to be a nice bunch overall. Staff at several Kimptons have told me that folks who travel with their dogs are generally less stressed and in most cases understand that they are getting a great deal vs. pet fees in other hotels. It would be awful to lose that privilege.

  46. I must say Winston is incredibly cute! He’s meant to be with you both. Glad to hear that he’s been very well taken cared of since 2 years ago. When I read one of the comments comparing cats with dogs, I agree with you. They are not the same. Cats are much more independent in general while dogs always need constant attention and love to interact with their people at all times.

  47. Agreed with everyone…Winston is SO cute!!

    I’m a dog lover, but became an equal cat lover after 2 rescues landed in my lap to foster. Of course, they never left.

    They are just as needy of affection as dogs. Abandonment issues affected them as well, perhaps. I travel a lot, and they sit on my bed watching me pack my bag before every trip. They have each other, but still make sure friends spend time with them every day.


    I’ve noticed Aloft hotels seem half filled with dogs as much as people (exaggerating:). The Aloft Houston Galleria does doggy adoptions in the lobby, though they might be the bred type as opposed to rescues…regardless, what a sweet experience to wake up to.

  48. In response to the other Marco, I echo the fact that some dog has been in a hotel bed. Sorry but there are some places that should be off limit for pets……regardless of how cute……and Winston you are adorable……All of a sudden Ford is back lol.

  49. My pomeranian was getting too cozy with one of the workers at the doggie hotel I use, so I decided to start taking him with me. This lasted one trip. I had business meetings, and leaving him alone in the hotel room was heartbreaking because he just kept barking. Tricks I used at home to stop him barking didn’t work. I felt so bad allowing my jealousy to keep him from the doggie hotel, I decided to stop traveling with him all together unless its somewhere I know he’ll be able to go everywhere with me.

    I did take him on a business trip one previous time and in that instance, I found a local doggie daycare, where I dropped him off when I went to meetings. The daycare allowed for 2 free visits to test them out, so it didnt cost me anything. If I ever took him on a business trip again, I would definitely look into a doggie daycare rather than leaving him in the hotel alone.

  50. We travel with our 45 lb. dog and it always has been pretty easy. One thing that REALLY helps is to get a white noise machine. We have the Marpac and it is a lifesaver for all of us. It really subdues all the sounds that go along with staying in a busy hotel. It’s not small to pack but completely worth it. I have used several white noise apps on my iphone before but they are not nearly as good, and I like to take my phone with me if I am leaving our dog in the hotel room.

    We also travel with his “pack n play” Elitefield dog crate which is a canvas folding crate. We don’t close him in it, but it is a cozy spot he likes to retreat to when he is tired. It’s a little large for airplane travel (although comes with a carrier case) but is great taking along in the car to have spot for him at our destination.

    We have used doggie daycare – not in the hotel room but where they pick the dog up in the lobby and keep him for half day or full day. We were in Whistler, BC skiing and our dog went to Alpine Dogs Adventure Camp in the snow. I think he had more fun than we did skiing. They were great and I had read many reviews before booking so I felt comfortable with it. They would post pictures during the day on Instagram so we could see the dogs. A dog walking service we use at home uses a gps collar and sends pictures of your dog on the walk, so that again, you can feel comfortable about how your pet is doing. Doggie daycare is the way to go if your dog enjoys walks or playtime with other dogs – being alone in a strange hotel room for a long period of time is too distressing for most dogs. Our dog does fine with the white noise machine on so we can go out to dinner but I wouldn’t leave him longer than that.

  51. Winston seems a lovely little dog Lucky!

    No matter how many times you fly first and business class around the world, no amount of money or luxury travel can buy the bond and love between human and dog.

  52. We have a helper to look after our dog, both when we work and when we travel. When my dog was younger and my husband stayed home or we had a nanny (for the kids) we used a dog hotel if the nanny was on holiday. Our current dog is almost 17, and we have the helper stay here when we travel. I think it is tough on dogs to go to new environments, and when we travel we don’t want to be stuck on the hotel room with the dog the whole time. It is part of the expense of having a pet IMO, just like having children.

  53. Thanks for the great report and so glad Winston found you two as his forever family. It’s great that now there are more hotels willing to adopt a pet friendly attitude, no doubt they lose sufficient revenue when not doing so and more and more people do have pets – I have 2 dogs and a cat – Mouse the cat is quite happy for a few day’s to be left alone for some peace and relaxation. I didn’t realise feedback and comments about your actual choice to have Winston with you was the point of your post, no one asked If you agreed with Bens choice – he’s giving tips for people who would like to take there pets with them and stay at a hotel

  54. Yes! After your recent post with Winston I was hoping you would make a post about hotel stays with dogs!

    Chewie is the same as Winston: he loves to be with us, but he hates being left behind in the hotel room and cries. That makes it hard to travel with him because then he has to come with us to restaurants, breweries, we have to see if they are dog friendly, etc. Asheville is very dog friendly and we always stay at the Aloft there, but on one trip it was cold and eating outside for every meal got old fast. During our cross country move, one of us would go get dinner while the other stayed in the room.

    For some reason staying in Airbnbs/other houses, he’s totally fine. So now we either rent houses when traveling with him, or we leave him with a friend or boarder when we travel. I sure wish he was fine with hotel rooms though!

  55. Hi Lucky,
    In addition to Rover for pet sitting you might consider a doggie day care if Winston is well socialized to other dogs. Be wary when selecting a daycare. Some are cage-free grooming salons. In my experience the dogs come home tired from stress (not a fun play day) in those types of environments. There are some doggie day care places that are great. We’ve really loved The Local Bark in Sacramento, Ca and The Barking Dog in Scottsdale, Az. In both places dogs had indoor/outdoor access, dogs were separated into groups by size and energy level, the dogs were well supervised by humans and our pups came home worn out and happy.

  56. Based on this, I look forward to more hotels prominently advertising that they are not pet-friendly.
    I hate the smell of houses where dogs live inside.

  57. Hi,
    Nothing against pets. They charge the owner for a deep cleaning, but how many hotels just pocket it and don’t do the deep clean ? Certainly more than a few because we have received bites and itches at top hotel brands. They are not bed bugs that is something completely different and identifiable.
    We don’t take offense at those travelling with pets.
    We believe the hotels take responsibility and should designate areas, or floors, to house people with pets. But hotels put them all over, say they clean, and then we get the itch.

    These are positive comments. Any brands listening?

  58. Winston is adorable and one lucky pup! I have done many road trips, including cross-country, with my dog and have stayed at pet-friendly (from boutique to 5 star) hotels all over the US. I check BringFido and also read reviews to see how pet friendly they are. In some small towns there’s not much choice. In big cities I have been pleasantly surprised. I bring lint brushes and a sheet for the bed because unlike Winston, my dog has long hair and does shed. I also clean up any visible hair/mess. And I tip well.
    I have never had any issue or problems. My dog is very friendly, worked as a therapy dog, is extremely well-behaved and social, and likes to hang out in hotel lobbies and greet people. She would love to work as a hotel dog. I can leave her alone in a hotel room with no problem. If I couldn’t leave her alone I wouldn’t stay in hotels with her. The reason is I have heard barking and whining dogs before (most recently at a really nice, expensive remote B&B) and was worried someone might think it was us. Clearly the dog was unhappy and their owners were downstairs eating dinner like nothing was wrong…
    BTW there is no certification for emotional support dogs. Only for therapy dogs. And that doesn’t do anything at hotels. Even for service dogs there can be specific certification or not. My dog is so well trained that places assume she is a service dog. She is often really at or above the cut off of the weight requirement but it has never been an issue. There are hotels that still ask us/her to come back and have upgraded me and given me special treatment because she is popular with guests. I think it’s important and good karma to be a responsible pet owner. I would hate to see hotels become less pet friendly.
    Another tip: besides Kimpton, there are some high end hotels with no dog fee. I hope they stay that way 🙂

  59. My husband and I travel with our 34lb rescue (May be a rat terrier and who knows what else) and he’s always been amazing when we travel. I think this debate needs to be about how to train people to identify when their dogs are a-holes and should not be in proper public places rather than what’s pet friendly, etc. People don’t even know when we have our dog with us because he is so well behaved. Our last dog? No way, and we were self-aware enough to know that.

  60. We travel often (by car) with our rescue pekes. I tend to stay at LaQuinta and no matter how I book I always call the property directly to let them know there are pets on the reservation.

    My dogs wear diapers in common areas of the hotel where we are more likely to encounter another dog or a previous doggie accident, just in case someone gets a little excited. We do not leave our pets alone in the rooms, instead we chose to travel when the weather is cool so we can leave them in the car, checking on them frequently or while we hit up the outlets one of us will sit on a bench with the dogs while the other goes into a store.

    We are currently planning a trip to Maui and the pups are staying home with Grandma and Grandpa because taking them with us would be cruel to them and would take away from what will be a once in a lifetime experience for us. It will be our second vacation in 15 years that involves a plane because we choose to go where we can bring our whole family.

  61. If I have to stay in a pet-friendly hotel I always ask for a pet-free room. Otherwise I stay in completely pet-free hotels. I’m a dog owner but my dog never comes in the house. I grew up on a farm and there are specific reasons animals should not be in the house (or hotel room). And I’ve seen how hotel housekeeping cleans up after guests and animals…they don’t.

    Keep the filth outside, it’s bad enough that i have to share a hotel with other humans, let alone animals.

  62. “Keep the filth outside, it’s bad enough that i have to share a hotel with other humans, let alone animals.”

    I’m guessing that the upgrades don’t come fast and furious when you check into a hotel.

  63. It’s a great post! As a dog’s dad, sometimes, I found it might be more stressful to bring or fly with my shiba (30 Ibs) in the States. Majority of the airlines , even bus or train have strict rule for the pets like service pets only or weight limit. I dont do road trip very often and also dont want to leave them behind when I travel. But I’m so surprised it’s not so pet-friendly in terms of transportation to travel within the State.

  64. The Wag app and the Rover app/website are two very reliable places to find dog sitters (as well as other services like boarding or walking). Wag is more likely to be able to find last minute services which is nice.

  65. Thanks for delivering more of Winston! Very nice post, heart-warming story of Winston’s “origins” and lovely pictures.

  66. I can care less if I’m at a pet friendly hotel or not. I enjoy seeing the different dog breeds.

    However, to the people complaining about a dog in a hotel……

    A). Do you not realize how much sex goes on in a hotel room. The bed, the chairs, the sofa. Do you think the upholstery is thoroughly cleaned daily, as well as the comforter? Do you honestly think the kitchenette or bathroom counters are disinfected? I’ve stayed at the ritz in Dallas and my wallet got stuck to some old food residue that was on the table, as well as lube on the night stand.

    B). To people saying the room should be labeled for “allergies.” Are they supposed to start asking each guest if they plan on eating peanuts while in the room to put them in a “peanut only” room as well.

    Some people on here on this post and other posts about credit card reviews are always so negative. You people must be miserable to live with.

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