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What makes a hotel pet friendly?

Traveling with pets is becoming easier. No longer fret about calling a sitter, leaving your baby at a boarding facility or asking your mom again! As numerous hotel chains and many independent establishments have begun welcoming furry ones with open arms, we are here to break down what makes hotels pet friendly.

Pet Friendly Hotel Features

While pet perks can range from super basic to quite lavish, below is a list of things a hotel might offer. You probably could have already guessed some, but others are surprising. We’ve organized them from the more simple, to the straight up over the top.

  • No fee stays
  • Relief areas with disposal supplies
  • Leashes
  • Water and food bowls (Sometimes personalized with your pet’s name)
  • Beds
  • Shampoo
  • Welcome bags with treats (Hotel Indigo in New York offers organic selections!)
  • Dog park
  • Dog sitting
  • Play toys
  • Concierge who provide pet friendly dining and play suggestions
  • Doggie room service menu
  • Dog friendly receptions (The Liberty in Boston offers “pup-tails” and treats during the courtyard “Yappy Hour”)
  • Turn down service
  • Spa day

Assessing a Hotel for Pet Friendliness

Some hotels provide (very) basic guidelines that qualify them as pet friendly, when in actuality, they aren’t that pet friendly. So, which traits are most important, and how do you weed out the not so great ones?

  • BringFido.com is like TripAdvisor, for pet parents. Restaurants, parks and hotels are ranked from zero to five bones, with five being super great. Travelers also leave reviews with details about the experience.
  • The pet amenities will tell you a lot—if a hotel only offers the bare minimum, then it may not be the best environment.
  • Give your potential hotel a call and ask them a few pet related questions: Where can my pup potty, and can you recommend pet friendly restaurants? Was the employee knowledgeable and friendly, or cranky and unhelpful? That says a lot.
  • Crowd source info: Post on social media to see if anyone you know has some particularly awesome suggestions.
  • In general, some towns are more dog welcoming that others—San Francisco and Seattle are just a couple dog loving cities. Finding excellent dog lodging here won’t be too difficult.

Editor’s Note: If you’re looking to bring your pooch along on your travels, here are some pet friendly cities (worldwide) to consider.

Other Considerations

Factors beyond the hotel itself can determine if this is the place to take your pup:

  • Look for dog friendly dining and shops within the area.
  • Is the town walkable, making it easy to traverse with your baby?
  • Can you easily get to a dog park so your pup can stretch his legs?
  • A nearby grocery store can be a huge convenience if you run out of food or treats.
  • It’s never a bad idea to ensure there is a place to get solid medical care if your four legged one happens to need it.

Multiple factors make a hotel pet friendly, and as an owner, you have to determine the standard for what you and your dog deem acceptable. Are you looking for something minimal along a road trip route? Or is this a big deal destination where you hope to make many memories with your pup? Answering those questions will help you decide if you are looking for basic, or totally jaw dropping. Bon Voyage!


Karyn Wofford is a “Mom” to her fluffy, sweet dog Halli. She spends much of her time traveling and advocating for Type 1 diabetes—and Halli sometimes accompanies her on her adventures. You’ll find Karyn’s work on sites like Mother Earth Living, and in magazines such as Diabetes Forecast.

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