More than two million pets travel by air each year in the U.S., proving that taking our animals on vacation is easier than ever before. In fact, a number of hotels even offer dog-friendly options. If you’re thinking of taking your furry companion on your next trip, you’ve probably already thought about the practicalities of travel and ensuring you have all the necessary documents, but how much thought have you given to your dog’s safety in your holiday accommodation? Here’s what you need to consider when you’re taking your pet to a dog-friendly hotel.
Even the most dog-friendly hotels have pet policies, which you’ll need to read thoroughly before you travel. Some hotels have restrictions on the size of dog or the number of animals you can take, and there may be fees attached to your dog staying with you. There may also be restrictions on the breeds allowed, so make sure you’ve read all the rules and regulations before setting off.
Once you arrive at the hotel, don’t allow your dog off the lead until you’ve checked it’s a safe environment for them. Even a dog-friendly hotel could have things left by previous guests or trailing wires that could be dangerous to your dog. Perform a thorough inspection of the room in the same way that you would if you were traveling with a baby. Remove any accessible cleaning supplies, and make sure the balcony rail is secure, keeping the door shut if there’s a chance your dog could slip through the railings. Recent research shows that dogs behave in a similar way to small children when exploring a new environment, so be as thorough as you would if you were preparing for a baby to use the room.
Dealing With Anxiety
Some dogs may be nervous in an unfamiliar environment, which can lead to them behaving differently to normal. Try to remain calm and patient if your pet has trouble adjusting. Asking for a ground floor room can help — this will allow you to take your dog out for fresh air and exercise more easily, which will help relieve their stress. It’s particularly important if your dog is nervous on stairs or in elevators. Use what you know about your dog’s personality to help you get the safest room for them.
You can help your dog feel more at ease by bringing some of their favorite things from home. Bring their own blanket and some familiar toys, and if they’re particularly anxious, bring their crate along. Some animals will feel safer sleeping in their crate than exposed in an unfamiliar room, and some hotels even make this a requirement. You can also create a routine that is familiar with each hotel stay so that you’re creating a routine of familiarity in an unfamiliar space to your pup. This could include taking a walk around the parking lot/block for 10-15 mins, stopping at reception and giving the pup a treat, stopping at the entrance to the hotel room door and waiting until the pup looks at you (without prompt) and having the dog sit next to the bed before being invited up. You can make up your own routine and modify as necessary until you get the desired result of your dog being confident and calm in a new environment. Feel free to contact a dog trainer for help!
Even once you’ve cleared obvious hazards, an unfamiliar environment can present dangerous chewing opportunities. Make sure you have chew toys or a Kong with you to swap for things that could cause a choking hazard. Make sure your own toiletries are stored safely out of reach, and check that the trash can isn’t accessible.
It’s also important to keep your dog contained safely in the room. Hang the ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the door to make sure no one opens the door without warning, providing an escape route to an excitable animal. If your dog is liable to go and investigate sounds from other parts of the hotel, make sure the door is secure and turn on the TV to mask the noises they’re interested in.
The increasing number of dog-friendly hotels makes traveling with your dog easier than ever before, but make sure you research your destination carefully before you book. Understanding what your dog needs will help you make their new environment a safe and secure space for them, and once you both feel at home, you’ll be all set for a great vacation.