For an increasing number of travelers, vacation time simply wouldn’t be as much fun without the company of their pets. Luckily, the number of true pet-friendly hotels is also increasing. It’s important when traveling with pets to be sure that the hotel you have in mind is really pet-friendly and not just a “pets-allowed” lodging. The two are very different when it comes to the amenities offered for traveling pets.
While a “pets-allowed” hotel might allow you to keep your pet in your room, the pet is likely required to be crated or caged when you are not in the room. Often, you need to provide these enclosures. These hotels usually do not offer any special services for pets. In contrast, pet-friendly hotels go the extra mile and may call the pet’s owner on his/her cell phone is there is a problem (a good reason to tip well).
Pet-friendly hotels offer a variety of special services and amenities that are sure to please pet owners as much as the pets. When trying to find a great pet-friendly hotel, look for these five key features.
1. Adequate Space
The hotel rooms should be large enough to accommodate pets regardless of the pet’s size. While a Yorkshire Terrier might not need as much room to move around, a Labrador Retriever does. Many pet-friendly hotels suggest suites to those traveling with pets. This type of arrangement provides plenty of room for humans and their dogs and cats to stretch out and relax. Watching a movie on the television is much more enjoyable without a 100-pound dog trying to sit on your lap (or may be not?)
Those experienced in traveling with pets know that, more often than not, some important pet-related item will be inadvertently left behind at home base. These items might include critical necessities like leaches, collars, blankets or toys. While a traveler can hope that a quick trip to a local store can replace an item, there is a real problem if such a store is miles away. A pet-friendly hotel carries supplies like these for just such emergencies. In addition to the essentials, pet-friendly hotels might offer water and food bowls, crates, dog beds, tasty treats and a variety of toys for cats and dogs. If the hotel really wants to accommodate travelers and their pets, they’ll be sure to have an ample supply of needed items for their guests.
3. Knowledgeable and Pet-Savvy Staff
A good pet-friendly hotel will have a staff that actually likes animals. These people greet pet guests with the same enthusiasm as they do human guests. Pet-savvy staff will know how to properly meet a new pet, be able to respond to any immediate needs for assistance or supplies and have ready information about local sights where pets are as welcome as the tourist. They are not averse to holding a leash while the human visitor registers and can keep the furry traveler occupied during the process. Many of the staff in pet-friendly hotels are trained in basic first-aid for dogs and cats. At the very least, the staff will know how to quickly reach a veterinarian should such services be needed.
4. Opportunities for Shared Activities
The whole idea of traveling with a pet is to share the vacation experience with the pet. Some pet-friendly hotels take the “shared experience” idea to whole new levels. Besides dog parks where people and pets can mingle and enjoy the day, there might be shared ‘spa’ facilities where human and pooch can get a relaxing massage and paddle around in the warm, bubbly water of specially designated pools. If yoga is a daily delight, a pet-friendly hotel might offer dog and human yoga classes and a Happy Hour afterwards where the guest can sip a drink of choice while the dog companion enjoys a healthy treat and a bowl of fresh water.
5. Pet Sitting
Although people traveling with their pets would like to bring them everywhere, the reality is that the majority of public places do not allow pets. If a traveler needs to be away from the hotel for several hours, pet-friendly hotels might offer dog-walking services so that the dog doesn’t spend hours alone. Some hotels have special enclosed areas close to the hotel for games of fetch and other activities that dogs adore. The hours pass much more quickly for the traveling dog if there is an opportunity to get needed exercise while the dog’s owner is otherwise occupied.
Pet-friendly hotels offer many different ways to share vacation time with cherished pets. Once a traveler determines a desirable vacation spot, a little research should turn up several options for the vacation of a lifetime where the beloved pet is included in all the fun vacation pictures.