5 Tips for Staying in a Hotel With Your Pet

More than half of all pet owners would bring their dogs and cats along on their vacations if they could, according to an Automobile Association of America survey. If that wish is coming true for you and you're preparing to travel with your pet, here are some important tips to ensure that pet-friendly hotels don't decide to change their policy after your stay.

1. Call ahead to check the hotel's pet policy.
Some hotels that advertise as being pet friendly really only allow small pets, and although it's totally unfair, some ban certain dog breeds. So when you're making your travel plans, be sure to call your hotel and ask for specifics about its pet policy, or check its website.

2. Pack comfort items for your pet.
Along with paper towels and plenty of poop disposal bags or a litterbox, pack some of your pet's favorite things, including toys, a blanket and his bed or crate, if possible. These items will make it easier for your pet to relax in this new environment.

3. Ask for a room on the ground floor.
This will make it easier to leave the room for walks and potty breaks. If your dog likes to bark at strange noises, you should ask for a room where there's little foot traffic outside.

4. Clean up after your dog.
Be sure to quickly pick up your dog's poop in your room as well as on the hotel grounds. Many pet-friendly hotels have designated outdoor areas for dogs, so be sure to take your pooch there frequently for potty breaks. If your pet has an accident in your room, clean it up with those paper towels you packed—not the hotel's bath towels (eww).

5. Don't leave your pet alone in the room. Your pet is probably stressed out from being in an unfamiliar environment, so don't leave him alone for long periods of time. If you plan to spend hours sightseeing without your furry friend, ask the hotel for referrals for pet day-care facilities or an in-room pet sitter. If you must briefly leave your pet alone in the room, leave the TV or radio on for soothing background noise, and hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. Some hotels may require you to keep your pet in a crate or carrier when you're not in the room.

Laura Goldman is a freelance writer and lifelong Angeleno. Check out her i Still Love Dogs blog and follow her on Twitter.

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