The time has come to take your dog to a hotel. And not one of those euphemistically titled “dog hotels” that you’ve dumped them at before before you shoot away on holiday. Not this time. This time, you and your dog are going together. They are going to love it. Even more importantly, there is no reason why you won’t also have a fantastic time. Letting the hotel staff care for your every whim while you also get to spend quality time with your furry friend? What’s not to like?

happy dog sitting on a bed in a hotel

What to expect with a dog friendly hotel

It’s important to be reasonable, though. Staying in a dog hotel where there are no rules or restrictions isn’t going to be fun for anyone. Chances are that the first difference you will notice is that your bill is going to be higher – although this isn’t always the case. There are also bound to be places where your pet will not be allowed, at the very least not on their lead. Bear in mind, too, that while you might be aware your half-ton rottweiler wouldn’t hurt a fly, some hotels will impose strict limits on numbers, sizes and breeds of dog that they will allow to stay with them.

It’s also worth remembering that you can’t guarantee your dog will be as well catered for as you are. You will almost certainly not need to bring your own towels, bowls or food to a hotel but the safest rule of thumb is that your dog will need to have everything it needs brought along for the journey. Many dog-friendly hotels will have a lot of this stuff to hand, but your best bet is always to be pleasantly surprised rather than take the chance.

Chocolate labrador dog standing near outdoor swimming pool

What to look for in a dog friendly hotel

So, you and your four-legged friend have walked into the lobby to check in. There’s a big jar of bone-shaped dog treats on the counter and a bowl of water next to the desk. These are both good signs, but hopefully you’re a little bit better prepared than that by this stage…

What dog friendly facilities does the hotel have?

Dogs can’t live on bone treats and water alone, though some have gallantly tried. They’re going to need their bowls, enough food for the duration of your stay and somewhere to sleep. Once you’ve got all this stuff with you, the fun can really begin. Your hotel may provide dog beds, for example. Some hotels even have special doggy menus for both food and drink, so even your tin opener might be able to have a night off. 

If they haven’t done it already as a matter of policy, it might be an idea to make sure your room is on the ground floor. This will come in particularly handy if your dog has one too many dog cocktails the night before and needs a 3 a.m. comfort break. It’s also a good time to find out if your hotel offers any special dog exercising areas and find out when and where they’ll expect you to have your furry friend on their lead. 

Most importantly, use the hotel staff, the greatest facility of them all. They will be able to tell you about the likely ebb and flow of a day there. Some of them may have dogs themselves and be full of tips for places to visit in the local area. And if you let the front desk know ahead of time that you need to pop out for an hour, they can tell housekeeping not to visit your room or even let you know about any dog walking services or doggy daycare that they may have available.

Is the hotel near any main roads?

It is also good to know ahead of time where your hotel is located. Most dogs love exploring new places but it is up to their owners to see that they are able to do so safely. If your hotel is on or near a busy road, it will be good to know whether or not they provide any safer areas for dogs to ramble around on site or whether you’re likely to find more joy at a nearby park.

How near to crowded areas is the hotel?

Similarly, if your hotel is located in a crowded area it can prove as disorientating an experience for your dog as a busy road. Lots of new people and things to study and sniff could be your dog’s idea of a dream day, but equally it could prove very stressful.

How many dogs are allowed in the hotel?

The important thing is that you know your dog. If they’re a friendly and sociable sort then a hotel is a wonderland of opportunities. If they’re a bit more nervous, reserved or shy it is likely to be a rather less fun experience. Particularly as one thing you can more or less guarantee you will find in a dog-friendly hotel is… other dogs. Knowing where to go and when can prove very important, so be sure to check with staff when the busiest times are likely to be and how many other pooches are currently guests at the hotel.

Are dogs allowed everywhere in the hotel?

Not everyone likes dogs as much as you do. It’s sad, but it is just a fact. The rules exist to make sure that every guest can have the most pleasant stay possible, so please, as a matter of basic respect, follow any rules or guidelines that you are given when you’re on hotel premises. For much of your stay, the hotel staff are going to prove to be your most precious resource, but for this harmonious and mutually beneficial arrangement to really flourish it is best to make sure your dog doesn’t slip unattended into the kitchen’s meat fridge.

Is there a designated bathroom area for dogs?

We’ve already touched upon why it might be a good idea to ask for a Ground Floor room for late-night toilet emergencies. Similarly, it is vital to find out the best place to go once you are there. Some hotels will have a dedicated courtyard or dog exercising area, others will be a little bit more slapdash and slipshod. Be sure to find out what the rules are ahead of time and do your best to stick to them.

Are there locations nearby where you can walk your dog?

Location is everything to a good hotel and your dog will absolutely agree. Some hotels are situated in sprawling grounds, others are more centrally located in urban areas and a knowledge of the best local parks or beaches will be critical. You can find out a lot of this ahead of time by checking the hotel’s website, local tourist information or just looking at Google Maps. But once you’re there, be sure to ask the staff for their best recommendations. You never know what nuggets of local knowledge you may be able to find out.

Yorkshire Terrier dog on comfortable sofa

How to find the best dog friendly hotels

With pet-friendly travel on the increase, many hotel chains will now offer dog-friendly options, rooms or packages in the filtering options of their website. However, the safer option yet is to use dedicated pet-friendly travel sites. These have done much of the filtering and research for you, meaning you are free to focus instead on where you’d like to stay rather than whether or not your dog will be allowed. 

Another useful tip is to search for words like “dog” or “pet” in the reviews of any hotel that has tickled your fancy. And if the review is particularly useful and leads to a good stay of your own, be sure to leave one yourself!

Looking for other dog friendly accommodation?

Read our guides:

Dog friendly caravan holidays

Dog friendly caravan and holiday parks

Dog friendly cottages