Twice a year, my dogs and I load up the car and drive cross country to visit family. Taking the drive from Texas to North Carolina means I have to stop at least one night and stay in a hotel. I typically stay at a La Quinta since they’re dog-friendly and don’t bump up the room rate as a result of my two fur babies. I always get a kick out of staying at a La Quinta because they are usually filled with pet parents and their canine kids. When you walk down to breakfast in the morning it’s quite common to hear an occasional “Woof!” Gotta love it!
According to the American Pet Products Association, 37 percent of dog owners have taken their dog on an overnight trip of two nights or more. That’s double the number from a decade ago! If you’re planning a long road trip with your dog and need to stay in a hotel, here are some tips to make the stay a bit easier on your pooch:
1) Find a Pet-Friendly Hotel
As I mentioned earlier, when I’m traveling with my dogs I usually stay at a La Quinta because I know they are dog-friendly and don’t hike up the room rates because of my dogs. The worst thing that could happen after a long day of driving is arriving at a hotel that turns you away because of your fur kids. So, when you’re making your reservations, don’t forget to double check that your hotel is dog-friendly and ask if your pup will impact the price in any way. Many hotels require a non-refundable deposit as well as a nightly pet rate.
2) Request a Ground Floor Room
Trust me on this one — it will make your late night/early morning potty breaks way easier.
3) Take a Long Walk Before Entering The Hotel
Before you even enter the hotel, let your dog stretch his legs and go to the bathroom. This will help for two reasons. First, an exercised/tired dog is more likely to adapt to his surroundings. Second, letting your dog roam around (on his leash, of course) will allow him to sniff and explore. This will help him acclimate to his new surroundings.
4) Walk Into The Room Before Your Dog
Before slipping the key into your hotel room’s door for the first time, I recommend telling your dog to sit. Then, once the door is open, make sure you walk in first. This will set a confident vibe for your dog, letting him know that the area is safe. Also, when you walk in first, your scent will fill the room, making your dog feel more comfortable.
5) Walk Around With Your Dog as He Checks Out The Room
Once you’re inside your hotel room, your dog is more than likely going to explore. If your pooch is anything like mine, he will sniff everything from the beds to the bathroom trash can. I always like to walk around with my dogs as they explore so they feel safe and content knowing they aren’t alone in a strange place.
6) Don’t Leave Your Dog In The Room Alone For a Long Time
Speaking of feeling safe and content, try not to leave your dog alone in the hotel room for an extended period of time. It’s important to remember that your dog has no clue where he is and doesn’t know if you’ll come back. That can be very scary! If you must leave your dog alone in the room, leave the television on and crate him (if he’s crate trained).
Note: Many hotels actually don’t allow you to leave your dog unattended in your room. So make sure to check with the front desk before you just leave.
7) Bring Toys and Blankets From Home
Once you’re in the hotel room, it’s always a good idea to offer your dog something familiar. For example, I never enter a hotel room without their toys and blankets. It lets them smell home, which is comforting to your pooch.