Hitting the road with your pet can mean searching far and wide for hotels that accept pets. Fortunately, the hospitality industry recognizes that people traveling with pets are a demographic that should be served, something that LaQuinta Inn and others now provide. Before you head out on your next trip, keep in mind the following pet travel essentials as you book your stay.

1. Weigh your pet.

Some hotels place a limit on pet weight, preferring smaller dogs and thereby limiting their size by weight. That weight restriction is typically 50 to 75 pounds, but some hotels only accept small dogs and cats weighing 20 or fewer pounds. Know your hotel’s pet policy before making a reservation.

2. Call in advance.

Hotel policies are posted online, but they aren’t always up to date. Moreover, within a chain one hotel may allow pets and another disallow them. Always call and speak with the front desk receptionist to confirm their policy.

3. A fee may be charged.

Unless your hotel has an open policy for pets you may be assessed a fee for your pet’s stay. Typically, that cost is $10 per night per pet. Be on the look out for flat-rate pet sanitation fees and special deposits required and only refunded once the hotel confirms that no damage has been done.

4. A kennel may be required.

Don’t assume that your pet will be allowed to roam your hotel room freely. Some hotels accept pets with the caveat that Fido or Fluffy stay in a travel kennel while in your room. You may have a kennel, but will your pet feel comfortable so confined?

5. Aid dogs may be exempt.

For hotels with a strict no-pet policy, one exception may be allowed for guide dogs. Both seeing eye and hearing ear dogs are typically welcome, but you need to call and confirm same. You may be granted a first floor room near an exit for easy access to the outside.

6. Pet floors are common.

Larger hotels with multiple floors may assign pets to select floors only. This is done so that other guests are not disturbed and housekeeping staff unaware if an animal is present. You may have the kindest dog in the world, but if suddenly visited upon by hotel staff, his instinctive ferocity may be revealed.

7. Remember pet comfort and warning.

Your pet will be in an unfamiliar place and may react negatively even when you’re present. Bring with you your pet’s favorite food, blanket and toys. Comfort your pet and understand that its stress may pour forth in unexpected ways including crying or aggression. Leave a television or a radio on low volume to soothe your pet when you’re not around. A scratching post for a cat and a muzzle for your dog may be in order. Finally, you can help the hotel staff remember that there is a pet in the room by hanging a door knob sign to remind them.

Pet Care

Your pet will need ample tender love and care while on the road. Consider making a veterinarian appointment before you leave, to bring your cat or dog up on his shots and to discuss with your vet options, including medicine, to help him have a safe trip.

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