Whether you are traveling with your dog for vacation or just a weekend getaway, safety is always important. This is particularly true if you are traveling alone. You can read my post Solo Driving With A Dog-Safety Tips for more ideas on how to stay safe. But today, I’m going to talk about keeping yourself and your dog safe during your dog-friendly hotel stay. Here are 11 hotel safety tips to get you started on a safe and fun vacation with your dog.
- Research Dog-Friendly Hotels: Before you even get to #2 on the list, do your research. Check out the location of the hotel, their reviews, and even a crime check of the area. Finding a hotel that is dog-friendly can also mean the hotel is less than secure. You can visit Google maps and get a pretty good idea of the area by viewing up and down the road with the Street View option.
- Book Your Reservation: Booking your dog-friendly accommodations ahead of time can save you a lot of grief and time checking in. You also don’t want to think you have an ideal hotel only to find out they are booked full, and you end up driving all over a new town trying to find a dog-friendly hotel. Request a room not on the ground floor (See #4).
- Park Close When Checking In: Park as close to the check-in, ideally under the covered port if it’s open. Unfortunately, some criminals target vacationers and nothing says vacationer like someone checking into a hotel.
- Checking In: When you check in, ask the front clerk not to announce your room number, to write it down and make sure your room is not on the ground floor. Being on the ground floor is easier for criminals to break into and could have unsavory people loitering around. However, being higher than floor 6 is too high for firetruck ladders. Your dog is also a consideration during this part. Assuming the weather is reasonable and I am able to park close, I leave Dexter inside his locked dog crate inside the locked car while checking in.
- Visual Inspection: Before moving your gear into your hotel room, check your room (without your dog). Check to ensure it is clean and up to your standards. This is also the time to make sure that nothing is left for your dog to eat like pills, candy, food wrappers, or who knows what. Check under the bed, in the corners – do a thorough visual sweep. Look at the windows and door to make sure they are secure and locked, including any adjoining rooms. Look at the evacuation card on the door, so that you know where the stairs are in case of an emergency. Check the telephone to make sure it works properly.
- Moving In: Once again, park as close to the elevator as you can, to make moving into your hotel room as quick and easy as possible. If the hotel provides luggage carts, this will make your move easier and hopefully with fewer trips. This is another time I keep Dexter in the car, I don’t want to have to worry about him getting in the way, trying to manage the cart, my luggage, and Dexter going up and down the elevator. Try to take the elevator alone. If not, avoid pushing your floor number until the other guests have pushed theirs. Be aware of yourself and the others in the elevator. Stay close to the elevator buttons with your back against the wall. By staying close to the elevator buttons, you will be able to hit the emergency button if needed.
- Bringing In Your Dog: Before you walk your dog up to your hotel room, take him for a good potty break, preferably in a well-lit location. Look for a location that is very visible to the front desk area, with people coming and going. This is not a time to be unseen. As always, pick up after your dog and do not allow him to water the ornamental flowers or outdoor furniture.
- During Your Stay: While you are in your hotel, keep the door locked, dead-bolted, and chained with the Do Not Disturb sign up. If your hotel does not have a deadbolt, consider bringing a portable door lock. You can also increase your safety by bringing a portable hotel room motion detector or portable door alarm. Close your curtains so people cannot view inside your room. Keep your room key and your car keys next to your nightstand for easy access. Never open the door to anyone you were not expecting. If they claim to be the hotel staff, security or a police officer, call the front desk to verify.
- Potty Breaks: Just like in #7, make sure to stay in an area that is visible and well-lit when you are walking your dog. Try to get your dog to do his last call before it gets too late at night and dark.
- Leaving Your Room: If you intend to leave your room while you stay, make sure any valuables are stored safely in the hotel safe, a portable safe or not left behind. Turn on the television, lights and place the Do Not Disturb sign on your door prior to leaving.
- Room Cleaning: I personally do not have the hotel staff clean my room during my stay. I will, however, get fresh towels every morning from the front desk.
I’ve talked with people who are afraid to travel because they have heard so many traveling nightmares. Please don’t let these stories stop you from taking a vacation with your dog. Bad things can happen anywhere at any time. Just be smart and safe and have a great time!
Where is your favorite place to visit with your dog? Have you ever vacationed with your cat? Let me know in the comments below.
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