When taking a vacation with your dog, you may find yourself staying in a dog-friendly hotel, bed and breakfast, rental home, or even a dog-friendly cabin. Being able to stay in a pet-friendly accommodation always comes with some kind of pet policy. Before booking your trip, you should read the pet policy carefully to ensure that it meets your travel needs. Some pet policies clearly state that a dog cannot be left in a room unattended, and others state a dog must be crated. But what if there isn’t a policy? Should you leave your dog unattended? Here are some things to consider before leaving Fido behind. If you haven’t read my post on Hotel Dog Etiquette, hop over and take a look at that first.
- Secure: Is your dog comfortable and secure in his new environment? If not, leaving your dog in a hotel room alone is not a good idea. For some dogs, traveling can be stressful, and having their humans leave during this time can cause some dogs to develop separation anxiety. Even with Dexter, I have a one day rule. The first day of our vacation or arriving at our destination, there is no leaving him. He is not a stressful dog, and travels often, but that first day he needs me. After I’ve unpacked, and we had one good night’s sleep, he is totally comfortable with the new situation.
- Crate Trained: If you have successfully taught your dog how to enjoy staying in his crate, you are in a better position to leave your dog alone in a hotel room. By leaving your dog in his crate that he is accustomed to, you are offering a safe area that is familiar to him. It also helps with any chances that someone will come into your room and he will run out. If you need a little help in crate training your dog, read this article.
- Potty Trained No Chewing: If you are not using a dog crate and intend to leave your dog running free in the room while you leave, you better be sure that he won’t pee on anything or chew anything up.
- Barking: If your dog is prone to barking, whether because of stress, excitement, or noises, leaving him behind might make him a nuisance. This is particularly true if you are staying in a dog-friendly hotel or condo. If you have neighbors or there is a lot of outside noise, your dog may bark while you are away and annoy others.
- Location, Location, Location: Some dog-friendly accommodations are very quiet and comfortable. These tend to be more of an ideal scenario if you are leaving your dog behind while you go grab some dinner out. For me, I never would leave Dexter in a hotel room alone (except when I’m loading my car), but do leave him in the dog-friendly rental homes I rent for the week. It is pretty rare that I leave Dexter behind – after all, my vacation does revolve around Dexter – but I may want to participate in an occasional tourist thing that that is not dog-friendly.
- Tell The Front Desk: If you are staying in a hotel and intend to leave your dog alone, tell the front desk and provide them with your cell phone number. This will allow them to contact you if your dog does become upset or needs assistance. Also, place the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door before you leave and play Through A Dog’s Ear musical CD if you can, to help zen out the room. And don’t forget to read my Dog Travel Essentials Check List before you leave for your trip.
Remember, when you are vacationing with your dog, you are an ambassador. In order to have more dog-friendly establishments, we dog guardians need to band together and show them that we are courteous individuals who happen to have dogs as traveling companions.