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Norwich Bulletin - 6/18/2006

Canine Hotel Etiquette

So you have decided to take a vacation and include your best friend, the family dog. There are thousands of hotels that now accept dogs, and some of them even have special beds, bowls and other items that they offer to their canine guests.

When making your reservations this summer, always contact the hotelís concierge before you arrive to verify that the hotel is pet friendly. Also find out about pet deposits or fees, if there is a limit to the size of the dog, the maximum number of pets to a room and if there are doggie daycares or pet sitters available through the hotel, in case there is a day that you cannot bring your dog to a vacation outing.

The next thing you want to do before you leave for vacation, is to get your dog all prettied up. Go to the groomers, and make sure they also take care of clipping nails, and if there is any chance of fleas, get the dog a flea treatment.

Also, a trip to the vet is in order so that you can make sure the dog is up to date on all vaccines and, if traveling out of state, make sure you get that all important health certificate! It is always good to travel with this information anyway, just in case your pet gets sick while you are away. As long as you have the medical history, the treating veterinarian can see that your dog is well cared for and current on immunizations.

While packing for the trip, make sure you have dog related items necessary to being a good dog guest. Besides the normal basic items youíll need, such as food and toys, you should also bring a crate, old sheets to cover the bed and chairs in case you let your dog on the hotel room furniture, a mat to place under the food and water bowls, pooper scooper bags, newspapers, old towels and carpet cleaner in case of accidents, a flashlight for nighttime walks, and wet wipes for cleaning doggy paws after a walk. These items will insure that you are a good pet owner guest.

It is important to make that good first impression. Stop at the front desk to pick up any guidelines, as well as any welcome packages that may be waiting for you, to help make your dogís visit pleasant. Some hotels provide custom doggie beds, placemats with silver bowls and special plastic bags and latex gloves for picking up doggie waste.

Once settled in, most hotels do not want pets left alone in the room when the owners are gone, but everyone ends up doing it at some time or another. Thatís why the crate is a good item to have if you are driving to your vacation. Also, put up the Do not disturb sign and clean your own room, so as not to scare housekeeping.

Leave the television on quietly so your pet has some soothing sounds while you are out, and if you have a barker, consider using a veterinarian dispensed anxiety medication that will help your dog feel relaxed and content while you are out and about.

Be really careful not to damage the room, but remember that accidents do happen, and if something gets ruined, be sure to bring it to the attention of management yourself and offer to pay for any costs. And of course, teaching your pet to say goodbye with a pawshake, never hurts!

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