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Important considerations for implementing a hotel pet policy

Posted by Adrian Johansen on Jan 24, 2022 3:03:00 PM
Adrian Johansen

For many people, their pets are a part of the family. Some travelers wouldn’t dare to leave home without bringing their four-legged friend along. As a result, more hotels across the country are becoming pet-friendly. 

Having amenities for pets is a great way to attract more guests to your establishment. They don’t have to worry about boarding their animal somewhere, and they can enjoy themselves more knowing their furry friend is nearby. Post a few cat-or-dog-friendly perks about your hotel on social media as part of your marketing strategy, and you might be surprised by how quickly the reservations come in!

But, before you decide if allowing pets in your hotel is right for you, it’s important to implement a pet policy. Unruly animals can become a liability. You might have messes to deal with that you didn’t expect. Other guests don’t want to hear a barking dog at all hours of the night. 

Those are just a few things to keep in mind as you create a policy for pet owners. Let’s dive a little deeper with guest blogger Adrian Johansen, into what your pet policy should include making everyone happy and comfortable – including the animals!

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Keeping everyone healthy

The health and wellness of your guests and staff should be your number one priority. So, if you’re allowing pets on the premises, it’s important to make sure they won’t pass on any illnesses or pose a threat to anyone else. Most pet insurances cover a variety of vaccinations that dogs and cats should have, including: 

  • Kennel cough
  • Giardia
  • Parvo

Requiring any pets that come to your hotel to be vaccinated is a great way to ensure they won’t pass on anything to other pets or people. You can take things one step further in your policy by requiring proof of a recent medical exam, as well. 

No matter what you’re requiring in your policy, to avoid any issues with staff, make sure that they are fully trained on how to go over the rules with guests and to make sure each one is implemented properly. By making your staff feel comfortable and knowledgeable in their training, they’re more likely to be happy and content in the workplace. Plus, they get the bonus of being able to interact with cute cats and dogs all day, so it’s a win-win!


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Ensuring safety

Most pet owners know their animal’s personality. They’re well aware of any behavioral issues, and whether the dog or cat has gone through any obedience training. So, it’s not overstepping to require specific rules and restraints, especially for dogs. 

Some common hotel pet policies include the following to ensure everyone remains safe: 

  • Pets must be fully trained
  • All pets must be restrained or kept on a leash on hotel property when not in the guest’s bedroom
  • No pet should be left unattended
  • They must comply with local legislation requirements

Some hotels only allow pets that are a certain weight. It’s much easier to deal with a dog that’s under 25 pounds than a 100+ pound breed. Larger dogs can be a turnoff for guests who don’t have pets and might even be viewed as a threat. As a result, it’s not uncommon for hotels to restrict certain breeds, as well. 

Don’t forget the fine print

After making sure your pet policy promotes the safety and well-being of everyone at your hotel, it’s also important to make sure the hotel itself is protected. That includes more than just the building you’re in – it includes your business/brand image. 

Specific rules and regulations you put in place are completely up to you. While many pet policies across the country have similarities, there are often details that make each one a bit different. You need to consider things like your hotel’s location, size, traditional amenities, and the typical travelers who come to stay. 

If you’ve never considered a pet policy before, keeping your bases covered, even after your guests with furry friends leave, will protect your building and your brand. Some considerations include making sure guests are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Even the most well-behaved animals can have accidents or get sick on the property, and it shouldn’t be your staff’s responsibility to clean up after them. 

Additionally, guests need to be responsible for any property damage that might occur because of their pet. When animals are away from home or in unfamiliar situations, they can get anxious. Dogs might chew on things like furniture, and cats might claw or “mark” their territory on things. Your guests need to know that their room will be inspected after checkout, and any damages could be added to their final bill. 

More often than not, pet owners are happy to agree to almost any pet policy because it allows them to bring their furry companions with them. No matter what you decide to include in your policy, the most important thing is making sure the language is clear and concise, so you don’t have to worry about any confusion from staff or guests. 

Implementing a hotel pet policy can be a great way to breathe new life into your establishment and follow the latest trends so your facility can stay relevant. Take your time with the rules and regulations you want to put in place, and allowing pets to stay with their owners will be a happy and beneficial addition, rather than a stressful one. 


It has been a long and challenging year, no doubt. But some parts of the world are, at least, beginning to return to normal business operations once again. As you prepare to reopen or increase physical operations, it is imperative to institute best practices to reassure, welcome, and protect your guests and staff.

Adrian-Johansen-170x170 Adrian Johansen is a writer and businesswoman in the Pacific Northwest. She loves discussing what businesses can do to thrive, especially during hard times. You can find more of her writing on Contently


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Topics: Hotels, Hospitality managers, COVID-19