Top 10 Travelling With a Dog Pet Peeves!


As I now approach a full six years (Wait. Woa. What?) of being a travelling canine, I have to admit, even if reluctantly, that there are certain things my pawsitive energy can’t always overcome. You could call them “pet peeves.” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) I like to call them “items for the poop list” or, in layman terms, “The Shit List.”

In this blog, I like to focus on the pawsitive side of travelling with a dog. Also, I don’t generally sweat the small stuff. Like all good dogs, I prefer just to live in the moment. Adopting a “glass half full” attitude and going with the flow are skills that get refined with travelling. You need those skills when, for example, dealing with the insanity of getting from point A to B and point B suddenly becomes point C.

But sometimes you need to voice your frustration. So today I present to you our top 10 travelling with a dog pet peeves. See my banner pic? See my stink eye? yeah … that is how I feel about these.

1. Unclean Pet-Friendly Hotel Rooms

Just because a room is designated as pet-friendly, the hotel doesn’t get to slack off with cleaning. A hotel guest should never walk into a pet-friendly hotel room and feel like they have just entered a grooming salon or dog kennel. If anything, the opposite should be true: the room should be pristine clean. This is especially true if the hotel is charging a non-refundable pet fee. Isn’t the pet fee to compensate for the extra cleaning that may be required?

If a hotel is serious about their cleaning service, someone who suffers from pet allergies should be able to stay in the room after housekeeping is done without breaking into … well, whatever symptoms the allergies cause.

Oh, and it’s also not alright to relegate pet travellers to the creepiest room possible or to one of the old un-renovated rooms or rooms considered less desirable such as those near the ice machine or elevators.

Top 10 Travelling With a Dog Pet Peeves Niagara falls

Case in point: Old Stone Inn (Niagara Falls). Pretty bed and clean but the room was very dark, the window was overlooking the indoor pool. So no direct light and the smell of chlorine was in everything. *sigh*

2. Mile-Long Pet-Friendly Rules

Related to Shit List Item #1. A hotel is either pet-friendly or it is not. Having a number of rules the length of Santa’s naughty list makes it nearly impossible to use the hotel facilities with your dog. It boils down to false advertising.

If you can’t walk in the lobby (how, then, do you leave and enter the hotel?!), use the beach, lounge by the pool, access the business centre, visit the hotel gardens, or—our favourite—leave the dog in the room unattended, even if quiet and crated (of course), then how is that hotel pet-friendly? In fact, in order to really qualify as pet-friendly, we maintain that the hotel has to offer a “dining with pooch” option that does not require that you eat in isolation in your room with room service and paying the premium price that goes with it.

Let’s just say that I see a need for some formal understanding of the term “pet-friendly” in the travel industry. Heck let’s use a paw print rating system: 1 to 5 paws, depending upon how pet-friendly the hotel is. Then, just as bipeds know what to expect with the 1 to 5 star-ranking, with-pet travellers” would also know what to expect.

And then there are all the no pets signs everywhere with no explanation as to WHY!!

Travelling With a Dog Pet Peeves Jersey Shore

thousands of miles of beach – no one section pet friendly. WHY?

3. The Pet In-Cabin Airline Charge

The list of grievances that cross my mind on this subject is so long it should be its own blog post. But I’ll bite my tongue and save you from the R-rated expletives waiting to be spit out.

What Airlines Do: Charge you—anywhere from $75 to $300 for cross-Atlantic flights, cost depending on airlines—for the privilege of bringing your pet in-cabin with you, yet kids often travel for free if sitting on a parent’s lap.

What Airlines Don’t Do: Give with-pet travellers the right to bring an additional carry-on bag. The pet carrier becomes the carry-on allowance, meaning the pet takes no extra room and does not add any weight. Travellers are not given seating with extra leg-room to accommodate a pet carrier. They are not given pre-boarding or pre-registration privileges. With-pet travellers are not even guaranteed that they will be able to take their flight; they could be asked to disembark should other travellers complain about the pet. Airlines do not provide special pet-friendly amenities or special waiting rooms with dog play areas and indoor potty options. There are no special filters for allergens above a with-pet seat. The airline doesn’t even have to absorb an extra cleaning cost given the pet is never allowed out of the carrier.

Conclusion: There is no justification for the airline’s extra charge imposed on those wishing to travel with their pets in-cabin. I don’t take up more space or more fuel; I don’t consume any of the airline food or use the plane’s facilities; and I certainly don’t cry or carry-on or run the aisles when restless. It seems the only reason the charge exists is to discourage people from flying with their pets. Frankly, that is such a passive–aggressive approach to customer management, it makes our blood boil.

4. Erroneous Website Pet Policy Information

Speaking of false advertising and passive–aggressive approaches to customer management … we always tell our readers to call ahead and confirm arrangements because websites are not always accurate or up-to-date regarding pet policies (and other services). This is true of airlines, hotels, parks, museums, and many others venues. Frankly, no one should have to double check. If a company website says “pet-friendly,” a client should be able to book without having to confirm if this is still the case.

Failing to provide any pet information at all, especially when also failing to provide contact details for inquiring, is equally annoying. Oh, and let’s not forget my favourite: inconsistent pet policies within the same chain. Most humans don’t know the difference between a chain and a franchise; the point is, if it’s all under one brand, the rules should be consistent. Of course I do understand that some local bylaws may come into play. You may be allowed to eat on a patio in Miami but not say … in Ottawa. le sigh

Travelling With a Dog Pet Peeves Miami

Dining with Dad in Miami! Nooooo problem!

5. Un-Informed Staff, or Staff Who Just Don’t Know (or Care)

If a business can mislead by advertising as pet-friendly but enforcing policies that are not really pet-friendly at all, and if businesses can get away with inaccurate websites, then I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised when we meet staff who are less informed than we are about a business’s pet-friendly status. Still, it’s annoying and poor service. If you are going to be a pet-friendly business, then tell your staff what that means and what the procedures are. It is not the client’s job to train staff on the business’s pet policies.

Similarly, no client should ever be made to feel they are being difficult or causing a scene because staff don’t know what to do —or feel it is a burden to sort it out—when presented with a travelling dog. This is so often the case with most airlines at check-in: the staff can see the pet is registered but have no idea how to issue the correct boarding pass. roll eyes

6. No Pets, No Reason

This seems obvious, right? Am I right? Yet, I can’t tell you how often we are confronted with a “no pets allowed” policy without any reason or justification, or with any way to find the information. If you are going to dogscriminate, then the least you can do is provide a reason—even if it is a shitty and/or misguided one.

Travelling With a Dog Pet Peeves Dullus

and while we are at it why doesn’t every airport have an “this side of security” pet relief area?

7. Size Limitation

Although this has yet to be, or is likely ever to be, an issue with me since I’m nearly as small as dogs get, I still absolutely hate this trend. Most large dogs I know, including Great Danes for example, tend to be gentle giants. They are often calmer, quieter, and better behaved than their toy breed counterparts. No doubt, when you have a huge dog, you know you need one that is really well behaved if you are going to go anywhere!

I honestly believe that the dog’s temperament rather than size should be what accommodations look at. Instead of “dogs 25 pounds or less,” I would like to see, “Calm and well trained dogs allowed. The hotel reserves the right to not allow ill-mannered canines onto the property.” And here’s an idea: waive the pet fee for dogs certified with good citizen training. There’s nothing like a financial incentive to encourage owner training as a social expectation.

8. Breed-Specific Bans

I just … I can’t. Seriously, this issue is one that drives me so completely crazy that I don’t even have the words. Whether it’s a country not allowing a breed inside it’s borders or “pet-friendly” accommodations with a pet policy that restricts a dozen breeds, it’s a kind of human insanity that I can’t wrap my head around. You want to know the #1 biting breed in the world? Chihuahua’s! Yep, ME. This, my Dear Reader, is a post for a different kind of blog, but I am not immune to feeling my blood boil on the issue.

9. Carrier Confinement

This one applies on a lot of public transportation. I really don’t see why I can’t sit on my biped’s lap during a flight or at the departure lounge. If kept on-leash, I believe I am far less likely to be disruptive than most of the children I have seen. I also love the airports where I can walk about and stretch my legs. Why some airports don’t allow this, I have no idea. (Looking at you, Ottawa Airport!) It’s also a rule applied inconsistently across airports, so forces travellers with pets to look up the rules for each airport. I feel the same way about trains. I have no issue at all with a leash policy … heck, I think some kids … no … I won’t say it.

Top 10 Travelling With a Dog Pet Peeves CDG

Freedom to walk  with Dad on leash – Paris CDG airport.

10. Cargo Travel

In-cabin size restrictions aside (Why can’t a big dog, like a child, get a seat?), if you are going to leave dogs over 15–20 pounds with no other choice but to travel cargo, the least you can do is make the experience as pleasant and as safe as possible. I’ve seen some improvement over the years with things like apps that allow owners to track their dog’s location. But there are so many things that are still not common practice. Delta is by far one of the worse culprits in my books for pet travel in cargo, but they are not alone. In-cargo travel for pets should, at a minimum, include sound-proofed and temperature-controlled space in the cargo hold, just like in-cabin. Someone to watch over the pets in transit would be perfect. At the very least, there should be a camera to monitor the pets, and access from in-cabin to the pet area so crew (or the owner) can go down to the cargo hold if a pet should become distressed.

And there you have it: our top 10 travelling with a dog pet peeves. Do you have a “travelling with pet” burr in your fur you’d like to add to our “Shit List”?

59 Comments on “Top 10 Travelling With a Dog Pet Peeves!

  1. Two paws up, all mentioned, yes, All mentioned, makes traveling with six furbabies of mine impossible, even if I am ready to pay for every step take in organizing it. Great read, Monte Dumas, thank you.

  2. Great article! I wish there was one (just one!) hotel/airline/transportation co. that would take a step in the right direction and allow more freedom for pets. At minimum, it would be great to meet European standard. I also completely agree about the CGC certification meaning more, avoiding fees etc. I don’t condone this, but I truly understand people who get (sometimes fake) service dog certification for their dogs. Many do it so that their larger dogs don’t have to ride in the dangerous (often deadly) cargo space on planes. Sadly my pup is 30 lbs and a flat-nosed dog (Frenchie) so sadly air-travel is out of the question at this point. I do hope over time things will change!

    • I hope so as well! I see no reason why you could not purchase a seat ticket for your dog. Sure it would be expensive but at least there would be an option!

  3. I love this list because it doesn’t apologize. I take my dog with me – he’s better than most kids. I don’t ask permission. Only once – in my home town yesterday – was I rudely told I couldn’t bring the dog into a dress store with no food. Lost a sale bud. Likely many, I live down the street and shop like a fiend.
    I have also never understood why I can’t buy an airplane seat for my dog. If dogs are allowed in the cabin, why not? Again, missed revenue opportunity.

    • I totally agree! I don’t understand it one bit! and good for you. I can’t tell you how many stores have lost business here for the same reason. Their loss! and we have a following so … word of mouth goes both ways. right? 😉

  4. #1 is definitely my biggest pet peeve. I strongly agree that if I have to pay a pet deposit for a hotel room, I should be able to walk into it and not know that any other pet has ever been there. Rarely does that happen, though. Sometimes it’s just downright disgusting how poorly the rooms have been cleaned.

  5. Great post! I so agree! So many of these are our pet peeves, too! Like, Siberian Huskies on a ban list?! They were once listed in an online article on Top Vicious Breeds, and that is just ridiculous! They might lick a person…so after a write-in campaign, and getting my “army” of readers together, I was successful in getting them to pull the greatly incorrect listing! But seriously? And, yes, what is up with miles of sandy beaches, but not one little area for dogs? And again, yes, false advertising! Just had a friend up to visit and was going to stay at a particular and advertised “dog friendly” hotel chain, only to find out when she arrived at one on her trip, she was refused! She had to stay with her dog in her car at rest stops along her way home. Grrrr. Love your stink-eye pic! So fitting!

    • Oh that is SO disappointing for her and kudos for her sleeping in her car. DAMN them! I would leave a bad comment on Trip Advisor.

  6. Oooh, no dogs on the beach is such a stupid rule!! I clean up after my dogs, so what’s the big deal? I’m taking a trip with 2 of my dogs in October, so your tips are more than welcome!!

  7. Hell yes to the entire list, but especially #2 and #4 are what I’ve experienced the most so far. It drives me crazy! Sometimes there will be a pet friendly hotel, but ALL the beaches in the area will have a “no dogs allowed” sign. (We’ve kind of disobeyed the sign a few times though, haha). Then there are some dog friendly beaches that are not even worthy of the title. I swear they put up a “dog friendly” sign at the end of the “beach”, somewhere where nobody ever goes, nobody ever cleans and you can’t even get into the water without breaking your neck on the giant rocks. WHY even bother with it then? Just so you can get extra credit as pet frendly? Smh! It’s a real disappointment, especially because the websites can be soooo misleading. I always try to read the reviews of other people with pets, or ask friends + family for recommended places. Luckily I have a big family and sometimes family members will check a place out before we go there with the dogs. It has proven to be a pretty effective method, but of course, the bigger the distance, the less this is possible.

    • It’s why I write this blog to provide another venue for that information. I would so love to visit all the pet friendly beaches in the world!

  8. Great post- and all legitimate pet peeves! It’s time to ban BSL especially. But some of the extra charges places get away with is nothing but a rip-off.

    • I often think the charges are there to in fact discourage pet travel. So they can say they are but not actually have to be. Sneaky.

  9. My dogs are stay home kinda dogs, but I can see why these would irk you! It is ridiculous that a dog can’t walk through an airport. If something is advertised as “pet-friendly” then it should be friendly to pets and their people!

  10. Great post! I’m not sure I have any ideas to add. Maybe dark, unclean “potty areas”. I never use the designated potty area at a hotel, it’s always in a dark, scary spot. Of, course, I pick up and don’t allow Dexter to pee on anything but grass.

    • I am also indoor potty trained so that helps but I totally agree. It’s almost like they have this area that they can’t use for anything else so they go “oh I know…” ugh.

  11. I really loved your article.some really excellent points to consider when people are travelling with dogs but would also apply to other pets. Meow for now… Kristian

    • Yep! I actually see a lot of cats when I fly. They just sleep really — they seem a bit more annoyed upon landing. I have also seen small pigs, rabbits and ferrets!

  12. Are Chi’s really the top biting dog?? Wow who knew? I had them pinned as small, cute and a little bit noisy (although not as noisy as howling kids on planes!!)

    I confess I am not sure about big dogs on a plane. Mostly becuase sometimes the owner may not be in control. But that’s a me thing. All of our cats came half way around the world cargo class (and I know it was the reason Peanut refused to pass acrss the Bridge unti she was 19.5 – she was going to make her stay in NZ worthwhile!!)

    Many of your peeves are a lack of thought by airports or airlines. I reckon that as they don’t make a profit these people will not be interested! Which is a shame.

    • Yes we are! granted the level of damage is also proportionate and its likely why most people don’t know! It doesn’t get reported the same way. not sensational enough I guess.

      In Italy big dogs can take all public transport. They must have a muzzle, leash and a blanket on the seat. Seems to work!

      It really is a money grab … *sigh*

  13. My dogs don’t travel with me unless we go by car. I get furious when we pay for a great hotel and we’re put in the worst room only because we have our dog. It almost makes you want to “forget” to tell them you have your dog with you! This has happened so many times to us.

  14. With three large dogs (all more than 50 lbs each) we, sadly, don’t do much traveling (though I still have fantasies about loading everyone up in an RV and hitting the road) I’m pretty sure that even hotels that accept dogs, wouldn’t let me in with 200 pounds of dogs so I’ve never even tried. Also, I have a pit bull so we are automatically limited to where we’re allowed simply based on her breed and having nothing to do with her behavior – I’d take her anywhere over one of my labs who is just a little too enthusiastic. I really appreciate your acknowledgment that it has (should have) more to do with a dog’s behavior than their size or breed.

    We never travel by plane because I’m terrified of putting my dogs in the cargo hold. I had no idea that folks with smaller dogs were being charged in that manner for traveling with your pups in-cabin. That’s ridiculous!

    • Your RV idea sounds like a blast! I recently did an interview with Millie La Rue’s gang … granted Yorkies but FIVE of them! I think we can add to the list restricting the number of dogs allowed. Again it should be based on behaviour! IF ever you need to reach out for bog dog cargo flying head over to the Tropical dog… that’s what they are all about!

  15. Traveling with a pet can be a major headache. I’ve heard my parents complain about the poor accommodations when they’ve stayed at a “pet friendly” hotel.

    • We don’t find it to be a headache. Six years in it’s become pretty routine. We now know it’s better to travel outside of North America and to rent apartments (plus it cheaper). But the airline fees that drives us crazy.

  16. Airline fees for pets are pretty outrageous! I wouldn’t mind a token fee but it’s steep… especially as you lose a bag. Portland is pretty dog-friendly… and I usually just end up not shopping at non-dog friendly stores (the ones that don’t serve food) as I usually have Mr. N with me when running errands.

    • We are the same. Not being pet friendly means lost business. Unlike other “with pet” travellers I know that will leave the pet in the hotel and go back to do the activity or visit that store for us … it just means no.

  17. I completely agree with you on the airplane charges! I would rather be able to buy a seat. I don’t get that the fees charged are aligned in any way with insurance… I’m perplexed by what my $150-300 fee goes to. I would get it if it was transferred to the airport in some manner – they are doing quite a bit to accommodate pets, but not the airline. Great post and keep up the travels!

    • THAT is a really good point. If the money WAS going to the airports that are all one by one adding pet areas then ok – at least you’d have an idea of what is was for. Right now as it is…? NO clue. Other than to discourage people from flying with their pets.

  18. I can relate! I just took the furkids on a 1300m roadtrip and the first hotel we stayed in was a HOLE!! Sooo unhappy with the accommodations… The second was better, but the pet potty area was in the corner of the parking lot, on the other side of which the homeless kept their carts, which made it IMPOSSIBLE for my kids to concentrate on the task at hand. Here’s hoping we can get hotels to step up their game for our furry friends!

    • I think it’s worse in North America than Europe. At least so far in our experience. A lot of chains are getting better. I know the Fairmonts in Canada although pricier are pretty darn awesome and in Ottawa the Ramada on the River (I did a post) is really fantastic. There is hope.

  19. Interesting article! In Australia, you can’t take pets in the cabin regardless of their size, all pets have to fly in the cargo hold. It’s stressful for them and for us owners.

  20. What a great post. I hate the restrictions in Ontario anywhere food is served it seems, even patios. I also can’t understand why you can’t buy a seat for a pet on a plane if you want to spend the $. Apparently, you can’t take a dog on the subway in NYC unless in a carrier, at least our TTC let me take Kilo on the bus and subway in Toronto just on a leash. I haven’t stayed in many hotels with pets but I have to say, we had an amazing experience with the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto with dogs, and met some other people in the elevator and lobby having and equally positive stay with their pets. The chef even made a special meal for Doug the Pug and they had little bathrobes.

    • Ottawa is terrible – no public transport at all. We loved it in Toronto when we visited and were able to take the TTC. I’ll have to add the Royal York to our list!

  21. Oh you are singing my song!! Every one of these points is so valid. In my mind a hotel is either Pet Welcoming or merely Pet Tolerant. So many “Pet friendly” places in general offer anything w/ the least desirable conditions. It’s such a shame. Round trip in cabin airfare for dogs on US domestic flights are about $200! Talk about taking advantage of the dog loving community. Sharing your fabulous post!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • I don’t like to be a Debbie downer but sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade. And yes it is totally a money grab. I agree – there is a lot of taking advantage of dog lovers BUT luckily there is are a lot of places that do not. I find fewer accommodation issues in Europe for example. So there is that. 🙂

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  23. The list that you have mentioned resonates so deeply with me. It is pretty tough finding hotels that allows me to bring my pets in. It is tougher trying to find that hotel which is clean enough for my dog to reside in.

    • In all fairness the mistake people make is looking at hotels. We have been travelling for the last 4 years or so predominately using apartment rentals. Cheaper and better every time. FlipKey is a great resource. So is Trip Advisor and Airbnb.

  24. Soooo many pet peeves!! In Europe, it’s no better 🙁
    I would love to see the day these things improve and then I won’t stop hopping from country to country

    • I do find Europe to be better especially in terms of granting access. I can’t even take the bus here…

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  26. Agreed on all of these! Not sure why we can’t all abide by the innocent until proven otherwise rule, especially with dogs that behave better than most humans!

  27. This is all SO true! Part of the reason we restrict our travel with our dogs is that while both are wonderfully trained and incredibly friendly, one is a “pitbull” mix and weighs 60lbs. So many places don’t want to accommodate bigger dogs and the idea of putting him in a cargo hold is too terrifying to consider. And all the weight restrictions at hotels? Seems so silly! I really like your idea for offering discounts for GCC dogs- that would be a huge incentive for people to actually train their dogs! Thank you for all of this! Your words rang true and resonated completely with me! Cheers from Loki the Pitbull/Aussie and Harley the Chihuahua/italian greyhound in California!

    • right? it would solve SO many issues and put the focus where it needs to be: training the humans.

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