Bringing Your Service Dog to A Hotel is Easy
Travelling and staying in hotels, whether it be for vacation or business, is a normal part of life, including for service dog owners. Under the ADA, all service dog owners are permitted to travel and remain with their handlers in any hotel, whether it be a roadside motel, or an extravagant 5-star resort.
The ADA defines a service dog as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Under the ADA, State and local governments, private businesses and non-profits that serve the public have a general requirement to allow service dogs to accompany their handlers in all areas where the public is permitted, and hotels are no exception. While we are on the subject, it is worth noting that service dogs may also accompany you on a plane, should air travel be required to get to your hotel.
It is critical to know your rights as a service dog owner. Any “no pet policy” is inapplicable to service dogs.
What Can my Hotel Ask Me at Check-in?
As with any business or public establishment, employees are permitted to ask the following two questions:
- Is your dog a service dog?
- Is your dog trained to assist you with a disability?
No additional questions are permitted. The ADA expressly prohibits any questions relating to the details of your disability and you are not required to provide proof of your disability either.
As a service dog owner, you are entitled to the same enjoyment as any other guest, and you may not be discriminated against for requiring a service dog. For example, hotels cannot limit your ability to check into certain rooms, or limit your access to certain amenities like restaurants, gyms or spas.
Are there fees to bring a service dog to hotels?
The simple answer is no. Hotels cannot charge you additional fees just for having a service dog. This includes any fees pet fees or cleaning fees. However, if your service dog were to damage or soil any hotel property, the hotel is permitted to charge extra for that, the same way they can charge if you were to damage hotel property. The Marriott hotel, which is one of the world’s largest hotel chains expressly states that service dogs are permitted and in their hotels and that no pet fees will be charged.
Responsibilities of Brining a Service Dog to a Hotel
While service dogs are permitted in hotels, they are not guests, and hotel staff have no obligation to provide care for service dogs. For example, service dog owners must ensure their dogs are taken out to use the bathroom and must provide food and water, as they would in any other setting. Service dogs should also remain with their handlers at all times and should never be left alone in a hotel room.
Do I Need to Inform the Hotel That I Require a Service Dog?
There is no requirement to inform your hotel that you will be bringing a service dog to a hotel in advance. However, if there is an opportunity to inform the hotel prior to your arrival, we always recommend it. It gives the hotel an opportunity to prepare, and ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible. Remember, the ADA does not mandate service dog registration or the use of certificates to bring a service dog to a hotel. However, maintaining proper documentation can, and often does, reduce the chances of any conflict between service dog owners and hotel employees. It is the simplest way to ensure an efficient check in, and avoid unnecessary confusion or confrontation.
Not all hotels have formal service dog policies in place, and many hotel staff may be uninformed of the laws surrounding service dogs. In the event that anyone questions your use a of a service dog, always remain calm and avoid escalating the situation. It is best to speak to a supervisor, and explain the legal rights that are associated with service dog ownership. Our certificates feature unique QR codes that can be scanned to immediately demonstrate valid registration and put hotel staff at ease.
Register now to receive your uniquely identifiable Service Dog Identification and Certification.