Pet Friendly Hotels vs “Accepts Pets” – What Are the Differences?

If you’re thinking about traveling to a hotel with your pet then chances are you have already started looking for hotels where pets are allowed. Something you may not realize is that there are different levels to these type of properties.

Some of these hotels could be classified as truly pet friendly (or pet positive) while others merely accept or tolerate pets.

It may not seem like a significant difference but whenever you dive into the differences between these type of properties, you realize that your experience with your pet could be dramatically different based on the type of hotel you choose.

Below, I will highlight the differences between a pet friendly hotel and a hotel that only tolerates pets. You’ll see what you might be missing out on and hopefully will have a better idea of what to look for when shopping around for your next hotel stay with your pet.

What’s the difference between a pet friendly hotel and a hotel that just accepts pets?

The major difference between a hotel that is pet friendly and a hotel that just accepts pets is the approach they take to catering to pets such as dogs.

A pet friendly hotel will be more welcoming and provide more amenities for your pet while an “accepts pets” property may take a more minimal approach to catering to your furry friend.

I’ll provide examples that I’ve encountered below as we have traveled with our pup to dozens of hotels over the past few years.

Pet friendly Hotels

A pet friendly hotel chooses to go out of their way to make you and your pet more welcomed and comfortable. They do this in several ways.

For one, the staff may be trained to be more welcoming to you and your pet whenever you arrive, to the point of even welcoming your pet by name.

You won’t feel like you are “bothering” people when you walk in the lobby with your dog.

Instead, you may be greeted with a smile and showered with compliments on how adorable your dog is.

And it may not just be the front desk who shows interest in your animal — you’ll also find other personnel like the valet or housekeeping who also appreciate your doggo.

Pet friendly hotels are known to offer special amenities. For example, they may have a special dog bowl, dog bed, toys, and bandanna that they provide you with. Doggy treats usually abound.

Related: Bringing a Dog to a Hotel: Essential Tips for a Good Stay

To make things clear for housekeeping they may give you a hanging door handle placard to place on your door so that housekeeping knows there is a pet hanging out inside. Dog friendly hotels may take it a step further and put your dog’s name on the placard, just to add a little special touch.

Sometimes they have a special designated (well-kept) area for your pet to relieve themselves. And nearby you can also find dispensers with poop bags to clean up after your dog’s bathroom sessions.

Another way that dog friendly hotels stand out is that they may not limit you to the most basic rooms or stick you to a room separated from the main hotel.

For example, you might still be able to get a good upgrade or get put in a high level room even with your pet. Pet friendly hotels also may keep up with the pet rooms better so that they don’t become run down and have strong odors.

If you are really lucky a pet friendly hotel might even have a service where they will help take care of your dog.

That could be keeping an eye on them while you are away or even getting professionals to help take your dog for a walk. This is not common but it is offered by some hotels.

These type of properties may even have a “dog concierge” that will help you find pet friendly restaurants, groomers, local vets, etc.

Hotels like the Fairmont even have something called Canine Ambassadors. These are dogs that greet guests and other pets when they arrive at the hotel. Sometimes guests can even hang out with the dogs on trails and around the hotel!

All of these amenities make your stay a little bit easier and don’t make you feel like you are a nuisance or intruding when you bring your animal around.

Pet friendly hotels will usually charge a pet fee which is also used to cover some of the amenities they offer. But it is possible to find a pet friendly hotel that does not charge a fee! That is the ultimate type of pet friendly hotel!

There are some brands that are known for being more pet friendly overall and these include brands like:

While some Westin properties may not accept pets, we’ve had good experiences bringing our pup with us on a handful of different Westin stays. I’d consider them to be a pretty pet friendly brand.

Related: Rental Car Company Pet Policies: How to Avoid Getting Charged Hundreds of Dollars!

Hotels that just accept pets

Hotels that merely accept pets sometimes don’t offer you any type of amenity or special welcome bag. The only pet related exchange you have is whenever you check in and fill out your form for your pet and pay the pet fee.

At these properties, you also might get put into select rooms that don’t have great views, don’t smell the greatest, etc. And if you were hoping for an upgrade, you can forget about it.

I’ve stayed at some hotels that do offer doggy treats or some type of simple doggy bag with a treat or two inside so they at least provide you with something. But outside of that they really don’t do anything to cater to your pet and so they still don’t feel very pet friendly.

Sometimes at these properties you get the feeling that the staff doesn’t really care to have pets around. You get minimal interactions and acknowledgment and you don’t generally feel like your pet is as welcomed as you would like.

It’s also possible that if your dog acts up a little bit, the hotel may have less tolerance towards your pet and be quicker to apply some type of nuisance fee.

These hotels also may apply pet fees that make it extra hard on pet owners.

For example, their rates may be double or triple what you would normally expect to pay or they charge you a per night fee that adds up very quickly. With the pricing, you get the feeling that it’s more of a deterrent to keep pets away than to help accommodate them.

These type of hotels may also have low weight limits which can make it hard for you to bring your dog along if you have a medium or large sized dog. For example, they may limit dogs to under 25 pounds. Another limitation could be on the number of pets you have which usually is one or two.

Compare that to the most pet friendly hotels who may have no limits on the number of pets and also no weight limits.

How to know if your hotel is pet friendly or not

It’s easy to filter for a hotel that allows pets such as dogs when utilizing a search feature.

But unless you book a brand such as Kimpton that is well-known for catering to pets, you may not always know if your hotel is going to be pet friendly.

That’s because some brands don’t have universal (corporate) policies on pets.

One of the best ways to find out is to simply search through reviews of that hotel for the words “pet” and “pet friendly” or “dog” and “dog friendly” and you can see what other people are saying about the treatment of their pets.

If you’re not able to find anything useful in the reviews then you can call up the property and ask them what type of amenities they offer for pets.

If they don’t have anything then chances are they are not a pet friendly hotel.

But if they offer things like beds, treats, toys, and especially if they have designated pet areas or extra services, there is a high chance that that property is pet friendly and your pet will be welcomed with open arms.

The other thing you can look at is the restrictions. If you’re facing a lot of weight and size restrictions along with higher pet fees that hotel may not be very pet friendly.

Final word

It’s nice bringing your pet to a pet friendly hotel because you don’t feel like your pet is a nuisance and it feels good to have the staff welcome your pet along with yourself.

It’s also great to have extra treats and dog bowls or poop bags for your dog just in case you don’t have them or find yourself in a bind.

So anytime you plan on bringing your dog to a hotel it’s worth spending a little bit of extra time to verify if the hotel is pet friendly.

Bringing a Dog to a Hotel: Essential Tips for a Good Stay [2022]

If you’re thinking about bringing your dog with you to a hotel there may be a million questions running through your head.

We’ve brought our amazing little corgi (Elroy) with us on many hotel adventures and I have done a ton of research on this topic since we first thought about getting a pup.

So below I will break down everything you need to consider before taking your pup with you to a hotel.


Should you bring your dog?

Before you ever start shopping around for pet friendly hotels you need to think about whether or not you should even bring your pup.

Some dogs just do not do well in certain settings like hotels and some dogs are just, well, a-holes.

Things to think about before bringing your dog include:

  • How your dog reacts to certain sounds such as doors opening and closing? (Is it a constant barker)
  • Would your dog be a risk of attacking/scaring housekeeping or a guest if it got out?
  • Does your dog have lots of accidents in new settings?
  • Does your dog chew furniture?
  • Does your dog have anxiety or any medical issues?

Ultimately, every dog is different and it is up to you as the pet parent to pick up on things that make your dog uncomfortable and make that judgment call on if the dog is ready for a hotel stay.

If you are uncertain as to how your dog will behave in a hotel consider doing a trial run at a nearby hotel. If things go south you can always just check out and head home.

Personally, when we bring Elroy to hotels he seems to love it. He’ll spend some time sniffing around the room for a while and seems to get comfortable pretty quickly with no indications of stress.

Also, it is fun to bring him around because he is like a little rockstar.

The staff and other guests absolutely adore him! The only problem is almost everybody wants to pet him which can make it tough to get in and out of the hotel sometimes.

If your dog is not very personable the hotel experience could be very different and not so enjoyable so keep that in mind.

Our little rockstar, Elroy.

Find a pet friendly hotel

Once you have decided that your dog is fit for a hotel stay the next thing you need to do is to find a hotel that will allow you to bring your pet.

If you are searching on a hotel’s website or through some type of online travel agency you will almost always find a filter for something like “pet friendly” or “accepts pets.”

Note: Some hotels like Marriott lump pets in with the filter for “amenities” so it is not always obvious where to go to activate the filter for pets.

You will need to click on the pet filter and prepare to be a little bit depressed as you find your options becoming extremely narrow.

The type of properties that will accept pets really does vary. I’ve mostly encountered a lot of mid tier properties that will accept pets but you also sometimes can find higher-end hotels that allow pets.

The large chain hotels I’ve stayed at with our dog include: Marriott Courtyard, Residence Inn, Aloft, Holiday Inn, and the DoubleTree. Kimpton is also known for being a great hotel for pets.

Keep in mind, there is a difference between a hotel that merely accepts dogs and a hotel that is “dog friendly.”

The latter will provide more for your dog by offering perks like doggie beds, treats, and maybe even have events or staff that cater to your pet.

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A lot of times there will be a limit on the number of pets you can bring. Most of the time the limit is one or two dogs. There may also be limitations on the size of the dog such as dogs only being allowed if they are under 30 or 50 pounds.

Most likely a hotel is not going to put your dog on a scale to see if it is under the weight requirement but if you walk in with a Great Dane that would likely be a problem.

Pet fees

Once you have found some pet friendly hotels in the area, you may want to compare the pet fees. Pet fees usually are based on your stay and not on the number of nights but that is not always the case.

The cost of your pet fee can range pretty dramatically. I’ve seen them as low as $25 and as high as $150. Sometimes when they charge per night, there will be a ceiling on the fee so you don’t actually get charged for every night.

Some hotels or motels will allow your pet to stay for free but those are rare.

Something very important to consider is the pet fee does not necessarily correlate with the quality of the hotel. I’ve paid the same amount at a lower tier property as I have at a four-star property.

With that said, prepare yourself for high pet fees at resorts and luxury properties.

Some properties seem to use high pet fees as a deterrent for pet owners.

Tip: if a hotel does not list the pet fee on the website you might want to request for the fee to be waived.

Pet rooms

Something to be on the lookout for is that some hotels have a limited inventory for dog friendly rooms.

For these properties you need to actually book a room that has the pet designation in the individual room description or title. Otherwise, you may not be able to bring your dog even though it is a dog friendly hotel.

A lot of hotels will have special wings or buildings where all the pets stay.

In my experience, these buildings have been in the back of the hotel, so you don’t always get the most desirable room. Also, you’ll often be limited to the first or second floor when with your dog.

This just makes it easier for the hotel to keep guests away from pets and probably makes it easier to manage things like allergic reactions people have to pets.

When choosing a room keep in mind your dog’s temperament. Keeping an active or large dog in a small hotel room with bulky furniture could cause a lot of stress and frustration for your canine. Paying a little bit more money for a suite could help alleviate this.

Some hotels require you to book specific rooms in order to bring your pet.

Dog parks

Some hotels will advertise that there is a dog park on the premises or at least some type of grassy area where you can walk your dog and let them do their business.

A bunch of hotels will have dispensers for doggy bags on the premises which is always a nice plus and the front desk will often have them as well but I would still plan on bringing your own.

What to bring

Bringing the right items is key for a good hotel stay with your dog.

We’ve got our routine down to near perfection now and here’s what we bring:

  • Treats
  • Food and water bowl
  • Kennel
  • Blanket/Bedding
  • White noise machine/fan
  • Toys
  • Cleaning supplies

Leash and doggy bags

We carry his leash/harness at all times along with a few doggy bags.


We make sure to bring treats like bully sticks that allow our dog to munch on for hours on end.

Food and water bowl

We bring the same food and water bowl that he uses at home and give him the same type of food he always eats. Some choose to go with a collapsible bowl which is a little bit easier to travel with.

(We also bring a portable water bottle that is easy for the dog to drink out of when on the road.)


On road trips we bring a large kennel for the pup. We keep him inside when on the road and he does much better than if we just let him roam free in the Jeep.

But the kennel also comes in handy in the hotel.

Sometimes we place the kennel on the luggage cart and just transport our pup around the hotel that way. It makes it a lot easier to keep him from getting into things during check-in.

The kennel also helps with our dog’s sleep schedule.

If your dog normally sleeps with you then you may just keep the tradition alive when you go to a hotel room.

Our dog does not sleep with us in the bed so when we go to hotels he sleeps in his kennel. Ideally, we put his kennel outside the bedroom if we are staying in a suite.

If he is going to be in our bedroom, we put his kennel directly next to the window and drape the shades over the kennel so that he is not distracted at night. This works like a charm for keeping him quiet during the night.


We make sure to have a blanket and his doggy bed that fits in the kennel so that he has something familiar to smell and snuggle with. If your dog will be in the bed with you consider bringing a sheet to lay down to keep things a little bit more tidy.

White noise machine/fan

When we go on road trips we actually bring a large fan with us along with a white noise machine. Some hotel rooms are simply wayyyy too quiet for us to sleep in and the quietness can cause Elroy to pick up on every little noise throughout the night.

We crank up the fan at night which creates some noise but also helps to keep us cool. But we also supplement that with a white noise machine that can be used if Elroy is sleeping in another room. If you don’t have a white noise machine there are some apps you can use that can nearly accomplish the same thing.

Leaving the television on is also another option for helping to reduce the reactiveness of your pet.


We always try to bring 2 to 3 of his favorite toys.

Cleaning supplies

We have wipes, a towel, and cleaning spray just in case there is some type of accident or the pup needs to be wiped down (we do a lot of outdoor activities).

Other items to consider

If your dog is still a puppy you may need to bring pee pads to reduce the mess. Some pet owners also like to carry around vaccine records just in case something happens.

Contacting the hotel

Some people prefer to contact the hotel before making the booking or shortly after making a hotel booking in order to make sure that everything is okay with their dog coming along for the stay.

This is a good time to verify availability for dog only rooms and also a nice time to verify any type of size requirements that may not be clear on the website. I highly recommend you doing this before every stay.

Arriving at the hotel

Before check-in

If you are fresh off of a long road trip or any kind of extended travel, make sure you give your dog a chance to relieve him or herself before heading into the hotel, so you don’t have an accident in the lobby or elevator.

During check-in

When you check-in, most hotels will give you a one-page form to review and fill out.

My advice is to take a photograph of this form on your phone so that you have it on you at all times just in case you forget or have questions about the terms.

This form will explain all of the conditions for bringing your pet including the fee and rules on things like where the pet is allowed, if the pet must be leashed, how noise complaints are handled, etc.

Typically, you will need to review the terms and then fill out some fields for things like a description of the dog breed, the dog’s name, and your phone number. You’ll then sign the form and be done.

Some hotels will also offer you a little doggy bag with treats and other items in it and possibly even provide you with a doggy bed.

If you are hoping for a hotel upgrade you might not have as good of chances because of the limitations in the buildings and rooms so if you have elite status be prepared to potentially miss out on your perks.

Hotel pet policy form
An example of a pet policy form.

Sneaking your dog in

Sneaking your dog into a hotel is not a good idea.

For one, if the hotel does not allow pets it’s extremely easy to get caught. You could potentially get kicked out of the hotel and also get hit with a hefty fee.

And if the hotel does allow pets it’s really selfish to sneak your pet in because the hotel may not apply the same cleaning standard to your room as they would for a pet’s room. If someone has bad pet allergies and gets put in your room after you, you could cost them a lot of suffering.

During your stay

Keeping your dog comfortable

If you’ve brought all of the items above your dog should have a taste of home which will help with its comfort level. You may also want to make sure that the temperature in the room is similar to what the dog is accustomed to.

When in the room

When in your hotel room, be really mindful about your dog’s barking. Noises from outside the room can easily trigger a barking spree so try to stay on top of that as much as you can.

I would also recommend keeping a do not disturb door hanger on your door whenever you are in your room with your pet. That would just be an additional safeguard for any staff who might accidentally open your door.

Some hotels even have special door hangers that indicate a pet is inside and may require you to place it on your door.

Moving about the hotel

Most hotels will require your dog to be leashed when in the hotel and I highly recommend to follow that rule. Try to keep a few feet between your dog and other hotel guests because some people really get uncomfortable around dogs, no matter how small the dogs are.

Also, make sure your dog is not getting on the furniture in places like the hotel lobby.


Dogs are usually not allowed in the restaurants, buffet areas, lounges, and other facilities like the pools and gyms.

So when going down to get breakfast you’ll have to figure something out in order to get your food. A lot of the hotels will have outdoor areas so if the weather permits you can always dine outside with your dog.

Or you can simply leave your dog in the room while you get some grub (but note the hotel’s policy on leaving your dog alone).

Tip: Ask your hotel about nearby dog friendly restaurants if you would like to dine with your dog.


Some dogs get weirded out by elevators if they are not used to them, so consider bringing a treat along when your pup encounters them. If it is a big problem, put in a request for a room on the first floor or just a lower floor where you can use the stairs.

What if your dog gets out?

Some hotel doors are very slow to close (especially those in accessible rooms) and if you are not accustomed to them you may not think about how easy it will be for your dog to escape your room.

If your dog escapes from your hotel room try to:

  • Head to the exit your dog is closest to you and steer them away in the opposite direction
  • Be on the lookout for any people in the hallway and alert them that your dog is out
  • Immediately notify the front desk if you cannot locate your dog

Leaving your dog alone

A somewhat controversial topic is leaving your dog alone in a hotel room. Almost every hotel will have a clause in the contract that you sign at check-in that states you are not allowed to leave your dog alone.

The penalty for doing so varies.

Most of the time the contract is pretty vague about what will happen but I have seen some contracts mention that if you cannot be reached and your dog is causing a ruckus, you could be subject to a fee.

This fee could be quite expensive.

I’ve seen the fee listed at $250 and some properties even make you pay out-of-pocket for any compensation they have to give to disturbed guests.

This is why it is so important that you make sure you really know your dog before bringing them to a hotel.

In my opinion there are two major risks for leaving your dog alone.

The first is that housekeeping could come in and your dog could potentially attack them or escape the room. If your dog is well disciplined or friendly you don’t have to worry about it attacking housekeeping. But there is still the possibility of your dog getting out.

Leaving a do not disturb sign on your door should keep housekeeping from coming into your room and opening the door but there is always the possibility that the sign could fall off or that some staff member could still open your door for some reason such as to investigate the loud barking coming from your room.

It goes without saying but you should never leave your dog alone if your dog has a tendency to be loud or vicious to strangers.

The other risk is potentially a dog napping.

Someone could find a way to enter your room and kidnap your dog. This seems like a super rare occurrence but it is something that can happen.

Ultimately, some people will choose to leave their dogs alone in hotel rooms and nothing bad will happen. But when you do so you need to be aware that there is always that risk of something going horribly wrong.

If you are going to be away from your hotel room you could always consider using something like Rover or Wag which is what we do.

Using that service, you could drop off your pet at the sitter’s house or in some cases you might be able to convince them to come stay in your room while you are out (assuming you are comfortable with that). Read my tips on using Rover here!

You could also look into doggy daycare’s but the issue I’ve always ran into is that they want to your dog to visit several times before hand which is not always practical. Other services like dog hotels or dog spas may be more lax, though.

Finally, some hotels may actually have staff members who will happily tend to your dog.

Photos sent from our Rover sitter.


When you go to check out you really want to make sure that you are not leaving a huge mess.

If your dog had any accidents you should have attempted to clean them up as best as possible. You may not be able to get out every stain but don’t just leave a pile of steaming **** on the carpet for housekeeping.

If you have a dog like ours that sheds a lot and you happen to leave a lot of fur behind consider dropping an extra tip for housekeeping.


How much are pet hotel fees?

Pet hotel fees typically range from $25 to $100. In some cases, there may be no fee.

Are there weight limits on dogs allowed at hotels?

Yes, most hotels will have weight limits of around 30 to 50 pounds. If you don’t see the weight limit online, you should call the hotel to verify what the limit is.

Can I leave my dog alone in the hotel room?

Most hotels do not permit you to leave your dog alone in the hotel room. If your dog causes a disturbance and you are not there to do something about it, you may have to pay a fee of a few hundred dollars.

Final word

Taking your dog to a hotel can be a fun experience for you and your doggo. But it is not some thing that you should take lightly the first time you decide to do it. However, if you know your dog very well and you are prepared, the experience can be pretty smooth and enjoyable.

American Airlines Pet Policy Guide [2022]

For many people, traveling is already a stressful experience. But when you add in traveling with a pet that you love and care for, that stress can multiply pretty quickly. One way that you can reduce that stress is to be knowledgeable and prepared when dealing with an airlines pet policy.

In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about the American Airlines pet policy including things like fees and the restrictions and limitations. I will also cover special restrictions for things like international routes and flight connections.

What is the American Airlines pet policy?

You can travel with your pet as a carry-on, checked pet, or via American Airlines cargo as long as you provide adequate carriers for your pets, supply any needed documentation, and pay the fees I’ll outline below.

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What are the fees for traveling with your pet?

The fees that you pay will depend on the type of pet that you have (e.g., service animal) and the method of transportation (checked, carry-on, etc.).

Checked pet fees

If your pet is traveling as checked (meaning it’s not coming with you as a carry-on) then Active-duty U.S. Military and State Department personnel will be charged a $200 fee per kennel for routes within and between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

If you do not belong to one of those groups are bringing your pet as a “cargo pet” the price will vary.

Not all airlines allow checked pet animals so that’s something to consider. 

Carry-on pet fees

If your pet is traveling as a carry-on in the cabin then you will be charged a $125 fee per kennel for routes within and between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Compare that to the $95 pet fee for Southwest. 

And finally, if you are traveling with a service animal you will not be charged an additional fee.

These fees are for each way of travel. If your itinerary includes a voluntary stop over or connection that is more than four hours then your charges will apply for each connection segment.

All of the pet fees are nonrefundable. So if your pet ends up not taking the flight you will be unable to recover the fee.

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How to avoid AA pet fees

One of the easiest ways to avoid pet fees is to use the right credit card. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a good card for general travel expenses and its points can be used to offset airline pet fees since they will often code as travel.

You can also use an incidental credit attached to a travel credit card. For example, the Platinum Card has a $200 incidental credit.

Other cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve have a $300 travel credit that could be used on virtually any type of travel purchase including pet fees.

American Airlines pet international restrictions

If you are flying with a pet on an international route you need to be mindful of potential special restrictions and fees that can be very high.

In some cases, you may not even be allowed to fly with your pet but in others you may have to supply some sort of verification for things like shots.

Below are some of the restrictions you might encounter.

London, England (LHR)

Dogs and cats traveling to LHR need approval from the Heathrow Animal Reception Center (HARC). The HARC charges a fee (£366) for animals that do not meet the criteria for assistance animals and you should contact them at least 7 days before your flight.


If you would like to fly with your pet as a carry-on on a transatlantic flight meaning a flight between say the US in Europe, You will not be allowed to do so.

Your pet can fly as checked luggage to certain locations. The UK does not allow pets with the exception being London (LHR) and Manchester (MAN) allowing pets to fly as American Airlines cargo.


If you are planning on crossing the Pacific ocean, you should know that carry-on pets are not allowed. Japan does allow for checked pets from Japan to Los Angeles (LAX) but you must book a flight less than 11 hours and 30 minutes.

Need tips for bringing pets to a hotel? Click here to read more.

American Airlines carry-on pet rules

If your furry friend is going to accompany you as a carry-on, here are some things to keep in mind. As mentioned, you will need to pay the $125 carry-on fee and your pet must remain inside the kennel at all times.

Your pet carrier will act as your carry-on so you will NOT be allowed to bring in a personal item, a carry-on item, and your pet carrier. Find out more about American Airlines baggage fees here.

Space requirements

  • Pets must be able to stand and sit erect, turn around normally and lie down in a natural position in their kennel (without touching any side or the top of the container)
  • If your kennel is not collapsible it cannot exceed the undersea dimensions of the aircraft. You can contact reservations to verify maximum dimensions for your journey.
  • Soft-sided collapsible kennels can be slightly larger but still need to fit under the seat without having to excessively collapse the kennel, have to be secure, padded, made of water-repellant material and have nylon mesh ventilation on 2 or more sides.

There are limitations on the total number of kennels allowed on certain flights:

  • 7 kennels on American flights, excluding service animals
  • 5 kennels on American Eagle flights; 1 in First

For this reason, you may want to call ahead and make your reservations to guarantee a spot. You can find the appropriate American Airlines customer service phone number to call here.

If you are flying business class or first class on certain flights, there may not be enough room for your carry-on pet. The type of aircraft that don’t have enough room include:


  • 757-L
  • 757-EW
  • 767
  • 777-200
  • 777-300
  • 787-8
  • 787-9


  • A330-200
  • A330-300

American Airlines checked pet rules

American Airlines allows you to travel with up to two checked pets. Pets are accepted on a first come basis so again you will want to contact reservations as soon as you know you will be traveling with your pet. You also need to contact reservations at least 48 hours prior to your trip.

American Airlines recommends that you allow extra time at check-in. So you will want to arrive early but just remember that you can’t check pets more than four hours before your flight.

You will then need to complete a checklist with an airport agent and then provide a health certificate. This health certificate must be issued by a vet within:

  • 10 days of your travel
  • 60 days of your return (travel on the same ticket)
  • 10 days of your return (travel on a separate ticket)

Kennel guidelines

You need to pay special attention to all of the guidelines for kennels when transporting your pet.


The kennel needs to be spacious enough so that your pet can stand, turn, sit and lie down in a natural position. If your pet is forced to touch any side of the container while in this natural position, the kennel may not be big enough.

There also may be specific maximum size requirements based on the aircraft that you are flying on.


The kennel must be made up of wood, metal, plastic or some other type of similar material. Basically, it needs to be sturdy.


The kennel must have a door and it needs to be made of a welded or cast metal. The kennel must also be secured at the top and bottom with bolts and or screws. It will need to be secured by yourself with release cable ties on all four corners and American Airlines will provide complementary ties.

It also needs to be rigid and secure enough so that no animal can escape through the gaps or potentially poke body parts through the gaps. It needs to be leak and escape proof with a secure fastened door and have ventilation on three sides for US domestic flights and four sides for international flights.

Food and water

You need to have separate food and water dishes attached securely to the inside of the kennel. You also need to have a small bag of food attached to the top that could cover the animal for 24 hours.

Finally, the kennel must be clean and have absorbent material or litter but not anything like straw or wood shavings.


If you are traveling with your pet on connecting flights then checked pets will only be allowed on fights connecting in the following airports:

  • Charlotte, NC (CLT)
  • Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD)
  • Dallas / Fort Worth, TX (DFW)
  • Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
  • New York Kennedy, NY (JFK)
  • New York LaGuardia, NY (LGA)
  • Miami, FL (MIA)
  • Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
  • Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
  • Washington Reagan, DC (DCA)

Aircraft restrictions

Checked pets cannot travel on the following aircraft:

  • A321
  • A321neo
  • A321S
  • A321H
  • A320
  • A319


Sedation is not recommended because it could potentially cause breathing issues for your pet (things get complicated with the pressurized cabins). If your pet is sedated, you’ll need to give AA agents the name of the medication, the amount and date and time the animal took it.

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Temperature restrictions

Heat restrictions

American Airlines will not let you travel with a pet if a current or forecasted temperature is above 85°F (29.4 degrees C) in any location of your itinerary.

Cold restrictions

American Airlines will not let you travel with a pet if the ground temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 degrees C) at any location on your itinerary.

Note that you can get the cold temperature restrictions waived if you have a letter from a licensed vet. This letter will need to include the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • Your pet’s name
  • Your vet’s name and signature
  • Your vet’s accreditation date and number
  • The temperature your pet is acclimated to

The letter must be dated:

  • Within 10 days of the first flight your pet will be on
  • Within 30 days of any other trips in the same itinerary

Note: If the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.6 degrees C), your pet cannot be checked even with a letter from your vet.

Is traveling as a checked pet safe?

The safest way to travel with your pet is as a carry-on. You are right there with them and can monitor them the entire time in case they need a little bit of comfort or care. But when they fly as a checked pet you are completely removed from them during the duration of the flight and for some time before and after the flight.

According to the DOT, over half a million pets flew in cargo in 2016 and of those animals, 26 died and 22 were injured. So the accident rate was 1 per 10,000 pets.

So if those stats are accurate, you have a one in 10,000 chance of something happening to your pet. Now those stats don’t account for the potentially stressful experience that your pet will have. For some people, a one in 10,000 chance is still too much risk with a pet while others will feel comfortable with those odds.

Personally, I would try to avoid shipping my pet in cargo if possible.

Service and support animals (and notice)

Service animals and emotional support animals have specific requirements but there is no additional charge for them if they meet all of the requirements.

Some people get confused about the difference between these two types of animals and hopefully this will clarify. Emotional support animals assist individuals with emotional, psychiatric or cognitive disabilities. For these type of animals, advance notice and approval is required to bring them on board in the cabin.

Trained service animals have been specifically trained to perform life functions for individuals with disabilities like visual impairments, deafness, etc. American Airlines encourages advance notice for trained service animals but it is not required. 

Limit on emotional support animals

  • 1 emotional support / psychiatric service animal per person

Types of animals accepted

  • Cats and dogs (trained miniature horse may be permitted as a service animal) are generally acceptable as service and support animals
  • Any other animals must comply with the US Department of Transportation requirements for health and safety including documentation of the animal’s up to date vaccination records and may not cause significant cabin disruption

Age requirement

  • Animals must be 4 months or older


  • Animals must be clean and well-behaved

Size requirements

  • Animals must be able to fit at your feet, under your seat or in your lap (lap animals must be smaller than a 2-year old child)


  • Final approval for travel will not happen until you arrive at the airport and it is determined that the animal will safely fit at your feet.

Keep in mind that your animals on board cannot:

  • Be seated in an exit row
  • Protrude into or block aisles
  • Occupy a seat
  • Eat from tray tables

So, if it is determined that your animal is too large or heavy you might need to:

  • Rebook on a flight with more open seats
  • Buy a ticket for the animal
  • Transport the animal as a checked pet

Find out more about AA service animals and emotional support animals.

American Airlines Pet Policy FAQ

How much is the American Airlines pet fee?

For a checked pet, the fee is $200 per kennel for Active-duty U.S. Military and State Department personnel only and varies for others. For carry-ons the fee is $125 per kennel. These prices are for each way of travel.

How can I avoid the pet fees?

You can use airline credits to avoid the fee with some credit cards such as the Amex Platinum Card. 

Are the pet fees refundable?

All of the pet fees are nonrefundable.

Can you bring a pet on an international flight?

You can bring pets on some international flights but in many cases you will need to bring verification for shots. Also, your pet may not be able to fly as a carry-on on overseas flights.

Can you bring a carry-on in addition to the pet?

Your pet carrier will count as your carry-on so you will only be able to bring in a personal item in addition to your pet carrier.

How many pets can I check?

American Airlines allows you to travel with up to two checked pets.

Can you checked pet a fly on a connecting route?

Checked pets are only allowed on connecting flights in the following airports:

Charlotte, NC (CLT)
Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD)
Dallas / Fort Worth, TX (DFW)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
New York Kennedy, NY (JFK)
New York LaGuardia, NY (LGA)
Miami, FL (MIA)
Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
Washington Reagan, DC (DCA)

Should I give my dog a sedative?

It is generally not recommended to give your dog a sedative because it could cause breathing issues. Check with your vet for guidance.

Final Word

The American Airlines pet policy is pretty straightforward. You are looking at paying anywhere from $125-$200 depending on the type of transportation method for your pet. You just need to be mindful about restrictions on certain routes and destinations and you should be all set!

Using Rover When Traveling with Your Dog (Tips) [2021]

Traveling with a dog is a lot of fun because you get to explore new places with them and make new memories. But sometimes your pet may not be able to tagalong on certain excursions or activities such as hikes in national parks. In those cases, you need to find someone to watch your pet which can be very difficult to do when in the middle of traveling in a new area.

Luckily, you can use Rover to find a qualified person to care for your dog. But you need to make sure to do an adequate amount of due diligence before handing over your pet and in this article I will explain everything you need to know about using Rover when traveling.

What is Rover?

Rover is an app that allows you to find qualified people to care for your dog or cat. They offer different services including:

  • Dog boarding
  • House sitting
  • Drop in visits
  • Doggy daycare
  • Dog walking

If you are staying at a hotel, most likely you will be looking into dog boarding where your dog spends the night at the sitter’s house.

You may be able to work out an arrangement where the sitter comes by your hotel room to walk your dog or interact with the dog but that would involve leaving your dog by itself and giving access to your hotel room to someone potentially not on your hotel reservation both of which could be problematic.

Plus, you would be paying for the hotel pet fee in addition to the Rover fee, which could quickly add up. So this article is going to focus mostly on dog boarding which I think is the most applicable service for travelers.

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Tips when traveling

A lot of the tips that apply when you’re traveling also apply when using the Rover app generally. The big difference is that when traveling you will be heading to an area that you may not be familiar with, so you need to be a little bit more prepared and do a little bit more research.

Look for prior reviews and repeat clients

When searching for a sitter, Rover will display how many reviews someone has and also how many repeat clients they have. Ideally, you can find a dog sitter with a lot of reviews and a lot of repeat clients as well.

You might check the reviews for past clients who used the sitter when they were traveling to give you added assurance that the sitter knows how to work with people on the road (versus just locals). But if they have a lot of reviews, chances are they will know how to cater to your needs.

Evaluate the location

Because you are venturing somewhere unfamiliar, you want to take extra precaution to ensure that you are leaving your dog in good hands.

The way I think about it is that you should review the area where the dog sitter lives in the same way that you would evaluate an area you are thinking about moving to.

You can look for data on crime in the area. A helpful way to do this is to compare the crime rate in the area you currently live in versus the area that the sitter lives in. You could do that with a website like this.

You can always check to see if there are threads on Reddit that discuss the community. Many cities have subreddits dedicated to general discussion about the city or town and you could always drop a post in there and inquire to see what people think (just be prepared for some people to be biased).

CityData forums also often have pretty in-depth discussions about crime and safety in cities and different regions.

The end goal is just to have a good idea of whether or not the area/ neighborhood where the person lives is generally a good place to live.

Obviously, this will not guarantee that the person watching your pet will be a good fit or that they will do a good job but you will be increasing your odds of things going well by choosing an area where crime and drug use is less common.

Schedule a video call

Before you agree to allow someone to take care of your pet in another location you should schedule a video call with them. (If the sitter is unwilling to do a video call I would look for someone else.)

In this call you are trying to verify that the individual will be a good fit and you can do that by asking very specific questions and by providing them with relevant details about your pet.

Rover gives the potential sitter the ability to indicate a lot of these things but sometimes what is indicated in the app is not exactly what you encounter so I would still rely on interviewing the candidate to verify a lot of the details and not just rely on what you see in the app

What is the living situation?

Find out if this person lives in a house, apartment, condo, etc.

What is their schedule like?

You want to figure out when this person will be home and what their lifestyle is like. For example, do they work from home and if not do they come back for breaks? What are the working hours?

How often will your dog be exercised?

Find out how many times per day your dog will be walked or exercised. Ask how long will each session be and what exactly would it entail in terms of location and activities.

Ask questions like if they have a pool, a nearby dog park, etc.

Where will your dog be situated?

I would recommend bringing a kennel and verifying with the sitter that there will be space for your kennel. On the app, sitters can indicate if pets are allowed on furniture and on beds so another thing to clarify is if the dog be sleeping on furniture or in a kennel.

How often will they be taking pictures and video?

A good dog watcher will constantly take photos and even videos to give you peace of mind. Try to work out a schedule such as in the morning and evening when you can expect to receive a burst of photos or cute videos of your dog having fun and even making new friends.

Do they have any other pets or children?

You definitely want to know if they have other pets at the house. And not just that but you want to know if the pets are going to be interacting with each other or sharing a space. It could obviously be really bad if the pets are left sharing a space and they are not getting along.

Whether or not children will be present should be another important question asked.

Do they have a yard?

Rover will indicate if they have a yard and if it is fenced but it is good to verify this.

How will they handle an emergency?

Verify that the person knows where the nearest vet clinic is and ask them how they will handle an emergency. If you think you’ll be off the grid then make sure they have a back up phone number for someone close to you to let them know what is going on with the pet.

How do they handle discipline?

I like to know how people handle discipline with pets to ensure that they have a procedure in place for when your pet is not listening or being too much to handle.

Ideally, they will understand how to use re-direction instead of forceful methods of discipline. This is one major reason why I don’t book sitters who are not pet owners.

If your dog is not well mannered you may even consider not using Rover because you could be asking for trouble.

Information you want to give out

We have a document printed out that has our dog’s daily routine on it and it is extremely helpful for anyone watching our dog.

This has everything including:

  • Wake up and sleep times
  • Meal times and quantity of food
  • Walk times
  • Treat times

You may not be able to expect the sitter to follow the regime exactly but at least it will be helpful to give them an idea of what your dog is used to do so they can try to follow it loosely.

You also want to let the person watching your dog know if the dog has any quirks. This will prevent them from being surprised in certain circumstances.

Let them know about things like if your dog:

  • Goes crazy when it smells food
  • Pulls on the leash
  • Is sensitive to loud noises
  • Has a problem with jumping
  • Hates cats
  • Is afraid of water

And obviously if your pet has medical needs you need to make it a priority to ensure that the individual is responsible enough to administer any medications.

Inspect the home

After you have committed to an individual you will eventually meet up with him. You can arrange for that person to come pick up your pet but I would recommend against that.

It is much better for you to physically inspect the home before allowing them to watch your pup. This will also help ease your pet into getting comfortable with the new setting.

When you are talking to them in your video call you can ask them if they are okay with you checking out the home before you drop off your pet. If for some reason you are not able to view the home then at least get them to give you a tour via a video call.

Conservatively estimate pick up and drop off times

Whenever you are traveling things tend to not always go as planned. For example, you may be heading out on a hike and the hike ends up taking you much longer to complete. Or you may not realize that there is a major highway shut down and you could be forced to detour on a much longer route.

It’s just much easier for things to come up when you are not familiar with the place you’re in.

For that reason, you need to make sure that you communicate this to the dog sitter on Rover. Be pretty conservative on estimating when you can drop the dog off and pick the dog up because you do not want to get put in a bind where the dog sitter is forced to leave the house without you being able to pick up your dog.

Rover dog photos

Bring the essentials

Since you will be traveling you may not be able to bring everything along that you would like. Whenever we used Rover when traveling we made sure to bring the following items:

  • Kennel/bed
  • Blanket with our scent
  • Water and food bowl
  • Medication (if applicable)
  • Two favorite toys
  • Favorite treats including something our pup will spend hours munching on
  • Harness/leash

We also have an Apple AirTag on our dog’s leash just in case he ever gets away.

Flying with a pet?

If you are looking to fly with your pet be sure to check out our guides for different airlines:

Final word

I’ve used Rover for our corgi when traveling and I was pretty pleased with the experience. I think that it is a great service but it is the type of thing where you definitely need to do a fair amount of due diligence to ensure that the process goes smoothly.

If you go with someone highly reviewed with many repeat clients and verify things like the location, and all of the necessary details mentioned above, I think you stand very good odds of having a great experience for your dog.