I was inspired to write this by an article I saw recently about childproofing your hotel room. Generally speaking, parents and pet owners (especially owners of young pets) both have to worry about the same issues: What’s in here that can harm my small creature, what damage can my small creature wreak, and what can I do about it?
The first thing I do when we get to a hotel room is set up Chloe’s travel crate and zip her into it with an absorbing chew toy. That gives me breathing room to look around, deal with hazards, and unpack.
Typical hazards include power cords, TV/computer/telephone cables, and the cords that control window curtains or blinds. If you’re traveling with a puppy, consider bringing a roll of painters’ blue tape with you to control cords and tape them out of your dog’s reach (blue tape will release easily, and won’t leave a residue). Be sure to remove the tape before you leave! Definitely bring a bottle of Bitter Apple or Bitter Yuck, and spray it on the cords you can’t move. Spray it on the furniture legs too, if your dog’s a chewer. (Do some research before purchasing your potion — some dogs don’t mind Bitter Apple, and regard it more as a condiment than a deterrent.)
If your dog is passionately interested in trash cans, put the room’s wastebaskets out of reach. Don’t forget the one in the bathroom.
Lower the lid of the toilet, to prevent your curious small dog from falling in (if you’re traveling with a bigger dog, you’ll want to keep him from drinking the toilet water, which may be steeped in chemicals).
Lower the lids of your hard-sided suitcases, if you live out of them instead of out of bureau drawers. Even if you don’t mind your dog curling up in your clothing, you don’t want a lid to close on her accidentally.
Things that should be protected from your dog include the bedspread — bring an old sheet from home and drape it over the bed when you arrive. Bring a towel, or use one of the ones you’re given, to cover the armchair, if your dog is likely to curl up there.
That armchair is usually accompanied by a small, decorative table, topped with a lamp or other breakable items. If it can be tipped over, move it against the wall, or into a position where it’s protected from your dog’s enthusiasm.
If housekeeping has left the remote control for the TV on a low bedside table, grab the remote before your dog does, and put it somewhere safer. Check the bathroom for bath products placed around the edge of the tub, and move them to higher ground.
Set up your dog’s food and water bowls on the tiled floor of the bathroom, so spills can be cleaned up easily.
And to save yourself a lot of vexation, choose one flat surface (desk, bureau, etc.) to corral all of your dog supplies, so they don’t end up scattered around the room (this is where Chloe’s tote bag is invaluable). Ensure that it’s high enough to keep bags of treats and chews out of reach.
If your bed is on legs, stack suitcases and bags and decorative pillows around it to block access to the open space underneath. You’ll save yourself a lot of time on your stomach, retrieving balls and other toys that roll out of your dog’s reach.