Can Hotels Charge for Service Dogs?

Service dogs are essential companions for many individuals, and service dogs are rarely separated from their owners. When traveling, it may be necessary to bring your service dog to a hotel with you.

However, this can cause anxiety and stress, especially if you’ve never done this before, and you aren’t sure what to expect when checking into a hotel with your service dog. We give you vital information below about hotels and service dogs, including when a hotel is allowed to charge for service dogs and the basic guidelines of your service dog rights.

What Are Service Dogs?

Service dogs are those dogs that have been trained to perform disability-related tasks for their owners that help their owners go about their daily lives.

There are many different types of service dogs, including mobility support dogs, medical alert dogs, and psychiatric service dogs. Each of these specific types of service dogs is trained to complete tasks that help relieve the symptoms of their owners’ conditions and support them throughout the day.

Service Dogs Versus Emotional Support Animals

While the terms service dog and emotional support animals are often thought of as the same thing, these are two different classifications of companion animals.

Service dogs are trained to help with the specific tasks a disabled individual needs support with, while emotional support animals provide companionship and comfort to individuals in need.

Emotional support animals are not trained to help with disability-related tasks, and they are granted different public access protections because of this.

Where Can I Bring My Service Dog?

Unlike emotional support animals, service dogs have wide-reaching public access rights. These animals are allowed to accompany their owners in virtually any public space, including malls, hotels, airplanes, restaurants, and stores.

The only exceptions to service dog public access rights include religious organizations that don’t allow animals inside their buildings and spaces where having a service dog would be to everyone’s detriment, such as inside a sterile operating room.

Can a Hotel Charge for Service Dogs?

Hotels are not allowed to charge any extra fees, clean-up fees, or additional nightly rates for individuals who bring their service dogs into their hotel rooms with them.

Charging fees or additional rates to an individual who requires their service dog to get by on a daily basis is considered discrimination, and hotels are not allowed to do this, regardless of what their standing policies are on animals in the hotel and pet fees.

Can Hotels Legally Deny My Service Dog?

In most cases, hotels cannot legally deny your service dog entry; service dogs have both federal and state public access protection rights that allow them to accompany their owners into a hotel.

However, hotels may be able to deny your service dog if a few conditions are met, such as the service dog being out of control, aggressive or dangerous to others, or if they are destructive and damaging property around the hotel.

When Will a Hotel Charge for Service Dogs?

While hotels are not allowed to charge for service dogs to stay at the hotel, nor are they allowed to charge clean-up fees for things such as pet hair, they may be able to charge in the case that a service dog creates significant destruction to a property.

If a service dog soils the room or otherwise destroys it, their owner will likely be met with additional fees and the clean-up or replacement cost of the items destroyed.

What if a Hotel Tries to Charge Me for a Service Dog?

If a hotel tries to charge you for a service dog, you are not obligated to pay it. Upon checking into a hotel, you may be required to answer questions about your animal as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, you are not required to do more than this, and you are not obligated to pay any fees that the hotel tries to add on.

In the case that a hotel insists on charging you a fee for your service dog, you may be able to show them the Americans with Disabilities Act and cite the regulation that allows you to bring your service dog into a hotel with you at no cost.

Consult with a lawyer specializing in disability accommodations for more information if you believe your service dog accommodation rights have been violated by a hotel.

Your Service Dog Rights

It’s important to understand your service dog rights before you start to travel with your service dog and as you go about your daily life, as knowing these will help you access public spaces with more confidence. Below, we give you an overview of the federal, state, and housing rights that you can expect to receive when living and traveling with your service dog.


Your federal public access rights with your service dog are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This regulation contains all of the details you need to know about bringing your service dog with you in public, what you are obligated to tell others about your service dog, and any exceptions to the regulation’s public access rights.

It’s important to become familiar with the ADA so you know what to refer to if you believe your accommodation rights for you and your service dog have been denied.


State laws do vary, but the majority of them uphold and expand on the federal public access protections granted to service dogs by the ADA. All businesses in a state must adhere to the federal regulations for service dogs, and state laws will give you additional protections and definitions of service dogs, in addition to penalties for things like misrepresenting service dogs.

It’s important that you consult your state’s specific service dog protections and regulations so you know which additional accommodations you might be able to access in your city or state.


The right to live with your service dog without paying extra fees or dealing with animal restrictions in housing complexes is protected by the Fair Housing Act.

This federal regulation ensures that individuals can live with their service dog or emotional support animal in any suitable building or apartment complex without paying for pet rent, putting down additional deposits, or dealing with specific animal restrictions.

Consult the Fair Housing Act directly to understand more about your housing protections and learn which documentation you need to live with your service dog in your chosen residence.

Air Travel

The federal Air Carrier Access Act protects the rights of individuals to travel on airlines and receive accommodations for their disabilities as needed, in addition to preventing airline discrimination against customers who have disabilities.

You are able to bring your service dog aboard flights without extra fees under this act, though will need to follow specific airline procedures to register your dog for the flight and ensure that all regulations are met when traveling with your dog.

You will also need to consult specific service dog regulations in the area you are traveling in to make sure you won’t have issues bringing your service dog into your new location.

Do I Need to Identify My Service Dog to a Hotel?

You are only required to answer two questions about your service dog, according to the ADA. These identifying questions can be asked by the hotel, and may be some iteration of the following:

  1. Is this dog a service dog?
  2. What tasks has this service dog been trained to perform?

You are not required to answer any additional questions, nor will you be required to prove that your dog is a service dog, show documentation papers, or demonstrate the tasks that your service dog performs. If a hotel is insisting on these things, they are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and you may be able to take legal action against them.

It’s also important to note that you are not required to identify your service dog with a vest, marked leash, or any other item. These identifiers are optional, and the ADA states that you don’t need to use them on your service dog if you do not choose to do so.

Traveling With Your Service Dog

Traveling with your service dog can be stressful, especially if you are checking into hotels for the first time with your animal companion. Hotels are part of the public access rights that service dogs are granted by the ADA, so you won’t need to pay extra fees or deposits when staying in a hotel with your service dog.

Consult both federal and state regulations for more specific details on your service dog’s public access rights.