For what it is—a family flick about smart kids running a secret dog inn—Hotel for Dogs is actually an enjoyable film, critics say. There’s “lots of sneaking around, very cool gadgets, excellent stunts and some clever kids,” writes Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. “All in all it's a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon with a bunch of kids.”
Though he describes the picture as “so-so,” Joe Neumaier notes its “sass and ingenuity.” “Much as the dog-doo jokes get tiresome, it's hard not to smile as a dog brigade makes its way through town at a full run,” he writes in the New York Daily News. Still, the “cuter-than-cute” movie “isn’t half as zany as it might have been,” observes Stephen Holden in the New York Times.