Pet Friendly vacation rental, tips needed

8 Replies

considering turning one of my rentals into a vacation rental, and would like to make it pet friendly. looking for some input and tips for doing this. im open to positive and negative comments.

@Mike Gallagher I would need more information on where your rental is.. Is it in a place where locals travel 'to get away' or do people from out of state fly and travel there. IMO these two are different because one potentially minimizes the size of the animal and the clientele might be different.

Sign up and read the HomeAway community forums, do a search for pets, lots of pro and con info there and suggestions on how to prepare for pets. 

We considered turning one of our 4 rentals to pet friendly, but after reading up on it chose not to. Our reasons were that we keep immaculate homes (and advertise as such), pet hair is tough to remove, one jump on a sofa or a bed cover after a muddy day and that piece of furniture or linen is ruined for the next guest. We simply do not have the resources to deal with that kind of damage right away. Guests use our lawns for sitting and enjoying the view, would be a real drag to have someone step in doggy doo, and a bigger drag if they brought it into the house. A barking dog would not go over well with our neighbors. We've also read that dogs like to mark their territory in new surroundings - can't even imagine asking our housekeepers to clean up that kind of thing, don't think we could keep them too long, we do all we can to keep housekeeping happy as we cannot do this without them. 

On the positive side - you will open yourself up to way more rentals. Even though we advertise no pets, no exceptions, we get a ton of people asking us to make an exception for their pet, so we figure it must be tough finding nice places that are pet friendly in our area. 

@Mike Gallagher we're pet friendly in our Austin vacation rental. While we've only been up and running for 5 months, we've had several guests bring dogs of various breeds/sizes, and we've had no issues thus far. We do hold a small damage deposit just in case a pet does end up staining a rug or damaging a bedspread. 

Our policy is that pets must stay off the beds and couch (we provide a comfy dog bed), and thus far we've seen no evidence of damage, and our cleaning team hasn't had to deal with any major dog hair issues. We even had one guest who brought two 40-50 pound dogs and it ended up raining heavily during their stay. We provided some extra old towels for them to clean off muddy dog feet, and that worked out just fine. 

In general, we've found that most folks who are traveling/vacationing with pets have been very respectful, and appreciative that they are able to bring them along. We also surprise and delight them by including a doggie treat in our welcome package. 

Our current guest has brought along two cats, which are the first cats to stay at the property. So we'll see how that goes. :)

I manage and own several vacation homes, and many of them are dog friendly. We have rarely had a problem with the dogs. I charge $25 per dog per stay. It is non-refundable. Then when we do occasionally have to clean carpet due to a dog, we have plenty of money that has accumulated from the $25 fee over several months of rentals.

People are going to sneak their dog in anyway, so you might as well get some extra money out of it.

thanks for the great information. im still undecided.  What if a renters dog bites the neighbor, who would be at fault, and would your renters insurance cover the incident.

Our property's back yard is fully fenced. And we do "screen" prospective guests' pets somewhat - I suppose if someone was looking to bring a rottweiler, german shepherd or similar breed, we'd think twice about renting to them. But we carry commercial insurance on the property, as well as an umbrella policy. You do whatever you can to minimize your risk. 

My friend rented a house for a month in MI for the summer and she brought her dog. I remember her telling me the dog went to the bathroom on the carpet many times and her kids broke some of the items in the home. She said it was a nightmare and she felt really bad about it. Her dog doesn't usually go in the house but I guess it was marking it's territory.

We have rented VR's for about 15 yrs and always looked for places that allowed us to bring our dog(s). 

Suggestions

Have a dog bed handy, dog dishes, old towels, pooper scooper and bags, a extra leash, tie out chain. Give your renters a way to keep all clean, and they will try. If possible, have a fenced area where the dog can hang out in the yard. 

Put together a detailed Your Pet is Welcome list for your renters. Tell them where they can walk their dog, any local rules, and buy a box of those poop pick up bags for them to take on walks. Have the local Vets number handy and also the local SPCA in case someone runs off.  I would also talk to the neighbors and if their are issues have them contact you! No one wants to hear a barking dog. 

For my own dogs, I get a tag made with my cell phone number and when we stayed for a month or more, put the local address on the tag. 

I never hesitated (and often offered) to give a large dog deposit in case of damage. My dogs are crated when we would leave, so that was pretty safe for all concerned. People who fight a dog deposit.... I would hesitate to rent to them. Some folks think their dogs, and kids, are just perfect and those are the ones that could be a problem. 

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