Pets and STRs: worth the "hassle"?

11 Replies

curious if people feel allowing pets is a plus or minus in short term rentals?  i can see people local in CO liking the idea of bringing their pets up to the mountains with them.  that said a few things came to mind:

1)  so i can charge a fee either by day or total for the stay to help cover "extra cleaning" but do people Also charge a one time pet fee?

2)  do i risk losing customers who do not want to rent from a place that allows pets?

3)  are there too many accidents to warrant the extra fee?  

i also ask b/c i have a dog that i would like to bring up with us when we use the place.  so if i do that, should i advertise that we have our dog brought up with us periodically esp if we decide NOT to allow guests to bring a pet?

thanks in advance


I tried it in my first STR and found it wasn't worth the hassle. Question number two is one of the biggest issue in my opinion. Non-pet people will write you off for the most part and if they don't they'll complain about smells and hairs.

Biggest problem I had was people lying. They'd pay the pet fee for one dog under 60lbs next thing you know there were 3 great danes in there. People do NOT read listings. They think if they pay the pet fee they can bring the whole shelter. 

Hopefully @Julie McCoy will chime in with her Parrot story its a classic! 

***This is coming from someone that has three rescues. 

I allow pets. I get a pet fee (free extra money). Many people take their pets with them on vacation. When they search for pet friendly properties and you are not then you do not even show up in their search results.

Most of my rentals have a pet fee. I bet I make an extra $2000.00 a year off pet fees.

Vrbo allows you to easily add this so they can select it and pay for it up front.

Another reason I do not like Airbnb is they have no option for this. All they need to do is add it similar to a cleaing fee. So I have to send a separate payment request for the pet fee.

I have never had a pet problem. Humans are the ones that do the damage.

I am also charging top dollar for my Lake house so I have a higher class of clients. If your charging $100/ night then it might be a different story.

I also have exterior security cameras so I know if people are sneaking in unpaid for pets or extra people.

So do you want to turn away half of the potential people looking to make a reservation and do you want to turn down an extra $2000.00 in extra income from pet fees per year?

I agree with @John Underwood 's comments about extra income and the need to charge or create a pet fee. 

@Bo A Vanecko ,  the fact is that in the USA it's nearly 40%+ of the total population that has at least one pet at home. When you're running a vacation rental, you have to consider the fact that a lot of the business is a number game. You have to say to yourself, how can I drive more bookings at a high quality of guest and high revenue?

Just released a video on my Youtube on why all STR, Airbnb & Vacation Rental Hosts need to allow pets at their Airbnbs. <-Link

You have lots of options when it comes to pricing, and you can say things like "Pet Rent Required" or "Pet Fee" on your profile, and decide on a case by case basis. 

I have not experienced a large difference in the cleaning of a pet stay vs a traditional stay yet, and I manage vacation rentals in 13 states. 

Hope you decide to allow pets :) 


My tenants are refinery contractors.  They work 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. It's been my experience that when I allow a pet, they are going to bring their wife.  They are happy and I'm happy. She stays at the house while her husband works. They will tell their other co-workers about my places and I'll have more renters in other houses by letting the first people in with the pet.

thanks all!  great info!  keep the comments coming as i appreciate all the feedback :)


@Bo A Vanecko . I do not have any pets of my own but I do allow dogs - No cats. Cats scratch furniture. I usually charge a pet fee, but it isn't built in on airbnb like the cleaning fee, so that is kind of a hassle. I only noticed a dog odor in my house once, and after the cleaning it was gone. I do have an excellent house keeper. I haven't seen any damages from pets yet either, and all pet owners but one so far have cleaned up the poop in the yard. We have hosted a lot of dog owners because they were glad to be able to bring the dog. Most were willing to pay the pet fee when we enforced it. We do ask that guests notify us when they have a pet, and so far they have done so.

I did have some tenants that were psychotic mutts by themself.  They had 2 pet rattlesnakes.  One of them escaped.  It made the local news.  State wildlife officers were involved and took their snakes.

We are big rescue dog advocates, so we started off our vacation rentals as pet friendly.  It seemed like a great idea for easy extra money at first. It took only 2 instances of a guest bringing large, very sheddy, very stinky fur babies and checking out on the same day that we had another guest checking in for us to realize that the hassle wasn't worth it. It causes problems with the cleaners as well as the next guests.

Partly depends on your cleaning regimen and your furniture. It was murder trying to get the dog fur out of several pieces of fabric furniture and we had only allowed two or three. Also consider that many people are allergic to dogs or cats, and that may lead to negative experiences in the future.

it also depends if you just have a rustic wooden cabin versus something with wall-to-wall carpets and fabric furniture.

Hi @Bo A Vanecko , we allow up to 2 dogs. $50 fee per animal. Max size of 75 lbs. That covers most dogs. I do restrict certain breeds. So far no real issues.

One guest brought 3 dogs instead of 1. I happened to be there when they arrived as I was just finishing up. The extra dogs were both Pits. I was not happy, but I didn't say anything and let it go. No issues.

@Bo A Vanecko

Not worth the hassle in my experience. I’m a pet lover and a dog owner and I love to travel with my dog. As a host, I wanted to extend that option to my guests and decided to give it a try. Within 2 weeks, I sadly had to stop allowing pets.

1. Airbnb doesn’t have a streamlined way for you to collect the pet fee. You can “request a fee” but it becomes a timing issue (I had someone stay up trying to coordinate the payment - the last thing I want is my guests ruining their night because they can’t get the payment processed). This is particularly an issue when you have several listings and are trying to streamline as much as you can

2. People in general are not great pet owners. They didn’t pick up after their dogs, furniture got ruined, pee inside the house everywhere and yes, the guest can pay for that. But that means more of my time taking pictures and on the phone with the platforms to get refunds and less time developing my business

Hope it helps and happy to answer specific questions!