Guide to Owning a Pet Friendly Airbnb

We know that the idea of hosting pets can bring up images of chewed furniture and persistent stains and odors, but we’re here to tell you how turning your Airbnb into pet-friendly lodging may not be as bad as you think. In fact, allowing pets in your home could very well mean a drastic increase in bookings and a lot more revenue in your pocket.

In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about owning a pet friendly Airbnb. We’ll cover why your property should allow pets, how to make sure your property is prepared for them, and how to handle cleaning and damages. Plus, we’ll answer some common questions about owning a pet friendly Airbnb. So whether you’re a current Airbnb host or just thinking about becoming one, read on for all the  info you need to make your property pet friendly.

Why your property should be pet friendly

If you’re not currently allowing pets at your Airbnb, you might be wondering why you should start. After all, won’t that just mean more messes for you to clean up?

The simple answer is: yes, there will likely be a few more messes. But there will also be a lot more bookings. According to a study  by the American Pet Products Association, 68% of US households own a pet. That’s nearly 85 million homes! Of those homes, 36% say they’ve chosen their vacation rental based on whether it was pet friendly or not.

So if you’re not currently allowing pets, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of the market. 

Let’s look at Hot Springs Arkansas for example. If you search Airbnb for a three night weekend stay for two adults and two children you’ll get over 300+ properties to choose from. Now if you include a pet, those results drop down to 143. That’s more than half the competition removed just because the property is pet friendly.

Not only that, but pet friendly properties tend to cost more per night. So not only will you see more bookings, but you’ll also be able to charge a higher nightly rate.

So now that we’ve established why you should make your Airbnb pet friendly, let’s look at how you can do it.

How to make your property pet friendly

Making your Airbnb pet friendly is actually pretty easy. There are just a few simple steps you need to take:

First, add a pet policy to your listing.

Be sure to include any rules or restrictions you have regarding pets. Your house rules should also outline any specific guidelines or restrictions you have in place for guests with pets. For example, some hosts only allow  certain types or breeds of dogs. Others have a weight limit. You can also make specific rules like owners can’t leave animals alone in the house, restricting animals to only certain rooms, and requiring cleaning up after pets if you have a yard.

Another policy we like is to not allow pets on furniture—this allows for easy claims, because if a cleaner snaps a picture of fur on a couch, it’s an automatic violation of the pet policy.

Second, add a few pet amenities.

Pets need a little extra TLC when they travel, so be sure to provide some basic amenities like food and water bowls, leashes, dog beds, and toys. You can either provide these items yourself or stock a welcome basket with some pet essentials that guests can purchase.  If you’re allowing cats it would be wise to also include a litter box or two with extra litter.

Including these items can definitely leave a lasting impression on your guests which in turn will increase your positive reviews, recommendations and return visitors.

Want to really go the extra mile? Consider putting together a list of pet friendly activities in your area that your guests and their pets can enjoy together. Suggestions for dog friendly patios, parks, and attractions from a local will be greatly appreciated!

Third, consider pet-friendly fabrics and flooring to save you on cleaning and repairs. 

If you’re starting from scratch or doing a complete renovation, think about using materials that will be easy to clean and won’t show pet hair or stains.

For example, hardwood floors are easier to sweep up pet hair than carpet. And if you do have carpet, consider a dark color that won’t show stains as easily. There are also great area rug options that are easily washable.

As for couches, chairs and beds consider investing in furniture covers that can be washed and reused. Plus you can easily remove them when guests without pets are visiting and quickly put them back on when pets are planned to arrive.

You should also have a plan in place for dealing with pet accidents. No matter how well-trained your guests’ pets are, there’s always a chance of an accident happening. Be sure to have plenty of stain remover  and cleaners on hand so your guests can quickly and easily take care of any accidents.

Fourth, remove anything dangerous. 

We all know that dogs like to chew on things, so it’s important to put away anything small or delicate that could pose a choking hazard. You should also put away any cleaning supplies or medications that could be harmful if ingested. One often overlooked category is houseplants. Many varieties of plants are toxic to pets. If you have lots of plants in your home that a curious cat or dog might decide to chew on consider researching their toxicity or putting those plants outside or out of reach during their stay.

Finally, stock up on extra supplies.

Be sure to have plenty of pet-friendly products on hand like waste bags, paper towels, and disinfectant wipes.  It’s also a good idea to have some back-up items like extra towels, sheets, and blankets in case of any accidents. Having designated sheets, towels, and cleaning cloths for use with pets will also help keep your human and animal amenities separate and clean.

By following these simple steps you can turn your home into a pet-friendly oasis that will make both your guests and their furry friends happy. Making your Airbnb pet friendly doesn’t have to be difficult and by taking some basic precautions you can rest assured that everyone will have a great time.

How to handle cleaning and damages

The final step in owning a pet friendly Airbnb is to have a plan for cleaning up after your guests depart. This may mean hiring a professional cleaning service or having a detailed cleaning checklist that you or your staff follow. Pets can track in dirt, (aside from other wonderful things like slobber, hair and more) so it’s important to do a deep clean before and after each pet stay. Be sure to wash all bedding, vacuum carpets and upholstery, and clean all hard floors. You might also want to invest in some lint rollers to help remove pet hair from furniture.

As for damages, be sure to have a pet damage deposit in place that will cover you in case of any accidents.  You can either charge a flat fee or require a percentage of the total rental cost. Be sure to clearly communicate your pet damage policy to guests when they book so there are no surprises later on. 

Airbnb also includes insurance called AirCover with all reservations, which can compensate for any pet damages, by either filing a claim with the guest or covering it through the insurance. Many property management companies also provide insurance for non-Airbnb bookings to make sure your stays are protected.

Rest assured though, these are just precautions. Many Airbnb owners say they actually run into very few problems or irreparable messes with pets!

Other common questions

What about service animals? 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against guests with service animals so you cannot charge a pet fee for them. However, you can require that they adhere to the same house rules as other pets in regards to cleaning up after themselves and not damaging your property. 

Do I need to tell my insurance company?

If you have homeowner’s insurance, you should check with your agent to see if adding pet-friendly accommodations will affect your coverage or rates. 

You also want to make sure you’re covered in case something terrible happens such as a dog bites a neighbor. Most homeowner’s policies do not automatically cover  damages caused by pets so it’s important to check with your agent to see if you need to purchase additional coverage.

What if I live in a condo?

Check your HOA rules to see if owning a pet-friendly Airbnb is allowed. Some buildings have strict policies about short-term rentals so you’ll want to be sure you’re following the rules before listing your space as well.

Owning a pet-friendly Airbnb  can be a great way to earn some extra income and welcome four-legged friends into your home. By taking some basic precautions and being prepared for anything, you can ensure that both you and your guests have a wonderful experience. So go ahead and list your property as pet friendly on Airbnb- you might be surprised at how many pet parents are looking for a place to stay!

Do you have questions or need guidance on how to prepare your property for pets?  Reach out to us, we’re happy to help. 

And if you’re a pet parent looking for a place to stay, check out our list of pet-friendly properties!

Interested in property rental income?

Click below to find out How much you could earn.

How Much Can You Earn?Let us calculate your income potential!