Pets in a rental property can be a dilemma for the homeowner. It’s not uncommon for dogs and cats to chew, scratch, stain, and otherwise damage things around the house. However, as a rental owner, it’s important to consider allowing pets because guests are looking for pet-friendly vacation properties. Many guests consider their pets part of the family and don’t want to leave them behind when it’s time to get away for a vacation. However, finding a rental that accepts pets can be a challenge. Likewise, offering accommodations for dogs or cats can be a challenge for vacation home owners.
Have you asked yourself, should I allow pets in my rental? It’s a great question that all rental property owners should consider. To help you with the decision, take a look at these seven things to consider before making your vacation rental pet-friendly.
How Many People Own Pets in The United States?
Pet ownership has continued to rise during the last few decades. It’s become easier and more convenient to be a pet owner, from pet-friendly apartment leases to doggie daycare and pet supplies delivered to your door. Opening your home and heart to a pet can be life-changing and more people are making the commitment.
How many pets are in your home? The average home has at least one pet, usually a dog or cat. About 69-percent of pets are dogs and 45-percent are cats. According to the APPA (American Pet Products Association), 90.5 million American homes are shared with pets—that’s 70-percent of all U.S. households. Pet ownership has steadily climbed, increasing during the pandemic.
Pet-friendly Rentals Help Increase Bookings
On average, pet-friendly rentals can help increase bookings and revenue by about ten to twenty percent. Travelers want to bring their pets with them, especially when booking a vacation rental. As the hospitality industry offers more options for pet-friendly vacations, it’s essential for privately-owned vacation rentals to do the same.
As a vacation rental owner, you may be weighing the pros and cons of offering pet-friendly accommodations. Does my property really need to accommodate pets? Are there enough guests seeking a pet-friendly vacation rental? Only you, as the property owner, can truly answer the first question. However, data does support the second—yes, guests are looking for pet-friendly vacation rentals. Let’s look at the numbers.
According to Airbnb, “pets-allowed” is the most-searched-for amenity in recent months. Just two years ago, “pets-allowed” ranked fifth, coming in behind air-conditioning (#4), kitchens (#3), WiFi (#2), and pools (#1). People are looking for pet-friendly rentals.
Here’s more good news for vacation rental owners. Lodging Magazine has reported that about 54-percent of U.S. travelers plan to travel and vacation with their pets. In addition, nearly 70-percent of pet owners surveyed state that their pet deserves a vacation too, while 44-percent report that it’s a struggle to find pet-friendly accommodations that work for them.
Guests are looking for your pet-friendly rental.
Is Your Property Suitable for Pets?
Not every home is pet-friendly. If your vacation rental is filled with easily-stained fabrics and breakable items, it might not be suitable for pets. A cozy rental may not work for large breed animals, but could be perfect for guests with small breeds of dogs or those traveling with cats. Is your rental in a building without easy access to space for a dog to relieve itself? Do you have a beautifully landscaped yard that could be easily torn up by frollicking canines? Will a barking dog disturb your neighbors?
When considering the pets in rental property question, take a quick inventory of the space. Things that typically don’t work for pets include but are not limited to:
- Carpets that absorb liquids, shag rugs, light-colored carpets
- Easily-snagged fabrics
- Fabrics or upholstery that isn’t stain resistant
- Window treatments that extend to or touch the floor
- No convenient space for a litter box or outdoor access for dogs
- Decorative items that are easily reachable by pets and potentially breakable
You can create a pet-friendly space for your vacation home guests. Maybe your home is ready for a few minor renovations. Consider ditching the carpet and going with a pet-friendly laminate, hardwood, tile, or even vinyl, the latter which may work great in an entrance or bathroom. Choose washable area rugs or if you need carpet in certain rooms, opt for a lowpile that is easily steam-cleaned.
Removable and washable covers for couches and chairs make it easier to deal with pet hair and stains, while mattress and pillow protectors are a must (and a good idea even if your rental doesn’t allow pets.) Make use of child gates to create pet boundaries, remove breakable items, and opt for inexpensive curtains versus mini-blinds or drapes that may be torn or damaged by visiting pets.
Are All Pets Allowed in Airbnbs?
Typically, most pet-friendly vacation rentals, like the Redwood Coast homes at Casago, accommodate dogs and cats. Some may extend their pet policies to other types of animals, but it also may be something that, as an owner, you consider on a case-by-case basis.
Not all pets may be suitable for all properties. A large breed of dog may simply be too big for a cozy high-rise condo, while you may prefer not to have animals like snakes or rodents in your home, even for a short time. Maybe you or another person in your home has a cat allergy. If that’s the case, then definitely opt not to allow cats as pet guests.
Whatever you decide, it’s essential that you make it clear to your guests. Create a well-defined pet policy. This policy should include details and rules regarding:
- Pet type, breed, size, and even age (you may not want an untrained puppy in your home)
- How guests should handle cleanup and disposal of all pet waste
- Specifics for which areas/rooms of the home the animals are not allowed in
- Any building or HOA rules regarding animals
Maintenance Needed Due to Pet Damage
Guests booking your vacation rental may have the best intentions, but their pets may not be as well-trained as you would like. At some point, a pet guest will damage something in your vacation rental. When deciding should I allow pets in my rental, you have to factor in maintenance needed due to pet damage. Depending on the damage, this can mean the cost to repair or replace as well as the time spent handling the issue.
The most common things damaged by pet guests are mini-blinds, curtains, and carpets. Keep in mind that damage may not be localized to indoors. Some dogs are prone to digging and may damage the lawn or flower beds.
Provide Pet Supplies
As a vacation rental owner, you strive to provide your guests with everything they need so their stay is relaxing and fun. When offering a pet-friendly rental, don’t forget about the comfort and happiness of your pet guests. Many successful pet-friendly rental owners provide an array of pet supplies. If you’re going pet-friendly, here are a few things you may consider supplying:
- Sturdy food and water bowls (It’s likely your guests will bring their own, but it’s nice to have them on hand, just in case.)
- Pet bed with washable cover
- Exterior pet gates for porches and decks
- Interior pet gates to close off no-access spaces
- Tether or spiral ground stake
- Litter box with scoop, litter bags, and extra litter
- Doggie waste bags
- Dog and cat treats
- Small towels for wiping wet or muddy paws (be sure to leave a note designating their purpose so your guests know it’s okay to use them for their pet).
- Tote with extra cleaning supplies labeled so the guests know it’s for pet messes
Another nice touch is to provide information about local attractions, dog parks, and pet-friendly restaurants. Add contact information for local doggie daycare, dog-walkers, pet stores, and emergency-care veterinarians.
If you leave a welcome basket for your human guests, consider leaving one for their pet as well. It doesn’t have to be big, just something to let the guest know you’ve thought of their pet. Include a gourmet dog cookie or cat treat plus a small chew toy or catnip toy for the feline friends.
Consider a Pet Fee
While many pet owners are meticulously careful and respectful when bringing their pets to a vacation home, hotel, or public place, some will not fall into this category. It’s common to include a pet fee as part of the rental charge, like the owners of this mountain cabin in McCall, Idaho do. Fees may vary depending on the property, but $25 per pet per night of reservation is often average. Some may be higher and include instructions to crate the pet or that the pet may not be left unattended.
What Is The Difference Between a Pet Fee and a Pet Deposit?
A pet fee is a nonrefundable, flat fee that covers typical cleaning and services after a stay, the fee may vary depending on length of stay, number of pets, breed, etc. A Pet Deposit is a refundable deposit to cover potential damages caused by a pet and is typically refunded at the end of the stay if there hasn’t been any damage to the property.
If you’re still on the fence about allowing pets as guests in your vacation rental, check out some of the properties on Casago that are successfully pet-friendly. There are many pet-friendly options in Phoenix, Arizona and Snowshoe, West Virginia. Definitely check out the wide selection of pet-friendly properties along the Redwood Coast, in scenic Big Bear, and in the mountain paradise of McCall, Idaho.
Ready to pack up your pet and indulge in a much needed vacation? Now’s the time! Casago has vacation destinations throughout the United States and Mexico with something to fit everyone. Book your getaway today!