Pet Friendly Policies

One of the benefits for vacationers of renting a vacation home over traditional hotel or resort style accommodation is the ability to take their pet along with them as part of the family holiday; however the percentage of properties that accept pets remains low. This puts owners who welcome pets at a great advantage, but before you rush to add a pet icon, make sure you are fully prepared and ready for all eventualities.

Just a few words of caution – as with any aspect of this business, don’t do this unless you are committed to welcoming pets to your property since just tolerating them won’t be sufficient. There will be dog hair, the occasional damp patch on a carpet, and perhaps a scratch or two on a door or screen.

Charging extra

You need to decide if you are going to charge an additional fee for pets. This is a personal choice – some owners positively welcome them and consider them to be less risk than having small children in their property; others are more risk averse and want to charge for the potential for damage or additional cleaning. Whatever you decide to do, make it clear in your rate structure and Terms and Conditions of Rental.

What to provide

There’s a few things you can provide for your pet guests that will endear you to their owners and generate respect for your property. A “Pet Welcome Basket” is inexpensive and can include the following:

  • Towels – A couple of old towels will prevent your guests using your best bath towels to dry Fido after a splash in the lake or river
  • Pet bowls – If you don’t want your guests using your mixing bowls for food and water for their pets, provide a couple of specifically labeled bowls
  • Tether - Supply a good quality tether so your guests can keep their pet constrained in the property yard if it is not fenced. Remind them in your guest book that they should not leave any pet tethered outside and unsupervised.
  • Skunk Kit – If you are in an area where a skunk attack might be an issue, it’s in your best interest to offer a recipe for recovery and supply the ingredients.
  • Poop & Scoop materials - If you want guests to clean up after their pet, it’s helpful to provide them with the means to do so.
  • Carpet spot cleaner – If an accident happens

Pet letter

Although you can write your pet policy in your property Welcome Guide, a more effective way of getting the message across is with a letter written directly to the pet. This isn’t as odd as it sounds –this method appeals to pet owners and they are far more likely to read it than a few dry sentences in the guide.