"Fake" Service Dogs becoming a problem

I know I was reading here recently on this topic - but I can’t find it. Mods feel free to move this into a different thread…

The comments after the article are particularly entertaining.


There are so many threads mentioning pets, service dogs and emotional support animals I wouldn’t know which thread to put it on. LOL. I think the article is worth a new thread.

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I think this goes along with fake disabled people too. I know people who share their ID hang tag. On Saturday at Costco all the handicapped spots are full and there are literally no close spots available. I’ve known of people who fake an injury so they can board the plane first. People in wheelchairs getting the seating in the arena who aren’t really normally wheelchair bound. I see a lot of people who I wonder about but don’t know what their condition might be. I know perfectly well that “looking” disabled is not a criteria. Still, there are a lot of grifters and it’s infuriating.


Another pet peeve of mine as well! Handicapped spots are full in parking lots, no handicapped sign in the car. I frequently see young spry folks bouncing out of the car and trotting into the store.


I suppose your House Rules could require a copy of a Service dog’s certificate of training prior to booking being accepted. It’s not required in the US, but it is in Europe.

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I believe I recall reading in prior threads that isn’t permitted by Airbnb policy. I’m sure many hosts violate Airbnb policy, just do what you want until you get de-listed is one option.

We had this discussion before in other threads.
AirBnB’s policy is not clear-cut because it hides behind the lack in regulations in the US.

It also point out that in countries with better regulations, guests can be asked for certificates.

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Yes, good to point out this is in the US only.

My old mum used to say about people like that that one day karma/fate/the universe/whatever will catch up with them and they’ll find that they’ll be in a wheelchair for real.


Oh I see you brought a dog, I wish you would have told me I would have warned you that a guest snuck a puppy in two weeks ago and it threw up all over the place, the owner was a wreck she told me it died of Parvo virus…



“Starting” to be a problem? Oh hell no! It IS a problem! And widespread. I haven’t had to deal with it in my listing but I have had to deal with in my business. It’s a huge problem!

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…‘provided doggy treats, feeding bowls, a comfy dog bed, a doggy towel, poop bags, and special canine shampoo plus our unique book about which beaches, restaurants, coffee houses and other businesses are dog-friendly…’

Yes, we did provide the above when we had dog guests (the homeowners association made a no dogs ruling last year though) but that’s not why I’d send them that message - it’s just my way of saying ‘ha, you missed out. You could have had all these and more if you’d only been honest with me. Poor dog, what a rotten pet parent you must be…’


Do you have to allow service dogs if you have a no pet policy? We can’t have other dogs here as one of our dogs can be aggressive towards other dogs.

@Blanco You do have to allow it but I would just indicate about your dog’s aggresssion.

How big of a problem have fake service/emotional support animals actually been with Airbnb hosts? It’s one of the things I worry about, especially after reading Airbnb’s policy which basically says that any guest can say that any animal is some kind of service/emotional support animal and they are not required to prove it and I cannot refuse/cancel a reservation because of it.

The guests that bring fake service animals are just another variant of the guests that sneak in more people than they book. Airbnb’s “honor system” of labeling service animals gives this type of guest, who is already dishonest, a loophole to bypass the rules hosts put in place to protect their investments. And Airbnb’s near-worthless Host Guarantee is worth even less if a fake service animal does damage because the damage was done by a pet. It’s just one more thing that pushed me to purchase short-term-rental insurance for my listing.


It has not happened to me yet, no dogs or cats snuck in but I would cancel anyone showing up with a dog and risk the wrath of Air. I would tell them I have allergies and do my own cleaning. I would tell the guests a dog died of parvo and the virus can linger up to a year. I do not want dogs or cats in my cabin. I am building a new cabin and this one will be set up for dogs, vinyl flooring, small dog yard and furniture with tall legs. I know I am missing out on bookings not allowing dogs so I am making the new place dog resistant from the beginning. Also I will charge $30 per night for dogs which is about the same as a kennel.


As an FYI, I would look for metal legs as often as practical. Dining table, chair legs, coffee table, beside table. Those can’t be chewed and pee marking can be cleaned. I also got furniture that goes all the way to the floor where appropriate, for example a bookcase that rests on the floor as opposed to on on raised legs. This is because you will have to clean under anything that is raised. Around here balls and toys end up under the furniture and then dogs scratch at the bottom of the furniture to get the toy.

You might consider buying a good quality crate. I know most people make it the owner’s responsibility but it’s something I would consider.

I know your listing and market is different but please let me know if you can get this much. I should probably raise my pet fee.


What do you charge to board a dog? I think the pet fee should be close to what it cost to board. Of course I have not tested this yet though. I also think it should be per pet per night. TBH I would rather people board the dog and not bring fido, but if they are willing to pay then I am willing to be paid:)


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I love this…

Also a great idea, wish I would have been armed with a statement like this when it happened to me!

It was a bit of an issue for me…The winter months have been pretty booked, but I did have to lower prices. I’m still at the high end though, for an in-home host. I thought I might make some extra money and allow dogs (no cats) to stay for an extra $20/night. I put in my description and house rules that people bringing dogs cannot instant book, that I have to pre-approve first.

Well my first “dog person” just instant booked, naturally, and showed up with a big dog. She informed me, “I don’t pay pet fees, Airbnb always waives them as this is my emotional support animal.” Whatever. I am a dog lover, but this dog was not well behaved. She jumped up, got on furniture, dug holes, etc. Also left two steaming piles of you-know-what in my yard that the owner did not pick up. Ugh. These so-called emotional support animals clearly don’t need to be well trained, unlike true service dogs. Thank god it was only one night. One strike on my new allowing pets policy. (BTW, she did not review.)

Second strike. Someone sent an inquiry wanting to bring THREE cats for ten days. Uhhhh no.
Third strike, yet another cat person with two cats. Nope. Sorry, I’m allergic.

Three strikes and I’m out! I promptly removed my ‘allowing pets’ policy. I had it posted for over a month, but wasn’t seeing anything that indicated it was going to make a dent in my income. Which is really odd, because where I live every other person has a dog. Huge dog and hiking community. Sigh…

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To board I charge $25-32 per day. People booking via Rover pay more because of fees. But then I watch the dog almost 24/7. I also have pet sitters insurance. So if you try to charge the same but they have to care for the dog, feed and clean up after the dog, be responsible if they become sick or injured that seems a bit high.

To have your pet with you in the airbnb I charge 15 per pet per day/ 25 for two pets. In practice I’ve also discounted for multiple days though multiple day guests with pets are rare.

I’ve also done day care for Airbnb guests where they paid me additional money to watch their dog while they are out.

Sure, whatever your market will bear. I wouldn’t be willing to pay the same as boarding and do all the work just to have my dog with me though. People bring their dog for companionship, because it doesn’t do well boarding or doesn’t get along with others and to save money. You said you are losing out on bookings due to not taking dogs so you don’t want to charge too much. Obviously check your competition. I have multiple competitors that don’t charge extra for pets. I figure I get people who book last minute and/or prefer more reviews over fewer reviews.