Guests sneaking in pets

Newish host here. Out of 8 guests, I’ve now had my second guest show up with dogs not on the reservation. We’re dog people, and it’s hard to find a place that allows dogs when you travel, which is why we gave the option. Dogs are clearly stated by pre-approval only and pay a $100 pet fee.

Tonight’s guest came with the 6 people on the reservation, but two dogs. I requested the fee but now I’m ticked off. It seems clear when reserving that you have to disclose pets, so this has to be a “I’m not paying $100, I’ll just pop the dogs in the yard and no one will know” right? And this is a guest with multiple 5 star ratings…

Regardless of whether everything is clearly stated in your ad, some guests don’t read thoroughly and some just want to avoid the extra fees. It’s advisable to communicate with guests when they first book or request to book, making sure they have entered the correct number of guests, children, pets, did they read your house rules, etc. etc., and letting them know, in a tactful way, that any living breathing creatures not listed on the booking may result in not being permitted entry.

I do think a $100 pet fee is really high and you’d likely have less pet-sneaking-in if you lowered that fee significantly.

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The thing where a guest adds pets to a reservation is relatively new, maybe a year or so. If the guest hasn’t traveled recently they may not have noticed. Could be an honest mistake (always is until proven otherwise IMO). Ask for the pet fee. If they pay for it then you don’t have a problem. Better to fully investigate before jumping to judgment.

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You’re going to keep having unauthorized dogs with a policy like this. I rarely see hotels that charge $100 for a pet fee–there are some in New York City that do, I happen to know. Usually it’s more like $20 per pet (dog) per stay. You could visit to see what the hotels in your location are doing.

You might want to decide if you’re going to declare war on every guest who violates, which sounds awfully emotionally draining and like a lot of work and time investment, or if you’re going to switch to a no pets policy.

If you switch to no pets, you won’t be attracting dog owners anymore and that should fix the problem.


Except for the ones who book no pets properties and sneak their dog in.


And does it still have that outrageous wording that said “Be sure to let your host know if you are travelling with more than 2 pets”?

It still says that, but I’m not really sure what they mean by it.

Well, if I were a guest with pets, it would mean to me exactly what it says- that you don’t have to let the host know you are bringing pets unless you have more than two. I can’t imagine what Airbnb’s purpose in putting that wording there was except to make guests think they don’t have to disclose 1 or 2 pets.


I guess that putting them on the guest list is the disclosure. We see that just like we would see how many guests are booked. I’m not sure why they mention the thing about two though. It seems kind of random. Maybe a lot of hosts only allow one pet or something, but I’ve never personally come across that.

I don’t have a pet fee (well, rather, it’s baked into the price like any other fee that someone says they don’t have, lol) but I do have a house rule that requires preapproval to bring dogs and another that says “no cats”. It’s worked out well so far. It’s like anything else on Airbnb, you have to disclose, communicate, smile, disclose, communicate… :grin:

I’ve seen a lot of $50 pet fees on Airbnb and that doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. You can’t really compare it to a hotel, because what the pet fee usually is meant to cover is the extra cleaning involved in pet fur. A hotel is just one room to clean, whereas an Airbnb may be a 3 or 4 bedroom house with pet fur throughout.

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I love animals, but we have a no pets listing. In my mind, a pets-accepted listing should be treated as a no-pets listing if the animals are not disclosed. I sometimes wish I could show up with a shotgun resting languidly on my hip and say, “You can stay one more night, or your dog can. Which is it gonna be?”


A few things I do to alleviate this
1- when sending the thanks for booking message, if they haven’t marked they’re bringing a pet, I add no pets in my lists of no’s.
So. No smoking, no parties, no pets, no candles.
Now, if they didn’t realize the needed to add the pet they message back. I chose your place because I could bring my dog.
My reply…Mary, Your furry friend is welcomed at the house. I have added him as a guest and you’ll need to accept the change and pay the $100 pet fee. I look forward to hosting you.
2. If they come with a pet- I message with a reservation change to add the pet.
Mary, Your furry friend is welcomed at the house. I have added him as a guest and you’ll need to accept the change and pay the $100 pet fee. Enjoy your stay.


These should be house rules - they will be supported by airbnb if ignored. Surprising a guest after they have booked with anything like that will not end well.

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Thanks for all the feedback. In no particular order:

  • airbnb told me “don’t worry…” about 8 times. In the end, the pet fee was collected by them. The guest claimed they did not know about a pet fee. I will update the listing language to make this crystal clear but it should already be.
  • some guests do travel with more than 2 pets. We had one lady who wanted to bring 6 dogs, she was traveling to a dog show (we said no)
  • the pet fee is set to cover the additional amount of cleaning time to make the house look and smell like there were no pets there at all. In my area, this amount is pretty normal.
  • Airbnb said I can impose additional fees. I am considering adding one that says “if you show up with a dog without preapproval & fee, we will charge the pet fee plus X penalty.” But this might encourage someone to willfully not request preapproval (for example, bringing a breed that would be against our insurance policy) so I may hold off. Considering the same for people who bring extra guests or have parties despite being clearly told no to both in the house rules.
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As does everyone’s.

I don’t know how large your place is, nor what the hourly rate for cleaners in your area is, but does it really take an extra 2 or 3 hours to clean up after a pet that you need to charge $100?

Short answer - yes. Our place is 1800 sq ft with a yard and it easily takes the cleaner 2+ hours longer, depending on the dog (or dogs - we charge a flat pet fee not per dog).


When I charged extra-person fees, my house rules said “$200 US per night per extra guest not paid for prior to arrival” (my regular fee was $50 per person per night). I fortunately never had to use it, but I’m convinced it “helped” a few guests to reveal the true size of their group before they showed up.

True. People can also steal towels and wine glasses.


They knew. That’s why they never mentioned their dog. It is absolutely true that guests don’t read, but people traveling with animals certainly do…because they risk a cancelled reservation by breaking a no pet policy.

Depending on where you host and local laws, you may get what we (regularly) do: guests claiming to have a *trained service animal, (i.e. a seeing eye dog, that would not legally be subject to any pet fee in the US)…when they really had an *esa pet, (which a cat/bird or even a mini-horse can be an emotional support animal, and quite easily-no training required). All are called “service” animals, but with very clear and obvious distinctions.

Claiming to have a trained service animal when you do not is now a crime in most states [in the US], as trained service animals for a disability are afforded the same access to all public and private areas that a disabled person is, via the ADA. Airlines have become hip to this grift.

We have a no pet policy. Every single one of theses guests lied about having a trained service animal, and a few caused significant damage. Most were obviously un-housebroken puppies, and a couple of the guests have even told me during casual conversation they just got rescued the animal. lol

We love animals but being [fraudulently] bullied into accepting them in our listing is infuriating. It is also pathetic that anyone would try to ride the coattails of trained service animals and the people who need them and may have waited years for their service dogs.

Would like to see Airbnb adopt stronger language regarding this issue because it has come up dozens of times for us over the years, but am not holding my breath.

That is our experience with how far people will go to “sneak in” their pets. A $100 pet fee seems perfectly reasonable to me for a whole house listing. IDK what the solution is, tbh. :confused:


Puppies cannot be trained service animals! When people bring such pets to your no pet place, what exactly do you do about it? Do you ask guests to leave? Do you give them a 1 star review? Do you contact Air?

Almost all our dog guests have been cleaner and better behaved than some of our human guests.