Need advice from dog experts

So it’s finally happened. Guest booked months ago and will be arriving Friday. They just sent me this message:

Hi hope you are well.
I just found out that the one person part of our party travels with a registered emotional support animal. Sorry to catch you off guard with this, I was just made aware of this… She informed me that she has stayed with AirBnb before and there is a special policy that allows for registered emotional support animals. She assured me that Penny, the small dog is extremely well behaved. Please would you confirm that this is okay? Looking very forward to our stay.


As many of you know I would prefer never to have animals at my whole house rental which is located adjacent to my home. I know I have no choice but can I put restrictions on this animal? I have no fence. The property is open to vast wheat fields teaming with all manner of wildlife and I have half a dozen cats that work on my farm and live in my house. There is also a 50mph country road that runs in front of the house again with no fence.

Do they have to pick up dog poo or is that going to be my job?
Can I specify the dog is never to be off leash? Never left alone? Not on furniture (though I can’t police that)?


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I would for sure message through the platform all the potential dangers and be sure they understand and accept all liability for this.

Also, if it were me, I would clarify that they would pick up after the dog and that the booking party’s security deposit will be used for additional cleaning if the dog eliminates in the house. The person who booked needs to know they are at risk too. Quoting Airbnb policy to you is a bit cheeky, IMO.

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And get a blacklight flashlight if you don’t have one already to look for those elimination areas.

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I was wondering if I can mention that damage would be covered by the security deposit or if that would seem like I was threatening them which could elicit a complaint to Air.

Yeah I thought the quote amusing not to mention I know for a fact there is no such thing as an emotional support animal registry which really flames. Hate people who try to BS their way through things.


You’re a good dog person. How would your draft a response?

I’ve got one started but it’s a first draft and I’m still steamed so I need to let it simmer. I’ll come down but right now it stinks mostly because it smells so calculated and backhanded.

Thanks. That’s a big help. At least they gave me some notice and didn’t just show up dog in tow.

We have, for years, had an overnight horse boarding availability. Folks that travel to events to show their horses, sometimes shipping horses to new homes, etc. It has been standard practice to demand a current health certificate (A veterinarian examines the animal and reports on a form), current vaccination record, and clear coggins certificate. Also, copies of either registration or brand inspection. (both have description and show markings on horse)
Considering the current air bnb climate, of not allowing hosts to deny “service” animals. And the advent of folks that seem to relish pushing envelopes, and last nerves of hosts; requirements must be stated in the listing.
For Those hosts that do not allow dogs, place some restrictions by way of requiring paperwork:
Current, dated within 5 days of visit, veterinarian written health certificate.
Copy of vaccination record.
Written guidelines that they must sign. IE: animal must be attended by an adult at all times on property.
Animal must be leashed at all times outside of house.
Animal only allowed in (you choose) rooms.
List of known hazards, and release of unknown hazards.
Animals not allowed on furniture.
Animals not allowed to be “bathed” in tub/shower.
All slobber, defecation, urine, damage of any kind. Forfeit of deposit. and ability to file complaint for any further damages.
Air bnb may make us take them, but there is nothing against policy, to have our own restrictions and/or policies.


And, a carefully worded requirement for a copy of said service animals license to be a “service” animal!

Hey! Maybe this will be a good use for all those ruined sheets and towels I have from past guests! Win-win! LOL!


I have considered doing what you do but am so afraid of equine herpes. It has been big here in Washington and once it’s on your property it’s a nightmare. A friend’s show barn had not one but three outbreaks with almost a dozen horses dying. They took every precaution and even had the state/federal agencies involved and still there is no way to stop it. Scary.

Yeah… in my head I would love to go off with all those restrictions but I know my hands are tied. It’s what I’ve signed up for and what I have to accept with a smile and a “thank-you sir may I have another?”

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Alright Casa - here is my stab at a reply. I did sneak in a damage deposit comment but will take out if you advise. BTW - I have my damage deposit set at $200. It was a number I picked out of a hat but I know it will not cover the cost of carpet cleaning should i need it. Should I raise it for the future?

Okay… edit away:

Thanks, Betty, for letting me know about Penny. Of course it’s okay and there’s no additional charge as per Airbnb policy and any damage will be covered by the deposit you paid when you booked your stay.

For Penny’s safety she will need to stay with her owner at all times, remain on leash and not be left alone in the house. In addition to my pet/working cats there are feral cats outside whose health and demeanor I can’t vouch for. They aren’t used to dogs being on the property. Also be aware there are skunks that roam between my house and the guest house where you will be staying. Dogs do like to get after skunks as well as roll in animal scat and no one is going to enjoy a stinky Penny during the vacay. LOL. Other common wildlife to be aware of are coyote, fox, badger, cougar and bobcat.

Finally, the speed limit on the road in front of the house is 50mph and there’s no fence or street lights.

I’m sure she’ll be fine as long as proper care is taken for her safety. I will make a run to the pet store and pick up some doggy poop bags for your friend’s use and provide old blankets for Penny so she has somewhere to lay without concern for the furniture or linens.

Srsly? It’s not real? Huh. What a rube I am! LOL!

So otherwise okay?

so angry at this…such bullshit.
I get it…and I get Service Dogs.
But this is poo.


It is against the law for you to ask for any of those things (in the states) about a service dog. Since the guest has already stated that they are an ESA and not a service dog, you may be able to get away with it. But if the guest knows anything about ADA law, they may just refuse to answer, claiming service dog rights (which they technically don’t have with an ESA, but you have no way to push the issue, legally.)

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I just looked up the Airbnb policy, a few things I found interesting

  1. Note that given their role in providing service or emotional support, assistance animals should not be left alone at a listing.

  2. Hosts only have to ‘reasonably accommodate’ and it goes on to define

  3. Guests don’t even have to disclose they are bringing one

No 3 is just wrong wrong wrong IMO


This doesn’t apply to a whole-house rental, as I found out the hard way. (See my recent post about my listing being flagged and shut down.)

I’ve used the ‘over-nice I’m just concerned for you’ approach suggested by @KKC but in relation to children. I sometimes get messages from guests who want to bring their wonderfully-behaved, silent, non-nuisance, clean-as-a-new-pin toddler with them.

I tell the potential guests how delighted we would be to host them (ha!) and then point out the dangerous aspects of our listing for young children and by the time I’ve done listing them, and the potential guest has read them, they usually decide that only really rotten, uncaring parents would even consider bringing their little darlings here.

This has been working completely successfully for years :slight_smile:

So I imagine that the same thing will apply to what so many pet-owners these days call their ‘fur babies’.


With the list of potential predators and dangers my livestock pose that I listed in my response they may just fear for THEIR lives, forget the dog! LOL!

Edit: Truthfully my place is out in the middle of farm land with everything from coyote to cougar. Neither are rare. I had a friend come stay at my house with her dog once and she got away when we were gabbing and not paying attention. The dog was very well trained and not prone to that sort of thing but she caught sight of a deer that was in the yard and that was that. Scariest 5 hours of my life looking for that dog. it was dusk and we thought we’d never find her as she had taken off across a thousand acre wheat field, flew across the 50mph road and headed for the treeline along the river that heads into the mountains.


As you have a shared listing you can always use the AirBnB get out of jail free card.

Buh? Shared listing?