Opinions from hosts of pet friendly listings

Good morning all. In follow up of my previous post about the frustrations between setting up a new listing now vs 7 years ago, I have finally gone live with my new studio. I will never reconcile in my head why they only let you do a brief “cliff notes version” of the listing and force you to go live to actually fill in the rest of the important details. I snoozed immediately and took a couple days to visit each and every option twice as they do pre-select a lot of items for you. I have received two bookings and several inquiries as we are entering summer tourist season.

My question is related to being pet friendly as it relates to my particular situation. I have had a private room listed for 7 years. I have dogs on site and have never allowed guests traveling with pets, other than service dogs, due to this reason.

The new studio is beneath my home and has a private entrance. However, the patio area adjacent to the studio is not fenced and is separate from the shared back yard. The gate to access the back yard is right beside the studio entrance. It is a 6 ft privacy fence and they would have no way of knowing if my dogs were in the yard until they actually opened the gate.

One of my pups is a new Frenchton puppy, 6 months old and behaves as you would expect a puppy to behave. I am terrified that someone would open the gate and Kevin would escape and they would be unable to catch him. The other two 11 year old pugs wouldn’t be phased.

Sorry this is so long, the question I have for those that do host pets, are pet friendly whole place listings popular enough that this would be something to consider? I know most pet owners are responsible but I’m more worried about the crowd that travels with a pet because they don’t want to spend the money to board them. And in turn would leave them alone in the yard all day or be careless in closing the gate. Just need some feedback before I pull the trigger on pet friendly. The new place was designed to be pet friendly but I just have a bit of anxiety about actually doing it. Thanks.

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That’s going to be on you to control. I’m pet friendly but they don’t have access to my back yard. However, I get mostly people traveling through for one night. Maybe you’ll only be able to give access when you are home to monitor it.

If you are getting plenty of bookings without it, why do it? But in a crowded market it can be a way to get more bookings. Remember the pet fee setting is built in now and it’s also a way to get more income. And I haven’t had many takers on this but you could also possibly offer day care to guests with dogs and make even more money.

letting dogs in your home should be less anxiety provoking than letting humans in your home. LOL. But here’s the thing, you’re not deciding to have a baby or get your lover’s name engraved on you as a tattoo. If the dog thing doesn’t work out you just remove the option.

I don’t know what this belief is based on. Traveling with a pet is a PITA for most people. It is just as likely that the owner is a wonderful person who loves their pet like family and doesn’t trust anyone else to care for them.

In my experience (with travelers, not vacationers) is that dogs are great guests and the pros outweigh the cons. If something does get ruined, chances are that the guest will pay for it without a hassle, or you can involve Airbnb.

@JJD is both a host who allows dogs and a guest who travels with a dog, I think. She would be a good resource.


This would be my choice, but the backyard is listed as an amenity as there is a hammock in the shade and the outdoor shower. I’ll have to give this a think.

The comment regarding guests who travel with them and don’t board is based on a couple of friends who have pet friendly listings. I’m on an island at the beach, they’ve had people who spend their entire days on the beach and leave pets unattended for long periods of time in an unfamiliar home. Damage was caused. It’s hard to take dogs out in the hot sun for hours on end so I anticipate many will want to leave them here.

I’m probably way over-thinking this and just need to try it or forget it. I do have all the bookings I can handle upstairs in the private room, but am still without reviews for the new place as current bookings are not till next month.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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This is just regarding the pet-getting-out issue, not allowing visiting pets in general.

Maybe you can address the situation by adding fencing?

I don’t allow pets, but all my dogs (including the current one) haven’t been reliable to stay in the yard with a gate open.

So I have a sort of airlock system. The separate entrance suite has its own fence around its deck with a gate to the yard and a gate to the driveway. The remainder of the yard is fenced and includes a dog run on the side of the house (with a doggy door) where I can close a gate and the dog is contained in its own separate area. Or I can open the gate and let the dog roam the yard.

I can assess the guest’s level of responsibility chatting with them or observing how they handle their gates. If any doubt, or if they aren’t amenable to encountering the dog in the back yard, I confine the dog to the run. All the gates have signage “Keep gates closed. Dogs run free.” My fences are open slats and chain link so it’s visually obvious.

There’s always a risk of course. I had a lovely couple recently who would open their deck to yard gate to play with the dog and shamelessly share their lunch. The dog followed them out to the driveway when they left that gate open as they were loading to leave. My first notice was when the guest sent a pic “Look how cute, the dog jumped in our van!” Fortunately he followed them back in. Whew!


I am not pet friendly, but can you explain how the guest having a pet relates to them accidentally leaving the gate open if you are listing the backyard as an amenity that guests can use to access the hammock and outdoor shower? They couid leave the gate open whether they have a pet or not- what am I missing here?

There are gate springs you can attach that make it impossible to accidentally leave the gate open, but if your puppy is in the backyard, it could dash out the instant someone opens the gate, right? Regardless of whether they leave it open.


I have seen a similar idea in dog parks, where there are two gates at each entrance. So one gate can be closed before the next gate is open.

So combine this idea with @muddy’s ‘springs’ [or other automatic door closers, which they have for swimming pool gates] and the OP’s dogs should stay fenced in.

This is an interesting idea and I have been thinking along these lines. Something like removing the 6’ privacy panel and gate that is perpendicular to the studio and replacing it with 4’ black aluminum so that the yard and it’s “occupants” are visible immediately to anyone entering it. Of course, that would give these two a better view to yell at all the folks walking by.


If I had vacationers I’d put a dog crate in the rental and ask that guests use it when leaving if they didn’t want to pay me for day care. You can’t police it but I think lots of owners would use it rather than risk a problem. But traveling with one might be a hassle or impossible (no room in the car) so I’d provide one. I also leave an IKEA Vitmossa throw in the room, doggy poop bags and a water bowl. Also determine how you can collect a pet deposit in advance.

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It just increases the number of times per day the gate is opened. Thus increasing the escape opportunities. If guests aren’t aware the dogs are there, L-shaped yard with dog beds and bowls out of sight around the corner, they may dawdle taking their time, or even leave the gate open while allowing their dogs to potty. They would be hard pressed to catch Kevin if he came running around the corner.

Up to this point, guests have accessed the back yard from another side of the yard, through a different gate, where it was easily visible that the dogs were there.

Self closing does not work here, we’ve tried it. Humidity and sun warp everything.

I actually do have one that I intend to make available.

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What type of self-closing mechanisms have you tried? I also live where there is high humidity and intense sun and know how hard that climate it is on things, but I don’t understand how the simple type of gate spring I linked to would be affected by that. You’d need to spray it with WD40 occasionally, as metal rusts in high humidity, but other than that, there is nothing to warp.

Muddy. You’re just going to have to trust me that it does not work.

I wouldn’t risk having my dogs get out due to guest mistake. Is it possible for the guest unit to have its own not shared fenced outdoor space?

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I am most concerned. Unfortunately, the way the new studio is setup, there’s not a way to change it due to building codes and setbacks.

I saw a listing @kkc shared on another thread that stated something to the effect that they will consider a dog on a case by case basis. I think I’ll put that in the intro and have a brief exchange to explain my concerns with anyone wanting to bring their dog and see how it does.


Wouldn’t you be out there if your dogs were out there? It could be as simple as putting a sign on the gate to “knock” by yelling over the fence, explaining that you need a “warning” so that you can contain your puppy so it doesn’t run out when they open the gate.

Another solution, especially if your dogs are out there without you, would be putting a fence “window” or “peephole” in the gate or fence (along with a sign asking people to check for dogs before opening the gate). They’re pretty common and don’t have to be a big project. It can be as simple as a decent size hole or two but there are also decorative metal plates you can put in (or wire or lattice depending on the size). Even a cute speakeasy style with the little hinged flap on it would add style and functionality all at once.

If the issue is that guests can’t see if dogs are in the yard then make it so they can see through part of the gate or part of the fence.

Here are a few examples I collected for you but the possibilities are extensive (and even a simple large drilled hole would work). I put them on imgur (**click on the photo to see the other ones) so you can scroll through easily. There’s a cute one at the end that is actually a peephole for the dogs themselves. :grin:

**click on the photo:

However, if you leave your dogs unattended in the yard then my greatest concern would be whether or not the guest dog(s) are going to be friendly or aggressive with your dogs. I wouldn’t let my dog meet another dog without being there to supervise them and make sure they are getting along.

That wasn’t mine but I do something similar. We have 4 units, including our own with our own dog, and we have a large, fenced yard that we, our tenants and guests all share. Fortunately, we don’t have a gate issue because there’s a common backdoor to go in and out of the yard. I’ve also never had anyone leave their dog unattended in the yard so it wouldn’t come up anyway. My concerns are whether dogs are going to get along/not fight/be aggressive, damage to our furnishings and floors and not having too much barking/yapping because I have to keep the peace among the 4 units.

Tenants are easy because I screen them in the leasing process but for guests, I have a house rule that says that “dogs must be preapproved before booking”. I use IB, and if you do too, then I have to warn you that it’s very rare for someone to ask for their dog to be pre-approved before they IB so you have to “catch it” and follow up on your own.

The majority of our guests do mention their dog with some details when they book. They also have a lot of perfect reviews many of which mention their dog(s) so I let those slide and don’t worry about them. But because of my house rule, I can and do ask some guests about their dogs. And if I’m not comfortable with their answers, which is extremely rare, then I get them to cancel by telling them they are welcome to stay but they can’t bring their dog. And Airbnb happily canceled, penalty-free, the only one that has refused to cancel (because it’s a House Rule).




@JJD Thanks for your well thought out response. I actually do have a dog window, just not on the side where the guests would enter.

This will sound weird to many but my dogs are often out back without me. My whole back yard was designed around them and their safety. It’s the east side of the house and about half of it is covered, very shady with multiple fans and ocean breezes. Even in 100° temps it’s lovely back there.

The gate in question has never been accessed or needed by guests and I’ve never allowed pets prior to this. I’ve also not allowed self-checkin directly because of my dogs and I would never allow strangers access to them if I weren’t present.

After reading comments here and much thought, I’m going to stick with my same procedure. Listing will say host greet, no self checkin, and no pets. I will however consider both if a conversation convinces me they understand the reasons for these conditions. I will also switch out the 6 ft privacy fence and gate for black aluminum so it’s not a blind spot when entering.

It has never affected my private room bookings doing host greet/no pets but I was just looking for an advantage with a new listing as there’s no boost for a new listing, just a new host. And it’s a competitive market out there as we all know.


It certainly doesn’t sound the least bit weird to me for dogs to be outside on their own in a fenced yard, and can’t imagine why anyone would find it strange. They aren’t human toddlers who need to be constantly monitored. Every dog owner I know with a fenced yard keeps the dogs outside at least some of the time. My dog didn’t even like being in the house, she preferred living, sleeping, and eating outside.

My dogs have always had free access to the yard thru the dog door. I do close the dog run gate at night so my current small dog is in a 6 ft fenced enclosure — part of the yard fence is only 4 ft and black coyotes have been seen in the local park.

We welcome pets at our listing and have found it works just fine. Our rules include pets are not allowed on beds or other furniture and that pets must not be left on the property without their owners at any time (rule only broken once with no problematic outcome). Couples dining out in the evening take their animals in the car with them. We provide a big, comfy dog bed and a sachet of dog food in a bowl, plus another water bowl. We have a half-acre garden but most people keep their dogs in a small fenced-off area at the back. Our instant-book message asks people about their dog and we warn people we have free-range chickens. The chickens have been chased a couple of times but nothing too drastic and the owners have immediately intervened. The key is good communication and clear rules and plans for how the animals are to be managed. We have an upcoming booking where I’ve asked that the animal remain on a leash when outside because of the breed. Who knows how that’s going to go but I feel I shouldn’t pre-judge. Personally, I enjoy hosting families with pets; our pet owning guests have been very nurturing toward their animals and lovely to us.

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