I also allow pets (except kitties). I don’t allow cats because I have 2 regulars who have allergies and I think I’m the only pet friendly listing in my area that does no kitties, so it’s also a good niche. There are a couple of hosts to whom I refer the requests for kitties.
I handle the pets yet another way. I have in my house rules that Pets Must be Pre-Approved Prior to Booking. Oddly, this has a side-effect that showcases the people who don’t read: “Hi looking forward to our stay, it will be me, my husband and our darling little terrier mix. Thanks!”
People who do read and do reach out and ask if they can bring their dog are already demonstrating that they read and are respectful of house rules. My favorite version is: “We’d like to bring our 4 year old terrier-mix rescue, she’s traveled a lot with us, has stayed in other airbnbs, is house-trained and only barks if someone knocks. She’ll be with us most of the time but if we need to leave her, we can use a crate if you prefer, though she is trustworthy in the house. Pease let me know if you want more information or have any other questions or need a picture. Thank you!”
Of course I don’t always get this ideal request to bring the dog but I have some questions I ask (I have a copy and paste list that I can customize to make it easy) to get the same information from them. Only one time, I didn’t hear back from someone when I asked and that’s okay with me. As long as people are cooperative and conscientious and willing to have the conversation, I will work with them for their dogs to come (I have crates to borrow, I’ll do check-ins on them, I give a list of dog friendly places to go). It’s been a very successful approach for me. And ultimately, everything agreed to in the message stream is on the record, for Airbnb’s sake. The only actual rule is that they must be pre-approved.
I don’t charge an actual fee for the pets, but it’s ultimately considered in my rates and I get enough good business from it to make sense for me. Also, dog people are my preferred demographic For high-demand days, I will run searches to see what pet-friendly listings are available and raise my prices accordingly sometimes. I also get a lot of return business and referrals from my dog-parent guests.