To Dog or Not to Dog… That is the question…

I’m sure this has been brought up before, but maybe not my specifics.

First…. Dogs or not? Have you found any specific decline in rentals when you say “no pets” vs allowing pets?

Second…. liability…. I live in the woods with predators, one of my concerns going into this is that someone will lose their dog or it will be eaten by a predator (happens often here)… what is the process in that situation? Someone’s favorite floofy vanishes and I’m sure they’re going to be very concerned about finding it so are they then going to try to make that “my problem”? Secondly, if something happens to the dog, it chews a wire and gets killed, or any number of things, what is our Liability? I’m in the United States, North Carolina to be exact…. I’m not necessarily asking legal advice here, just liability to ABB?

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  1. How would you know unless you accepted dogs then didn’t . And stripped out all other factors that affect your booking rate such as demand/cost of living rises etc.

  2. Why would you have liability for what pet owners do outside your property

I’ve gone back and forth about allowing dogs. I know that when I travel, I have less options or rentals if I take my dog. Having said that, in the end, I’ve decided not to accept pets. I have a dog on the first floor and I think it would stress him out plus the noise factor.

I personally don’t allow pets and I’m fully booked during the season. The property is at the Jersey shore. In your case, I definitely would not allow pets because of the predators. I can imagine the review “Awful stay, a bear attacked and killed my dog and host was not helpful.”


List as pets no allowed and see how your occupancy is. If you decide to allow pets inform you guests of this danger in more than one place to protect yourself as well as to caution them. That said, service dogs cannot be rejected. Fortunately they are usually with their owner and trained well enough not to run off. Still, give plenty of warning.

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my property is 30 acres surrounded by other large properties, I wasn’t referring to something that would happen “off of my property” but while here…. As per the first point you made, that’s exactly why I asked the question, hoping to hear from someone who had done both and seen a change.

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Dogs yes! No cats, but dogs. I’ve only had one dog do damage to my property so far, that I fixed myself, but the humans…I would be better off not allowing humans, only dogs.

When I was a long term landlord with multiple rentals I learned to allow pets–although cats are a problem with allergies, scratching and spraying so I don’t allow them now. The main reason is, you can’t stop pets easily. Unless you are personally monitoring your cabins, people are going to sneak dogs in. When we were younger and crazier, we took cats (perfect cats) into places secretly.

Dog people are often cleaner, more considerate guests but I recently had someone who let their tiny dog chew on the door and it did damage.

I’m writing this from an AirBnB house that allows dogs and has a great set up for them. We paid a $75 pet fee. I don’t charge a pet fee but that’s another reason to allow dogs.

As far as lost dogs, we too live in an area with predators. Hubby helped a guest catch their runaway dog once. We do not provide a fenced in yard in part because I’m afraid dogs will be left outside all day.

Dogs are property in the USA. You might have to pay a vet bill if you did something negligent but rescue dogs for example basically have no monetary worth. People with expensive purebreds you do not have to worry about, at all.

What you actually should worry about in my view is building codes. Are your cabins compliant with current building codes? Things like fire escape windows in the bedroom (depending on floor plan), smoke detectors, CO detectors? My municipality inspects and licenses STRs and required these things.

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I wouldn’t, but it’s up to you, especially if guests will always go out with their dog on a leash.

We have never allowed pets. We used to have greyhounds that didn’t have much experience with other dogs (and none with children), so that was a safety concern.

Now we have refurnished our living room and family room, with all new furniture and expensive rugs (we home-share). We no longer book through Airbnb—we just book direct with people we know. Because we don’t want children or pets here, that’s one of our rules.

Also, we have an indoor pool that would be a danger to children or pets.

And finally, even though we have a five-foot fence around the back yard, foxes, coyotes, and hawks come into our back yard. Small pets would be in danger.

Anyway, all I’m really saying is that having no pets or children here has been our choice all along, even when we were booking on Airbnb. We never had a problem with that.

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I’ve gone back and forth about pets as well, and am still sticking with no pets. Extra hair, possible extra mess and possible scratches on my 100 year old hardwood floors from pets that aren’t well-mannered. When I purchased the building I had them replace a door that had been completely scratched up by a big dog, obviously left alone. I know I’d get more reservations if I allowed dogs, but for me, my test is, “How much money would it take to get me to pick up dog poop out of the yard?” I haven’t reached that threshold yet.

I’ve had one ESA, which I met and he was well-behaved. But like kids, dogs leave extra mess. For that guy, it was more of an issue that he arrived in a semi cab and parked on the residential street. So I now have a rule about no commercial vehicles.

This is maybe a compromise: we DO allow pets but they have to get permission first. I ask them about their dog(s), etc. All my guests with pets have messaged me before booking - even with instant booking. (They all say they have wonderful, well-behaved dogs. LOL)
We do not charge a fee, had no damage, and no runaways. We live on a farm so I understand your concerns! Don’t jinx me! Ha!
Every place and situation is different. I am VERY confident that we have gotten more bookings because of our pet policy (no cats). We are not in a high-rent area but we are close enough to the interstate (overnighters) that people will travel in a bit to get to us, passing several hotels. I think it’s the pet policy. And people who stay longer for R&R are grateful for one less expense and worry at home. Just my opinion.

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Me too–guests have told me specifically they booked us so they could bring their dogs. I forgot to mention this.

In my location a lot of hotels are not pet friendly. If pretty much all the hotels in your town are dog friendly, and there are towns like that in the USA, then that would be a factor.

Homewood Suites just went 100% pet friendly in January:

Don’t forget that not allowing dogs is a plus to many people. So it may be 6 of one and half dozen of another.

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I love having dogs, it was pretty hard during various lockdowns when my own dear girl passed and there were no guest dogs either. I have no problem with them provided you

  1. accept there will added dirt and hair
  2. allow dogs inside and make it very clear if you don’t
  3. have fences around your property and within areas you don’t want dogs getting into or mixing with your animals. Be prepared for people to ask about this especially if gates are shutable and how high the fence is, in case theirs is an escape artist.

I don’t know about liability but I would be very clear about all hazards and where dogs can and cannot be exercised off lead. Good luck. I love meeting guests dogs as does my own 10yo Mini Foxy Spike but he is kept behind a gate until ready for a supervised meet’n’greet.

I’ve allowed pets from the beginning. Other than having to spend a bit of time vacuuming the couch if they shed it’s no extra work. I did get a large crate that I offer to guests but don’t force on them. The only real issue we have with them is when the owners leave w/o the dog and it howls and barks or whimpers for the first hour - we live upstairs so we have to listen to it. This was the most recent dog we had here this week.


First thoughts on seeing that photo……is that dog being loved or being tortured….


great points all, I appreciate it. I’m still deciding… I thought about making a little kennel/dog park thing but decided against it as then if something happened in that kennel I’d definitely have a liability issue. I LOT of dog damage could be very expensive to repair especially given abb’s seeming policy of wanting outside contractors to do the work…. I frankly don’t want to, but not 100% against it.

I’ve allowed pets since I started STR in a 1 bedroom apartment in DC about 3 years ago. I charge a $25 pet fee to cover for hypoallergenic soaps and extra vacuuming, and the only problem is when a dog experiences separation anxiety and howls and barks for hours. I message the guests and let them know, and they then usually take the dog with them when they go out. I also have a small backyard with an urban garden and tell guests they can let their dog free out back but need to be there with the dog so it doesn’t start digging, and to clean up afterwards. Otherwise, no problems with allowing pets.


this is especially unfair to those of us on farms who own our own tools and are generally capable of fixing most things on our own - cos we have to be!

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We have two rentals. One is 3 bedroom, has a pool in an screen enclosure, and is on a golf course. One is 2 bedroom, fenced, and a short walk to walking paths and a town square.

We don’t allow pets at the larger rental. A dog could tear up the outdoor space fairly easily. And a dog out on the golf course would get us, as owners, in trouble.

We allow pets in the smaller rental. The yard is pretty indestructible and the walking opportunities are much more dog friendly.