Allowing Pets in Your Vacation Rental — Yes or No?

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Should I allow pets in my vacation rental? Honest answer: it all depends. Deciding whether to make your short-term rental pet friendly isn’t always black and white. Would your pet-friendly property attract more guests? Would you earn more revenue by permitting pets? Would your pet-friendly vacation rental be at a higher risk for property damage? Some answers may surprise you…

There are many things to consider before allowing pets in rental properties, so Florida CFY — an experienced Florida property management company — has put together this mini-guide to help vacation rental homeowners like you make a well-informed decision. Feel free to jump to pros and cons, pet-friendly rental tips, a heart-to-heart chat on service animals, or expert help in the vacation rental industry. 

Pros of Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals 

Wider Guest Pool
According to the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, around 90.5 million American families reported having at least 1 pet — that’s 70% of U.S. households! Nearly 30% of those pet owners are thought to travel with their pets, so it’s safe to say that inviting pets into your vacation rental grants you access to a much wider guest pool to fill your calendar. 

Pet-friendly short-term rentals are always in high demand in every market. Millennials are spending more cash on pampering and taking better care of their pet family members than any generation before them! Even our own Vacation Specialists help people find the perfect vacation rental that allows pets daily. And you can’t go wrong with being more inclusive! 

If you want to open up a whole new market for your vacation home investment, going pet friendly may be for you. 

Paw-sitive Reviews
Pet parents love helping fellow pet moms and dads find the best tools, trainers, vets, diets, etc., and pet-friendly places to stay is no exception! If your vacation rental allows pets and offers a fantastic experience for pet owners, you can be sure they’ll spread the word — online and by word of mouth. 

Great reviews and happy stories always help boost your property’s market appeal and occupancy rates, so catering to a group that’s more likely to share their experience with others is a smart move. 

Loyal Guests
Sadly (yet to your benefit), many pet-friendly vacation rentals undervalue their guests with poor furnishings and less attention to detail, so rental hosts who offer a nice place for pets and pet parents can bank on repeat stays. Once a traveling pet owner finds a quality pet-friendly place to stay on vacation, it’s almost a guarantee they’ll return. 

Increased Revenue
Allowing pets in your vacation rental property means you can set a decent pet fee or pet deposit to account for additional wear and tear on top of your guest count. As long as it’s within reason for the market, pet owners are happy to pay a little extra for their fur babies to come on vacation with them. After all, it can become quite expensive to board dogs, cats, or other pets at a facility. Even paying for a sitter at home can really stack up…

Not sure how much to charge for pets? Florida CFY handles the pet fee for you — with reasonable and profitable pricing!

Cons of Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals 

Property Damage & Why It’s Not a Major Concern
Okay, let’s dive straight into what may be your worst fear when switching to pet friendly — property damage from pets. Slobber, nails, claws, droppings, accidents, chewing, biting, gnawing, upset tummies…you name it, we’ve dealt with it. But compared to property damage from parties and people in general, we can tell you with great certainty that property damage from pets is, for the most part, of little concern. 

Not to mention, pets who travel with their pet parents are considerably less likely to cause property damage. Why? Well, would you want to travel with an unruly, bitey, misbehaving dog? We thought not. And it’s the same for travelers with pets; their pets are often well-trained, housebroken, and well-behaved. People want to enjoy their vacations, not spend all their time monitoring and correcting “the kids.” 

Noise — Bark, Meow, Howl
If in excess, pet noise can really upset neighbors and cause issues within HOAs. However, if your property has plenty of space inside and outside, this isn’t something to really worry about. Now, if your rental home is a townhouse, a condo, or even a shotgun house with a tight alleyway, this is something to seriously consider. 

Common Allergens
Despite between-stay and seasonal deep cleans, pet dander can linger at your pet-friendly rental. Most guests won’t even notice, but guests with severe pet allergies could present potential issues. Of course, if you’re heavily involved in the upkeep and maintenance of your property and also suffer from severe pet allergies, this can be hazardous to your health without proper precautions. If this is the case, you may want to schedule stricter cleaning routines or forgo marketing your property as pet friendly altogether.

To help offset pet hair and dander build-up, Florida CFY cleans furniture and carpets free of charge for our partnered pet-friendly vacation rental owners! We also offer routine pest control services with our Florida CFY Advantage Plan, so you don’t have to lift a finger.

Pesky Pests
It’s equally important to note that pets can bring fleas and other unwanted pests into the home. Please be aware that people traveling and exploring the great outdoors can also bring pests and even fleas into your vacation home, so it’s not entirely a pet-centric issue. And do consider the fact that most pet parents will have their pet on some form of flea and tick preventative, most especially when traveling.

Possible Deterrant — Guests Without Pets
While not usually a tipping factor, it is worth mentioning that some guests who do not have or like pets may choose not to stay at your property because it is pet friendly. Most guests in this category often suffer from severe allergies or another medical condition that demands they steer clear, which is entirely understandable. It’s not an issue we’ve personally experienced more than a handful of times over the decades. 

7 Tips When Allowing Pets at Your Vacation Rental

1. Restrict the Number of Pets + Pet Size
We recommend maxing the number of pets allowed at your vacation rental to 2 — at 75 pounds each. Do note in your property description if you only want dogs at your property as well because being pet-friendly refers to all pets within the limits you set, including cats, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, etc. We do not recommend breed restrictions as this is very limiting and can often deter dog owners of any kind from staying at your vacation home. 

2. Create a Detailed Pet Policy
Writing up a detailed pet policy for your pet-friendly vacation rental is paramount! Include clear house rules, like keeping pets off furniture, not allowing them in the swimming pool, and picking up any pet waste in the yard. Your pet policy should also outline how potential damages are handled and any extra cleaning fees or fees associated with pet issues.

Not sure where to start on your pet policy? With Florida CFY, we take care of the legally binding fine print for you!

3. Consider Home Improvements
Help your guests help your pet-friendly short-term rental by outfitting your rental home with removable pet gates, washable furniture covers and rugs, and durable flooring (hardwood, vinyl, tile, stone, etc.). Avoid carpet if possible to alleviate cleaning costs and keep down dander build-up. Block off areas you don’t want pets to enter. And think about using easily replaceable, yet good quality, items throughout the home. 

4. Provide Pet Extras
You know what makes a pet-friendly rental even more attractive? Bonus pet items, like chew toys, beds, and bowls. Florida CFY provides a bowl and waste bags for your guests with furry friends at no additional cost, which helps pet parents remember to use pet-designated dishes and clean up after their pets use nature’s bathroom. 

Pet-friendly amenities are always appreciated by pet guests as well — including fenced-in yards, dog-friendly wash areas, and designated play areas. 

5. Schedule Additional Inspections
Offering a pet-friendly rental property means keeping up with housekeeping even more than usual — and property inspections. Inspecting your property regularly for chewed spots, missed accidents, and scratches will help prevent issues and fix any that pop up before your next guests arrive. 

Need professional property inspectors ASAP? Reach out to Florida CFY at 1.800.295.0971. Our partnered owners get nothing but the best!

6. Add Pet Liability Coverage
Check your current insurance policy and ensure the pet liability doesn’t limit or exclude pet species or specific breeds. Not covered? Contact a trusted insurance professional to help get things in order. The last you want is to get sued…but it’s important to be prepared.

7. Give It a Test Run! 
Our biggest tip when switching your rental property to pet friendly? Don’t commit! At the end of the day, this is your financial investment, your vacation home, and your revenue stream. If you permit pets in your vacation rental property only to realize you made a mistake, change the rules. Keep all current pet-friendly reservations of course, but don’t feel like you’re obligated to allow pets forever. 

Just give it a shot! You may love or loathe having a pet-friendly vacation rental — every property owner and situation are different. And that’s something to chew on! 

Service Animals at Vacation Rentals

By law, you must allow service animals in your vacation rental, even if it’s not pet friendly. Yes, this most definitely includes emotional support animals. And while it may not be something you’re happy with, it is essential to be inclusive in the vacation rental industry. 

Folks with service animals can have difficulty finding comfortable accommodations, with some homeowners getting around ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) via technicalities. We highly recommend being welcoming to those with disabilities and their well-trained, well-behaved service animals. 

100% Allowed — No Added Cost
At Florida CFY, we allow service animals and emotional support animals into 100% of the vacation rentals on our program — without an added cost. 

Severe Pet Allergies
Please note we will inform potential guests if a homeowner or a member of their family who may visit the property suffers from severe pet allergies. In these rare cases, we can encourage guests with service animals to book another property at comparable quality and rates. While it’s no guarantee, most people are kind and accommodating. Just be open and upfront with us!

Florida CFY — Experts on Pet-Friendly Rentals

Need assistance setting up your pet-friendly vacation rental? Have more questions or concerns before making a final decision? Let us help. Florida CFY is committed to offering top-quality service and advice for our partnered property owners. We take care of everything for you — including housekeeping, deep cleans, inspections, maintenance, pet extras, 24/7 guest care, review management, and marketing. Reach out for a free rental estimate today!