How to find an Airbnb or vacation rental that accepts pets

Feel comfortable taking your dog with you with these proven tips for finding and staying in pet-friendly Airbnbs.

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When my family and I have traveled back in time, our dog, a Shih Tzu named Agnes, usually did not come with us when we left our house in Brooklyn: instead of flying to India or the Azores, Agnes vacationed with me in New Jersey Laws (one yard!), Took the subway to my friend’s house in Manhattan (Madison Square Park!), Or stayed at home with my cousin who lived there. roommates and would be happy to post in our apartment and pay more attention to Agnes than she had had from us since our son was born.

Last summer, when I was tentatively ready to leave the pandemic cocoon of my Brooklyn apartment, my husband and I decided to take our son to a vacation home rental in Shelter Island and then a few weeks later. , in an Airbnb in the upper Hudson Valley. . We had taken Agnes with us on Airbnbs several times, but suddenly it felt more urgent: My cousin returned to Portland, my friend camped with her father in Maryland, and New Jersey felt very far away. Plus, we had grown closer than ever to Agnes, and she was used to us being there all the time while we quarantined together. We have therefore restricted our search to “Pets Allowed” and selected our vacation homes with Agnes in mind.

We weren’t the only ones: An Airbnb report from February 2021 found that searches with the ‘allow pets’ filter increased 65% since early January 2021 compared to the same time last year.

Over the past year, in my quest for pet friendly properties, I have learned a few things. Check out the best tips for finding and staying in Airbnbs or pet-friendly vacation rentals.

1. Consider the costs

Most pet-friendly vacation home rentals include a pet fee on top of their regular cleaning fee, so be sure to factor that into your budget. They generally vary between $ 25 and $ 150 per stay. Some rentals may also require a deposit which you will get back if no damage occurs.

2. Be transparent with your host

It can be tempting not to reveal that you are bringing Fido, as you may not be able to see your host during your stay. But it is not a good idea to omit this information in order to get your dog into a rental that does not allow pets or to avoid paying additional charges for pets in a rental that allows them. You may need to contact the owner if something is not working properly in the house, or if you leave your pet alone in the house, they may bark and alert the owner to their presence if the host lives nearby. Also, if they know a pet is coming, some hosts will leave special treats or toys, just like hotels.

3. If your search does not return results, expand it and start sending messages to owners.

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It’s a good place to start your search, but selecting the “Pets Allowed” filter on Airbnb or other vacation rental sites can instantly narrow your prospects. When you can’t find anything that explicitly says it allows pets, consider removing the filter, choosing your dream rental, and contacting the owner to ask if dogs are allowed.

Unless there is a note in the rules or the description categorically stating that no pets are allowed, I have found that many owners agree to make an exception, especially if your pet is small and well trained. I like to play on the fact that Agnes doesn’t lose weight, never chewed on furniture, and basically sleeps most of the day (everything is true). If you have good reviews from previous stays with your pets this will help you too. Offer to pay a pet cleaning fee and a security deposit, as pet-friendly rentals typically require, and you’ll have a decent chance.

4. Look for fenced in yards, dog friendly beaches, or wide open spaces

When looking for your vacation rental, think about your pet’s comfort. If your dog is prone to running away, consider somewhere with a fenced yard – we learned this the hard way when Agnes escaped from the backyard of our Shelter Island rental and I got a call police station on the island that someone reported her (Another tip: make sure your pet has a collar and that they have your up-to-date information.) Shelter Island also has some beaches that allow dogs at specific times, which we all appreciated.

If your rental has a nearby body of water or swimming pool, watch your pet nearby, as you would with a child. “All dogs should be supervised when swimming, and some of our less talented athletes may need a canine life jacket to help them enjoy the water safely,” says Dr. Kate Bruce, veterinarian based in Brisbane, Australia.

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The writer's shih tzu, Agnes, enjoys a family trip to Shelter Island in New York City.

5. Learn about other animals

If your pet doesn’t get along with other pets, be sure to ask your host if there are any living in neighboring properties. Sometimes the owner lives in an adjacent house on the same land with pets, and if it is a farm stay there may be a whole range of other animals nearby.

6. Pack all the materials

Once everything is booked, you’ll also want to make sure the trip is going well for your pet after you check in. While it’s tempting to share what you eat with your dog, Dr. Bruce cautions “be careful about offering unfamiliar foods to your pets. It’s best to take some of their delicious treats home with you and stick to their usual diet to avoid an unpleasant stomach upset while on vacation.

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We love to bring our collapsible dog bowls, which are especially suitable for long car trips or hikes and are also usable once you arrive. If your dog is particular about his bed, be sure to bring it, says Dr Bruce, “and don’t forget to give him something familiar and comforting that smells like home.” Bringing a dog bed also helps keep your pet away from furniture, which some homes may state in their rules. We also like to bring a long retractable leash when we travel to give Agnes room to move around.

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7. Try not to leave your pet alone

When planning your trip, look around for places you can bring your dog. Look for dog-friendly outdoor activities, restaurants, and stores: While your dog may be fine for hours on his own in your home, he may be anxious in a new place. (Even the wisest of pets can howl or be destructive if left alone in unfamiliar surroundings.) It’s probably not a good idea to take your dog on a museum-focused trip, for example. , where he will not be allowed to come with you.

8. Clean up

You’ll always want to clean up after you in a vacation rental, whether or not you have a pet with you, but be especially mindful when your dog has been left with you. Leave the house as close as it was when you arrived and be sure to properly dispose of your dog’s litter left in or around the yard. It also doesn’t hurt to bring a lint roller to brush off any fur left on furniture.

9. If all else fails, consider a hotel

While you may have cared about a pet-friendly Airbnb, keep in mind that many hotels are pet-friendly. I’ve found that more and more hotels are pet-friendly these days, and many are rolling out the red carpet for our furry friends.

Last December we drove from New York to South Carolina and stayed at four hotels plus one vacation rental, and Agnes was cleared to all. (Bonus: Sometimes the hotel pet fees were lower than a vacation home rental, and sometimes there weren’t any at all.)

At Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, SC, she strolled through the expansive green spaces and received a treat from every staff member we encountered, and when we arrived late at night at 21c Durham, two plates of cookies were waiting for us – one for us humans and one for Agnes. On a recent trip to Point in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Agnes was treated almost better than me: a large basket full of toys, treats and other goodies was waiting for her, plus they gave us a adorable little teepee so she can sleep (which she largely ignored).

>> Next: Yes, it is possible to move with your pet

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