Complete Guide to Bringing Your Dog or Other Pet to an Airbnb

It is easier than ever for guests to find and book a pet-friendly Airbnb short-term or vacation rental.  While many major accommodation booking sites have strict pet policies, Airbnb is generally a more flexible service. Travelers, digital nomads, and remote workers who want to bring their pets can easily do so with Airbnb.

Airbnb hosts are beginning to recognize that pet-friendly rentals attract more guests and are booked sooner than rentals that don’t allow pets.  Additionally, the growing population of remote workers and digital nomads is choosing to bring along furry family members when traveling, increasing the demand for pet-friendly listings. 

Before booking an Airbnb for you and your pet there are a few things you should know.  In this guide, I’ll discuss and share: 

  • Airbnb’s pet policy (including fees, assistance animals, emotional support animals, and policy violations)
  • What to look for in pet-friendly listings and how to find and book the best pet-friendly listings on Airbnb
  • What to do if you find the perfect Airbnb but it doesn’t say that dogs are allowed
  • What to do if you want to bring an animal other than a dog
  • And a few other must-know tips when staying at an Airbnb with your dog 

Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for general information purposes only. It is not meant to represent legal, financial, medical, or other professional advice. Deskless Nomad makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete, or up to date. Please see the full Deskless Nomad Disclaimer

What is Airbnb’s pet policy?

Many but not all airbnbs are pet friendly.  Each Airbnb host decides whether or not to allow pets in their rental.  Unfortunately, some hosts don’t think it is worth the hassle or extra cleaning effort.  Or hosts may choose not to allow dogs and other pets to keep the rental allergen-free.    

What hosts may not realize is that pet-friendly Airbnbs get booked faster.  “Pets allowed” is one of the top 10 amenities guests search for, making it a valuable feature of any Airbnb listing.

If you are planning to bring your dog on your trip you will want to start looking for your Airbnb early since pet-friendly listings get filled quickly.  Early booking is especially important if you need to find a pet-friendly Airbnb available for a month or more.

Each host will also set their own house rules about pets.  You can find these listed under “House Rules.”  Hosts may limit the number or types of pets and restrict whether it’s ok to leave a pet unattended in the rental.  No matter the rules, it is a good idea to plan to pick up any dog poop in the yard, clean any dirty paw prints, and try to keep dogs off of fabric-covered furniture.

What is the Airbnb pet fee?  Do Airbnb hosts charge extra for dogs?

Airbnb hosts can and often do charge pet fees.  It is rare to find a host that won’t charge extra for a pet.  If you find one, make sure to leave them a great review to keep encouraging this generosity.  

Just like Airbnb cleaning fees, there is no standard pet fee so the amount will vary from listing to listing.   Pet fees cover the extra cleaning hosts would expect to do after hosting pets, such as vacuuming fur and wiping down nose or paw prints.   

When you indicate you are bringing a dog (as above) the pet fee is automatically added to the nightly price and spread out over the length of the stay.  The pet fee is included in the total price and not charged as a separate fee.  If you want to know how much the host is charging for the pet fee you will have to figure out what the rental would cost both with and without a pet.  You then have to subtract the total price without the pet fee from the total price with the pet fee.  

How to determine the pet fee: Subtract the total cost without a pet from the total price with a pet

Including the pet fee in the nightly rate was a recent update to Airbnb’s platform in 2022 and some hosts haven’t edited their listing descriptions yet.  Listings may still state there is an additional pet fee that must be paid separately after you complete your booking.   If you find this detail in the listing make sure to reach out to the host to clarify how the pet fee will be paid.

Pet and cleaning fees can quickly make Airbnb unaffordable.  Learn more about how to ask an Airbnb host for a discount and other tips and tricks for saving money on Airbnb.

Can hosts charge a pet security deposit? 

Hosts generally aren’t allowed to charge guests a pet security deposit or request a deposit outside the platform (like in cash upon arrival).  As of the update in May of 2022, Airbnb now informs guests that their credit card may be charged after the stay if there are damages.

If a host asks you to give them a cash deposit upon arrival, contact the Airbnb resolution center as this could be an Airbnb scam.  One of the many ways to avoid Airbnb scams is to never pay a host outside of the Airbnb App.  If you pay outside the Airbnb app you will have no recourse to file a complaint and get your money back if something goes wrong.     

How do you find an Airbnb that allows pets?  Where is the Airbnb “pets allowed” filter?

Bringing your pet to an Airbnb is easy.  In 2022, Airbnb made changes to how you search for pet-friendly Airbnb listings.  Pet fees are now automatically added to the nightly price when you indicate you are bringing a pet.

  1. On a desktop, enter your destination in “Where? Search Destinations” (see below)
  2. Click on “Who” to enter the number of guests and pets you will be bringing.  
How to filter for pet-friendly Airbnb rentals on a desktop

On the app, add your pet under “Where to? Add Guests?” (see below). This filters for listings that allow pets and automatically add the pet fee to the nightly fee.

How to filter for pet friendly Airbnb on the Airbnb app

You can also check to see if a listing allows pets under the “Things to Know” section. Click on the “Show more” link under “House Rules” to see if pets are allowed.

Check if a listing allows pets in the “House Rules” section

 Once you have found your preferred pet-friendly Airbnb, check the house rules for any breed or size restrictions, if you can leave pets unattended in the rental, if there are other animals on the property, and any other details the host has shared.

Even if a listing says pets are allowed, it is still a good idea to contact the host and tell them about the pet(s) you plan to bring.  Ask about any additional house rules that may apply (like size or breed restrictions).

What if the Airbnb you want doesn’t allow dogs? Can an Airbnb host refuse to allow pets? 

Airbnb hosts can refuse to allow pets (except in the case of service animals as discussed below).

Even if a listing does not state pets are allowed you can still try messaging a host to see if they’ll make an exception. 

How to contact a host to ask if they will allow a pet

If the host agrees to allow a pet, they can submit a request for a pet fee.  Make sure to read the house rules before you ask since the host may explicitly state that pets are not allowed or that such requests will be automatically denied.  

If you plan to book an Airbnb long-term you may have more luck asking for permission to bring your pet compared to single-night rentals since long stays provide more income for the hosts with less work.

If you plan to ask a host about bringing your dog, consider including the following information in your request:

  • Any good reviews from previous stays when you brought your dog (learn how to build up good reviews below)
  • Any training or good behavior certificates your dog may have
  • Your dog’s breed and size details
  • If you are bringing a dog crate to secure your dog when you are not there
  • What your activities will be during the day and if you anticipate leaving the dog unattended at the rental (the host is more likely to agree if you keep the dog with you at all times)
  • A photo of you with your dog

How can you build up good reviews from hosts for your dog?

Good reviews from previous hosts increase your chance of getting permission to bring your dog to pet-friendly listings as well as listings that don’t normally allow dogs.

To build up good reviews from Airbnb hosts for your stays:

  • Keep your dog from barking and disturbing the neighbors
  • Keep your dog from causing any damage or leaving urine stains
  • Pick up the dog poop in the yard
  • Consider vacuuming excessive dog hair
  • Communicate honestly with your host if your dog will be left unattended in the house

What is Airbnb’s policy for service animals?

Airbnb does not treat service animals like pets.  Service animals are dogs or miniature horses trained to perform tasks for someone with disabilities.  

Regardless of their general pet policy, hosts must allow a service animal to accompany its owner and they can’t charge a pet fee for service animals.  Guests do not need to disclose they are bringing a service animal before booking.  Hosts can’t refuse a reservation because of a service animal, charge pet fees, use discriminatory language, or hold the guest to different rules.

Hosts can only ask specific questions about service animals: whether the guest requires their service animal because of a disability and what tasks the service animal is trained to perform.

A host may be granted an exception and not allow service animals only if the service animal directly threatens the host’s health (i.e. the host has a severe allergy).

If you bring your service animal, the animal must be housebroken, kept on a leash in public spaces, kept under control, and cannot be left alone at the listing without prior approval.

What is Airbnb’s policy for emotional support animals (ESA)?

Airbnb’s accessibility policy defines emotional support animals (ESA) as animals that provide therapeutic effects and/or comfort to individuals.

Unlike service animals, hosts can charge a fee for emotional support animals just as they would for regular pets (except in California and New York).  Hosts are also allowed to decline reservations if a guest wants to bring a support animal.  

In California and New York, emotional support animals must be treated under the same rules as service animals which means hosts can’t charge fees, decline a guest, or apply different rules. 

What should you look for in pet-friendly listings?  What are some important things to consider when staying at an Airbnb with your dog?

Stellar Airbnb hosts may detail in their listings that they supply pet amenities like:

  • Bowls for food and water
  • Pet-friendly furniture covers
  • Towel to wipe off paws at the door
  • Scratching post and litter box (if they allow cats)
  • Extra cleaning supplies
  • Dedicated towels for cleaning off dirty paws
  • Dog waste bags provided

Great hosts will include information in their guidebook on: 

  • Local dog parks
  • Pet supply stores
  • Veterinarians and emergency vet hospitals
  • Pet-sitting services
  • Local doggie daycare

I also like to look for these details in the listing (or ask the host about them):

  • A fenced yard or patio
  • A doggie door
  • If there are other animals on the property – both domestic and wild (like deer or coyotes)
  • If they use air fresheners or cleaning products that can be harmful to dogs 
  • If there are nearby parks or trails to walk the dog

How can a guest make an Airbnb less stressful for their pet?

New environments can be stressful for pets.  To make your dog more comfortable bring your dog’s own bed and toys.  Bring sheets to put on the sofa or mattress if that is your dog’s favorite spot and your dog tends to sleep on the furniture.  

Don’t forget other important supplies like poop bags, enzyme cleaner for potty accidents, treats, medications, nail trimmer, traveling water bottle, leash, and first aid kit.

Find out if there will be other animals on the property ahead of time.  You can often find if there are other pets on the property in the “Things to know” section under “Health and safety.”

What are the Airbnb pet rules during the stay?

The individual host of each Airbnb property determines the pet rules during the stay.  Hosts will often list the pet rules under the House Rules section at the bottom of the listing.  

Generally, hosts will want you to keep dogs off of furniture and beds.  If your dog sleeps on your furniture and beds at home, take some sheets to cover the couches in the Airbnb.

Most hosts will also want you to clean up any dog poop from the yard.  This is generally not considered part of the pet fee or cleaning fee.  Leaving piles of dog poop is a sure way to get a bad review for you and your dog.

Some examples of pet rules set by a host may include:

  • Not allowed on the furniture or beds
  • Dog(s) must not be left unattended in the rental
  • Breed, size, or age restrictions (no puppies under 1 year)
  • History of flea or tick medication use, proof of vaccinations
  • Must be spayed/neutered
  • Must be house-trained
  • Only hypoallergenic dogs or non-shedding breeds
  • No disruptive barking
  • Must be on leash outside of rental 
  • The dog owner must pick up dog waste

Can you leave your dog alone in an Airbnb?

When you are on vacation or traveling it is not always convenient to take your dog everywhere with you.  Some states will give you a ticket if you leave your dog alone in a vehicle.  It can be tempting to leave your dog in the Airbnb when you are out doing activities in which taking a dog is not feasible.

Your host has the right to decide if you can leave your dog alone in the rental.  Some hosts will explicitly state in the house rules that you cannot leave your dog alone.  If you need to leave your dog alone you may want to contact the host to let them know your circumstances.   

Consider bringing a kennel in case you need to lock your dog inside to keep him safe and off of the furniture while you are out of the rental.

How do you find an Airbnb that allows cats or other animals?

It is possible to take pets other than dogs to an Airbnb.  I have found some Airbnb hosts that allow horses and cats but it does take some searching.

Start by filtering for properties that allow pets in general.  Airbnb hosts that allow horse boarding usually list this explicitly in the listing.  

You can look at the House Rules to see if a host will allow cats.  Your best option is to message the host to ask.  Hosts are more likely to be reluctant to allow cats since more people are allergic to cats than dogs.

What happens if you sneak pets into an Airbnb?  

Sneaking a pet into an Airbnb in violation of the host’s pet policy can result in additional fees or getting banned from Airbnb.  Always respect your host’s pet policy.

What if a pet causes damage?

If Airbnb hosts find damages they believe you or your pet have caused they will either contact you directly or contact the Resolution Center.  I recommend always involving Resolution Center in any disputes as soon as possible.  Hosts should not be contacting you directly to pay for damages.  If a host tries to request additional payment, contact Airbnb for assistance.

If your pet causes damages, the host has 14 days after checkout to request reimbursement through AirCover.  AirCover for Hosts is Airbnb’s insurance coverage and damage protection program.  If the Resolution Center determines that the guest is responsible for the damages, the guest will have 24 hours to respond before Airbnb charges their credit card.  

How does Airbnb handle complaints about pets? How can you protect yourself from complaints and damage charges?

To protect yourself from extra charges, take photos or a video of the property when you arrive and the way you left it when you depart.  Hosts also have to provide Airbnb with photo or video evidence of damages and estimates or receipts for repairs.  You will want your own evidence to dispute charges.

You may also want to communicate with the host through the app regarding any additional cleaning you did prior to departure just to have a record of it.  The Airbnb Resolution Center will be able to see this communication.  This is one of the many pro tips you should know before booking your next Airbnb.

To help prevent any complaints about your pet and to protect yourself against additional charges:

  • Take photos when you arrive of any preexisting damage
  • Take a video when you leave to document how clean you left the place
  • Pick up all dog poop in the yard
  • Bring sheets to cover couches and beds
  • Clean up any visible paw prints from the floor or nose prints from the windows
  • When you check out, send a message to the host to thank them and mention the additional cleaning you have done like vacuuming hair and cleaning poop from the yard.

Final Thoughts

Airbnb is a great platform for finding pet-friendly accommodation when you are traveling.  By reading the House Rules and communicating with your host both before and during your stay you can ensure the best travel experience for your human and furry family members.

If you liked this article, check out my other popular Airbnb guides:

Jamie Dubois

I am a freelance writer, wanderer, kayaker, rock climber, and adventurer.

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