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It’s never fun traveling alone. According to Airbnb, 53% of all travelers with pets feel that way too and travel along with their furry friends in tow. However, less than 3% of Airbnb listings in any given location actually allow for pets to stay with their owners. At first sight, it’s understandable why Airbnb hosts might feel a little uncomfortable having Fido’s paws over their $4000 Eames Lounge chairs. Yet, on the other hand, if the aim is to be as welcoming as possible, you would expect more hosts to be accommodating to their guest’s pet needs. We decided to help out by listing some travel pet etiquette tips to stick to when staying at a place with your pets.
Do your research beforehand
Even if places list themselves as dog-friendly, it still helps to ask the host if it’s ok to bring your pet in for the duration of your stay. Inner-city apartments tend to be less partial to allowing animals in their property. Places that are more dog-friendly tend to be more open spaces like camping spots, wineries and rural private cottages (without other dogs) but even in these cases, it’s always best to be open about what creatures you may be traveling with.
In one instance in the US, a guest’s daughter tried to smuggle in two dogs without the owner’s knowledge. “One jumped up and with its front paws almost pushed me down the front steps.” the owner wrote, “The girl had to restrain the one dog while the second was hurling itself from one sofa to the other across the living room wooden table. I immediately saw the scratches on the coffee table. I was pissed off… I asked the girl, “What are these dogs doing in my home?… She responded, “Oh, these are my dogs, your listing says ‘pet-friendly.’ What’s the problem?”
This may even apply to guests that turn up with their service dogs. A common complaint that crops up among guests is about how service dogs are often not allowed in private homes. It’s still a legal gray area whether rejecting guests with dogs that assist them in their daily lives amounts to discrimination (on grounds of disability) as many hosts can choose who gets to stay in their house. A man’s home is his castle and many hosts treat their properties that way too. In addition, some hosts may also object to animals in the house on religious grounds or due to any allergies that they or their family may suffer from.
Know which properties allow pets
Many hostels (like the YHA) are beginning to offer pet-friendly private-rooms for guests bringing in pets. Given the shared-space nature of hostels, many hostel-owners were reluctant to cuddle up to the idea. As one Australian commented on a forum for hostels: “My inner child would LOVE to allow dogs but, other than the fact that it is against the health code here, legally I feel like it would be too much of a hassle.”
Hotels are also becoming wiser to the trend of bringing dogs to stay while traveling. Many hotel chains have also decided to go pet-friendly, including Best Western, La Quinta, Four Seasons, Kimpton Hotels, Hotel Indigo, and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. As always, it pays to do your research and ask if Lassie can enjoy room service too.
Keep your pets in tip-top shape
This almost goes without saying. If your pooch turns up looking worse than the dog’s breakfast then you have only yourself to blame when your host lowers your perfect 5-star rating on Airbnb. As a rule, keep them washed and tick-free. Oh, and make sure they’re 100 percent poddy trained. As one Airbnb owner once ranted: “Someone correct me if I’m wrong – but when a place is pet friendly, does that equate to “please bring your canine friend, and make sure it isn’t house trained, and kindly have it wee and defecate anywhere on the carpet it pleases, as many times as possible, so that everyone who comes after will know it was here”?”
You break it, you buy it
Any damage that your over-enthusiastic mutt may have incurred is, of course, your responsibility When in doubt, be courteous to your host – they’ve just shared their home with you and your little munchkin on good faith. In saying this, some hosts you just can’t please as their list of pet peeves when it comes to animals in their house is infinite. As a guest noted, their host “complained about the dog’s barking, her relationship with her next-door neighbor, that the dog poop smell was coming into the bedroom. It is not my fault that she has broken decking on the ground in her backyard. How do you clean poop residue from that? Dog show people are notoriously good at cleaning up after our dogs.”