How To Make Your Vacation Rental Pet-Friendly: The Ultimate Pet Proofing Guide

A 12min read about why and how to make your vacation rental pet-friendly. This is the ultimate guide to making your vacation rental dog & pet proof.

Why make your vacation rental pet-friendly?

The statistics

Let’s dive into statistics. It’s widely known making your vacation rental pet-friendly will increase bookings. Why?

According to research conducted by the American Pet Products Association, PMFA & ASPCA:

  • 68% of U.S households have at least one pet
  • 37% – 47% of U.S households own at least one dog
  • 46% of U.K households have at least one pet
  • 24% of U.K households own a dog at least one dog

Additionally, FIREPAW conducted a study which found pet-friendly rentals have the ability to make 20% – 30% more income than vacation rentals that don’t allow pets.

They also found pet owners are willing to pay higher damage deposits for their pets.

The struggles of pet owners

Pet travel is genuinely a real problem for guests because:

  • Nobody likes leaving their pet, especially at kennels
  • Leaving pets behind is expensive (dog care / kennel costs)
  • Travelling with pets is stressful for your dog & you
  • Going abroad is a logistical nightmare (flights, paperwork, vets, injections, tablets, doggy passports etc)
  • There are limited options for pet-friendly accommodation
  • Packing for your pet can ‘weigh you down’

The reason pet owners & dog owners are willing to pay more for dog-friendly & pet-friendly vacation rentals is because travelling with your pet is extremely hard.

By providing a pet-friendly vacation rental, you’re solving half their problems.

Are more bookings worth the stress of making a vacation rental pet-friendly?

In short, yes, providing the vacation rental has been pet-proofed.

Untrained dogs & cats have the potential to ruin your furniture, stain your carpets and leave total destruction even the damage deposit doesn’t cover.

So it’s important to pet-proof your property.

If you’re unwilling to accept all pets, I highly suggest you focus on dogs.

It’s only worth accepting pets if the stress & cost doesn’t outweigh the increased income.

Below I share some ideas about how to make your vacation rental truly pet-friendly & pet-proof.

How to make your vacation rental pet-proof

1. Create rules & clear instructions to guests

Before any guest stays, it’s important to clearly set out & notify them of your pet rules. You may think picking up poo is obvious to guests. It’s not.

Make rules, notify travellers & guests and frame them in your property.

A great way to subliminally enforce rules is to provide the correct equipment at the correct moment, leaving guests with no excuse. I’ll talk more about this in the points below.

2. Use pet-friendly flooring

The ideal pet-friendly flooring is scratch-resistant & stain proof that’s comfortable and looks good.

Great options are:

  • Vinyl flooring
  • Cork flooring
  • Linoleum flooring
  • Bamboo flooring
  • Tile & stone flooring
  • Laminate flooring
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Polypropylene carpet (stain proof)
  • Berber carpet (good for long haired dogs)

Solid floors can appear plain, so why not add rugs? Rugs are great ways to improve design & comfort because they’re easily washed or disposed of if something does go wrong.

3. Use child gates to set boundaries

Another great way to “pet-proof” your vacation rental is to set boundaries. Some areas of your home may contain valuable items which are off limits to pets.

Guests often ignore rules like, “Don’t let your dog in the bedroom”. By providing child gates, it’s easier for the guest to follow your rules.

4. Don’t buy blinds & go for cheap curtains

Talking with owners & guests, one of the most damaged items is blinds, shutters or curtains. They’re constantly being chewed by dogs or scratched by cats.

Covering your windows are essential for privacy, so the best option is to avoid blinds and go for cheap curtains. So make sure your damage deposit covers them!

5. Place expensive decorations out of reach

Obvious but important… keep your vacation rental minimal around the floor because that’s where most pets spend their time. Meticulously scan your property and it’s decorations. Make sure they’re out of reach for even big dogs.

Also, avoid flimsy items that smash easily.

6. Invest in pet-friendly sofa strategy

Sofas are usually a boundary guests ignore because either their pets are allowed on sofas or they’re untrained.

The best defence is a pet-friendly sofa strategy:

  • Provide dog covers
  • Use fabric protection to protect against stains (example)
  • If you’re using leather use soft grain & avoid aniline leather – antique is a good middle ground
  • Use pet-friendly fabrics like heavy & tightly woven cloth. Also, avoid plain fabrics because they tend to show marks. Patterns or bright colours are best because they good at concealing marks.
  • Consider using fabric loose covers because they have the obvious advantage of being washed if damaged

7. Go above & beyond for pet supplies

It’s hard for guests to bring all the necessary gear it takes to look after a pet. By providing all the tools, guests & pets are happy which translates into less mess & destruction!

Make your vacation rental pet-friendly with these ideas:

  • Framed pet rules
  • Labelled cabinet to hold supplies mentioned below
  • Dog / cat bowls for food & water
  • Dog towels (avoid muddy feet)
  • Poo bags
  • Leads
  • Dog & cat food
  • Dog biscuits
  • Bedding
  • Doormats & sofa covers
  • Build dens and pens for pets to feel safe (under the staircase etc)
  • Provide an area & hose to wash down pets outside
  • Pet food recipes & ingredients (quirky and useful)

8. Include plenty of pet toys & distractions

Travelling pets are likely to be on-edge. Because guests inevitably leave pets to their own devices, they’re anxious and are more likely to cause anarchy.

It’s a great idea to include plenty of distractions because it also stops dogs chewing on your furniture.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Dog & cat toys
  • Scratching posts
  • Variety of treats
  • Bones

Tip: In your pet rules, encourage guests to leave the bones you provide to their dogs if they leave the house.

9. Lock away cleaning products & tidy cables away

It’s common to have low-lying cleaning cabinets and electronic cables in your home. These are dangerous and interesting items for pets. Therefore, it’s important to keep your low-lying cabinets locked and cables tied away.

10. Use wood sparingly

Wood looks beautiful but it’s also extremely “chewable”. Chairs and bed posts are common for dogs to either scratch or chew. Either warden off areas with lots of wood furniture, provide distractions, remove it or accept it may get damaged.

11. Increase your damage deposit & include a “pet fee”

As mentioned earlier, guests are willing to pay more for a pet-friendly vacation rental.

Pets will cause more damage than regular guests, so it’s important to cover your costs!

Create a different damage deposit that’s only applicable for guests with pets. We’ve also seen owners adding “pet fees” to cover other costs like pets supplies, food, extra linen, beds etc.

12. Consider using deodorizers or scented candles for smells

It’s likely that pets may leave a smell behind which isn’t good for making your vacation rental pet-friendly. Deodorizers are a great way to remove or mask smells.

Alternatively, providing guests with scented sticks or candles may help the property to remain smelling lovely.

13. Use noise monitoring apps to keep tabs on barking

Another common barrier to making your vacation rental pet-friendly is preventing loud noises, especially if you have nearby neighbours.

Dogs are usually the culprit. It may be handy to monitor your vacation rental for loud noises to alert your guests if their dog is barking.

Monitoring your rental for noises also stops guests partying! A great solution is Noise Aware:

14. Provide local information taking pets outdoors

We all know how irritable dogs can be if they’re not walked. Guests may leave dogs on holiday because they don’t know the local area and where’s best to take pets.

Also, if travellers are coming from abroad, they’ll need to know where the local vet is.

Therefore provide information about:

  • Local walks & dog-friendly parks
  • Dog-friendly beaches
  • Local vets (address, phone number)
  • Taxis that accept pets (phone number)

15. Take steps to relax & calm pets

Relaxed and calm pets are less likely to cause mayhem and believe it or not, there are steps YOU as an owner can take to calm guests pets.

A company called Pet Remedy have a suit of natural products that are scientifically proven to calm pets using valerian root extract. You can even buy an atomizer to constantly release the herb extract.

Other options include playing music to calm pets, especially if the pets are scared of fireworks or storms.

Dogs & cats hear differently to humans and actually have a preference to what music they’d prefer. Here’s a YouTube playlist specifically created for dogs.

Have playlists, speakers and videos lined up for your guests to play.


Again, the first step to making your vacation rental pet-friendly is having strict guidelines for guests and a clear rental agreement that stipulates the terms of various outcomes.

The second step is making your guest aware of your rules.

Then by applying some of the other steps mentioned above, there’s no reason why you can’t take full advantage of this amazing opportunity and maximise your income by making your vacation rental pet-friendly.