Pet-Friendly Airbnb Listings: Welcoming Dogs to Your Short-Term Rental (Episode 335)

Pet-Friendly STR? Don’t Miss These Tips for Cleaning, Communication & Couch Covers

Today’s expert guest is Sara Sokol. Sarah is the creator of the Dogs Welcome Facebook group and vacation rental listing website as well as owner/operator of her own very pet-friendly, and award-winning, vacation rental on the coast of Maine. 

She created the Dogs Welcome community as a place to connect dog friendly STR hosts with humans who travel with their dogs as a place to advertise her own property and has watched the community explode with growth over the past year and a half. Its website now features sortable listings to make it even easier for travelers with their pets to find appropriate lodging.

We detail her journey from dog training into dog hosting, reveal her incredible communication style for conveying house rules as they relate to pet behavior, and spend a healthy chunk of time on cleaning recommendations, pet fees, and the all-important couch covers. 

If there’s one thing we know about people, it’s that they love (and travel) with their furry friends. Opening up your listing to pets is a surefire way to expand your audience and supercharge your bookings – as long as you have the right plans and policies in place to make it work.

10 Tips for Hosting a Pet-Friendly Airbnb

Drop Your Pet Fees: Consider eliminating pet fees to truly welcome pets as guests without additional charges.

Provide a Variety of Pet Amenities in Your Rental: Offer dog beds, bowls, toys, waste bags, and other pet-friendly amenities to make pets and their guests feel at home.

Allow Pets on Furniture: Encourage guests to feel comfortable allowing their pets on furniture by providing covers for sofas and beds.

Offer Outdoor Amenities: Include outdoor amenities like dog agility equipment or fenced areas for pets to enjoy.

Give Pet Gifts: Provide a welcome gift for pets, such as a personalized cookie or treat.

Communicate Pet Rules: Clearly communicate any rules regarding pets, such as keeping them on a leash or not leaving them unattended outside.

Prepare for Emergencies: Have a de-skunk kit and emergency vet clinic numbers available in case of unexpected incidents.

Promote Your Listing: Join pet-friendly groups or use specific hashtags to attract guests traveling with pets.

Seek Feedback: Ask for feedback from guests with pets to continually improve your pet-friendly offerings. What else could you provide to make your property a premier pet-friendly rental?

Create a Welcoming Environment: Most importantly, ensure your property and its amenities create a welcoming and comfortable environment for both pets and their owners.

Episode Timestamps

(00:01:24) #STRShareSunday: @hillsideamble

  • High-end aesthetic across a series of three cabins
  • Secret doors to kid-friendly rooms
  • Leaning into check-in “wow” factor

(00:05:06) Sarah Sokol: Pet Vacation Expert

  • Moving from dog training into furnished rentals 
  • Local praise for early efforts at her listing
  • Starting the Dogs Welcome Facebook group

(00:08:41) Defining Pet-Friendly vs. Pet Welcoming

  • Creating a new standard for pet as guests 
  • Pet fees or no pet fees?
  • Suggested next-level dog amenities
  • Sara’s favorite things:
  • How many dogs are allowed?

(00:16:37) Being a Good Neighbor as a Pet-Friendly STR

  • Building policies to protect the community 
  • Why some locations work better than others
  • Keepings pets safe from wildlife 
  • Value of a fenced in space for travelers

(00:22:18) Managing Damage & Special Cleanings

  • Unpacking the psychology of a pet fee
  • Residual benefit of making guests feel special
  • 75% return guest rate
  • 85% direct booking rate 
  • Communicating pet rules 
  • Suggested couch covers 
  • Top cleaning tips for pet-friendly STRs

(00:41:37) Dogs Welcome Facebook Group

Download a transcript of this episode.

Additional Resources and Tips for Accepting Pets in Your Airbnb



Hillside Amble is a collection of gorgeous cabins in Hocking Hills, Ohio. Each cabin is uniquely named after an animal: The Wren, The Bee, and The Goat. These cabins are beautifully designed and curated to be the perfect oasis for guests, equipped with huge windows allowing light to pour in, hot tubs, and gorgeous views of the surrounding landscape. The Bee even totes a “secret” bedroom accessed through a bookcase!

We would love to feature YOU, so don’t forget to use #STRShareSunday to get your chance!

Together, Annette & Sarah are the dynamic duo behind the wildly popular podcast Thanks For Visiting, co-creators of the Hosting Business Mastery Method, & seasoned short-term-rental hosts.

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