How to Be Pet Friendly
Making the decision to be pet-friendly may be a wise one because the majority of travelers heading to country locations have a pet. Usually this is a dog, but guests may want to bring other pets – cats, rabbits, birds – even a pot bellied pig.
Over the past few years enquiries from potential guests who want to bring their pet with them on vacation has increased, as pet ownership rises. In many cases, a negative response to ‘can I bring my dog’, is likely to prompt a reservation in another property that accepts pets, rather than a decision to kennel the dog.
Be clear on your listing what you will accept – for example a size/weight limit or a restriction to only hypo-allergenic breeds. You can also restrict to dogs only.
Accessibility laws differ from province to province and in many cases do not take into account the various needs of individuals with disabilities being supported by service dogs. However, in most instances you must accept service dogs at your vacation rental and not prevent accessibility on grounds that you do not accept pets.
Make Pets Welcome
If you are going to accept pets it’s important not to do it reluctantly. It is better not to permit them at all than have guests feel uncomfortable because of your ‘pet rules’. This doesn’t mean you give them carte blanche to sleep on beds and furniture, but your guidelines (and what you provide) should demonstrate they are as welcome as their pet guardians.
Mostly, guests accept it as a privilege and not a right to bring their pet on vacation and are generally respectful and considerate. They ‘poop scoop’, keep the animal off the furniture and out of the bedrooms, and don’t allow them to run loose.
Of course there are exceptions however rare and most cottage owners understand the risks involved in renting out their property, whether it is with a pet friendly policy or not.
However, making your pet rules clear on your website and in your rental agreements will lessen those risks substantially. Here’s a few suggestions to making your property pet friendly:
- Make it fun. Include a letter to the pet in your Welcome Book that reminds the pet of their responsibilities as a fur guest.
- Supply dog bowls, otherwise you could find your mixing bowls get used.
- Provide a basket of old towels and a dog blanket. Suggest they use the towels to dry wet and muddy feet before allowing the pet indoors.
- Include a dog tag that has your property address and telephone # if there is one.
- Leave a small bag of speciality dog treats as a welcome gift – make an effort to get the natural treats that are sold on farmers markets and in good pet stores. This is a great gesture that will be remembered for a long time.
- Make a list of local vets and their hours of working, in your Welcome Book. Check that they accept emergency patients after hours as not all do. Find the number of your nearest 24 hour emergency vet service and include that too.
- Buy a poop scooper from a pet store along with a supply of plastic bags
- Make it easy for guests to wash their dogs after rolling. They love rolling in bear poo and the smell is ripe! Provide a small hose to attach to an exterior tap.
- Provide a drawing showing the boundary of your property . Neighbour complaints about renter pets wandering onto their property often occur because renters are not sure of the property lines.
- Leave a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, a couple of pairs of latex gloves and a bucket, along with instructions for dealing with a skunk attack – check the recipe below
Skunk spray remedy
Skunk attacks are not uncommon in many areas so having a remedy on hand for your guests to use will be much to your benefit as it is to theirs. Tomato juice or vinegar is not recommended because it only masks the odor–it doesn’t remove the smell. However a mix of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda works really well when used immediately after mixing..
The combination works to break up the oils in the skunk spray, allowing theother ingredients to do their work. Supply these ingredients in your pet box along with instruction on how to use them.
- 1 quart (or liter) of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide,H2O2
Use fresh (unopened) hydrogen peroxide H2O2. Hydrogen peroxide eventually turns into water H2O.
- 1/4 cup (50 ml.) of Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) of Liquid Soap
- 1 pair of plastic or latex gloves
- Plastic bottle
Combine the ingredients in an open container
Wearing gloves wash your dog with lukewarm water and work the bubbling mixture well into the fur, concentrating on the area that was sprayed.
Let the mixture stay on the fur for 10 minutes or so before rinsing off with luke-warm water, taking care not to wash the mixture into your dog’s eyes (use a washcloth to cover the eyes if you’re rinsing the head).
Dogs most often take a hit in the neck area while turning their head to avoid being sprayed. If they don’t turn fast enough they risk getting a direct spray to the face and eyes. If your dog’s eyes are red and watering, get some advice from a vet. Skunk spray won’t blind the dog, but it’s very painful and may need a specialist lotion to alleviate the discomfort. Do not store any remaining mixture – it could explode if sealed and becomes ineffective over a fairly short time anyway.
Example Pet Policies (please feel free to use or adapt them to your specific needs)
We encourage you to bring your fur friends – they deserve a vacation as much as you. We don’t charge any pet deposit, or limit breeds, size or weight. In return we ask that you let us know a little more about them, so we can ensure their comfort. We also ask that you clean up after them (we provide the bags), you don’t allow your pets up on the beds, and use the pet blankets provided everywhere else. If you decide not to clean up after your pets, our cleaning team will have to spend time on it, and we’ll have to make a charge for that. Please ensure all flea medication is up to date, and we also recommend they are protected against ticks prior to visiting cottage country.
Due to allergies in our family – and we use our cottage when our guests are not there – we ask that you do not bring cats, or any dogs that don’t meet the hypo-allergenic categorization.