Our Members Speak Out
Fox Hill B&B, Fairfield, VA
We asked: Please share your
thoughts on hosting guests with pets—what works and what
Question for November: We’ve
received more great stories about innkeepers’ experiences
hosting our brave troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq and
will publish them next month. More comments always
your responses to
Sandy.Soule@BedandBreakfast.com. If we publish your comments, we’ll
thank you with a $25 credit in our Featured Properties Auction program!
pet-loving innkeepers who decided to go pet friendly after traveling from
the Midwest to Maine and discovering how difficult it can be to find
accommodations where pets are welcome. We offer one pet-friendly room, and
we’ve not regretted it. Meeting someone’s pet can be as delightful as
meeting the human being at the other end of the leash! Here’s why being pet
friendly has worked out for us:
most part, the pets are well behaved, social and adaptable. It has been our
experience to ask up front if the pet is an experienced traveler. Pets that
are used to traveling are delightfully inquisitive and behave better than
most children we’ve had as guests! Pets that are not used to travel can be
overwhelmed by the experience, and they can be a nuisance with barking,
crying and scratching. We only accept travel-experienced pets; we owe it to
the animal, to our other guests, to our own pets and to ourselves to have
travel-wise animals only! We reserve the right to ask the guests to leave
if the pet turns out to be something other than what was described.
traveling with an infant, pet owners usually arrive with their “pet gear” in
tow, which helps to make the animal comfortable. We charge a $25 fee for
deep cleaning of the carpet, furniture and linens, but we’ve had no problems
with a pet damaging or soiling the room. We have pet linens available if
pet-friendly room has a private entrance, so pets go directly from the
outside to their room. With the private deck, the guests and pet can sit
outside without imposing on other guests. We’ve found that pet owners are
fastidious about picking up after their pets; we make plastic bags available
and have a clearly marked depository.
fast to our rule that the pet is welcome only in that one guest room
and cannot be left unattended except during breakfast. We offer an option
for the pet owners to eat on their private deck if they are uncomfortable
leaving the pet alone during breakfast. Research pet daycare facilities in
your area for occasions when the owners don’t want to take their pet along
with them for the day’s activities.”
Inn Britannia, Searsport, ME
welcome traveling canines and their companions. Our property lends itself
very well to this, as all but one of our rooms has a direct outside
entrance, making it easy for pets to come and go. We maintain one pet-free
room and ask that pets not be brought into our main living room/dining room
area in deference to those who may not care for dogs. We ask that pets not
be brought into our main living room/dining room area in deference to those
who may not care for dogs. We have 38 acres with a number of walking trails
and a spring-fed stream. Dogs love it here – we have many who have never
been off leash, and they are ecstatic with the freedom to run and play. We
love dogs, so it is easy to extend a warm, heartfelt welcome to all. Our
resident canine, Ellie, is very well behaved and loves her doggy visitors.
“Our written policy states that dogs must be crated if left alone in the
guest’s room, and that a cell phone number be provided in case there are any
problems. We have had to call only a few times when unhappy dogs make their
sentiments known, but all in all, we have fewer problems or damages from our
canine visitors than some of the two-legged ones. Our fee of $10 per dog
per night helps compensate for the extra cleaning costs (rug shampooing,
cleaning furniture and floors, cleaning of our glass atrium doors). We put
doggie treats and a welcome note in the room and offer plenty of dog towels
for muddy feet, plus an outdoor washing station (with hose and dog
shampoo). We also provide a list of places to go and things to do in the
area with dogs (hikes, tourist attractions that are dog-friendly, and a
“As far as the numbers go, about 30 percent to 40 percent of our guests have
visited with canines. Guests are especially pleased that our high-end rooms
are available for travelers with dogs – we don’t relegate them to small,
out-of-the way rooms. Admittedly, this is easier for us, as this property
is very new; and our rooms are well soundproofed and carpeted with Berber,
which shampoos easily and is very forgiving of the occasional muddy paws and
“What do we think is the key to success in accepting canines? First, a
property that is suitable (privacy of other guests protected); second,
innkeepers who genuinely love dogs and make them and their owners feel
welcome; and third, policies in place to make the visit go smoothly.” Sue
and Mark Erwin, Fox Hill: A Virginia Bed & Breakfast, Fairfield, VA
“Our B&B is fortunate to have a main building as well as a separate
bunkhouse that houses two rooms, so we are able to offer our guests an
animal-free environment in the main house. We process our B&B laundry in a
way that helps eliminate any potential animal hair from the bunkhouse
laundry migrating to the main house laundry. As a result, we have had a
number of guests tell us after the fact that they are allergic to
animals and yet had a super stay without any allergic reaction.
“To date, we have hosted all dogs plus one pet rat (who arrived in a cage
along with his family and their dog). We only take dogs by reservation and
have learned that four guest dogs at one time is our maximum. The folks who
bring dogs are very responsible, and the dogs have been delightful and well
behaved. Every dog owner has stated they chose us because we take dogs,
which is a rarity in our county. We charge a nominal fee ($10 per night per
dog) and provide ceramic dog bowls for water and food; dog treats; towels
for wet feet; dog bags and a disposal bucket for cleanup; and protective
blankets for the bed. Our rules are part of our reservation checklist.
expected to remain on leash when outside for safety. We bend this rule when
guests have a well-trained and responsive dog.
crated if they have a tendency to be undisciplined when not supervised; we
have a large crate should folks need to borrow it.
not to be left alone in rooms except during breakfast.
barking too much will be asked to leave due to impact on other guests.
clean up after dogs; bags are provided.
aggressive or out-of-control dog and his owners may be asked to leave
Repair/cleaning costs due to guest dog damage will be fully reimbursed by
“Only one guest violated the ‘do not leave your dog alone’ rule; they were
asked to return immediately for their animal, and they did.” Robin
Miller, Fleming Jones Homestead B&B Inn, Placerville, CA
have a four-month-old Labrador puppy named Leo. He’s a big hit with most of
the guests. One couple fell in love with Leo. When they checked out, I
found a cute card that was made out to Leo and a $25 gift card from PETCO.
I occasionally receive tips, but this was the first time any of my pets
received one!” Roger Schmitz, Henry
Mischler House, Springfield, IL
“I have taken pets since I opened in 1986.
You have a few mishaps once in a while, as you do with people. We have three
dogs of our own, and lots of guests come just to play with our dogs and
leave theirs at home. Others have just lost their dog and want to come some
place that has pets. It has been a win-win for our B&B.” Paulette J.
Clouse, J. Paules Fenn Inn, Fennville, MI
“We accept dogs under 25 pounds or so. Yes, we’ve had problems such as
peeing on the carpet, and we once had the paint scratched off the back of a
bedroom door by a Boston terrier desperate to see its owner again. Over
time we developed ‘House Rules for Canine Guests.’ Our own dogs enjoy the
canine guests very much, as do we, so we will continue to take them, but now
we charge the owners for any damage, no matter how slight, if it costs us
money to correct the problem. Guests are very understanding.” Kate &
Karen, Riverbend Retreat Bed & Breakfast, St. Joseph, MI
“We have our own dog and won’t go anywhere without him, so we allowed
our guests to bring dogs 20 pounds or less and charged an additional $20 for
extra cleaning required. However, one dog ‘tinkled’ on the wall-to-wall
carpeting, and the owner didn’t even tell us; we found out the hard way when
the housekeeper went in to clean the room after their three-day (‘we don’t
need housekeeping’) stay. We had to rent a carpet-cleaning machine and
special pet odor-removal solutions to get the smell out, and yet, the next
time we rented to someone with a dog, the dog did the same thing in the same
spot. Our vet explained that many dogs (mostly males) need to ‘mark’ their
territory and that it is almost impossible to remove smells completely. We
also had problems with guests allowing their pets to sleep in bed with them
and found we had to wash all the blankets and quilts and dry clean
the comforters to eliminate dog hair and dog smells. After several bouts of
this, we finally decided not to take pets anymore.
"We now recommend a nearby doggy daycare, where the guest can drop off their
pet and allow the daycare folks to pamper the pet while we spoil the guest.
Even though all our literature explains that we no longer take pets, we have
found on several occasions that guests have snuck their pets in anyway. For
this we have, unfortunately, no solution.” Sandra Smith, Cliff Cottage
Inn, Eureka Springs, AR
“We have consistently found people who travel with their pets to be very
conscientious and respectful of the opportunity to have a nice place to
stay. Just last weekend we had the perfect example. The reservation
indicated the couple had five dogs. The guests arrived and unloaded their
Old English Sheepdogs, and I was speechless. I’m pleased to report their
four-night visit was a success. Each dog had its own bed, and they knew
their place. The guests brought a set of fence panels, so they had a yard
for them. The pet owners also kept the dogs under close supervision. When
they left, they made an extra effort to make sure everything was in order.” Stephanie
Sprague, Long Valley Resort,
“One question we get periodically is, ‘Who
was your most famous guest?’ The fascinating answer is: our most famous
guest came with a limo, two traveling companions and a handler. Her name was
Marilyn, and she appeared on the Today show while here. She’s
featured on Hallmark greeting cards and is adorable. Our most famous guest
was a dog!” Chuck Hale, The Pillars Bed & Breakfast, Plainfield, NJ
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