How to give your place the pet-friendly tick

If the thought of standing in a little deposit left by a previous canine guest puts you off renting your bach to dog owners, you’re not alone.
No one wants their precious investment trashed by marauding canines! However, with careful management, many owners report much success by being “pet friendly” – and their bookings are significantly boosted, too. Here’s how:

Ask for a bond

You can stipulate in a written rental agreement that these funds will be used to rectify any damage caused by canine guests (see our article on What to include in a rental agreement).

In seven years of accepting dogs at my pet friendly apartment, I never came close to redeeming this bond. This space, which has since been sold, contained antiques, a silk bedspread and mohair throws which remained in pristine condition and all dogs were delightful!

Set the rules

Make it clear the level of “pet friendliness” you will accept. Post these on the website and in your bach. These can include:

  • Scooping the poop: You might think this is a no-brainer but you can make it easy for owners to do the right thing by providing a pooper scooper, bags and a place for disposal.
  • Specifying areas where dogs are allowed. For example: Dogs permitted only in non-carpeted areas; or Dogs permitted everywhere except bedrooms; or Dogs permitted outside only.
  • If you have a limit on the number of pets you’ll allow as guests at any one time, make this clear in your listing.

Few dog owners admit it, but many canine family members are couch potatoes. Just look at mine! Solve this by providing a specific doggie couch or doggie blanket, or ask guests to bring their pet’s bedding.

If you allow dogs outside only, you’ll need to have a fully fenced yard with a gate, otherwise, the poor dog will have no choice but to be chained up all weekend, disturbing the neighbours and digging your yard.

Pet rat permitted?

Make it clear what pets you’ll allow or you may end up with a rather undesirable menagerie! You need to be clear, but the more reasonable they are, the more likely rules will be adhered to.

Meet and greet

This is key. Dog owners really appreciate a warm welcome for their precious pooches. By greeting your guests, they will be far more inclined to respect your property. And those with unruly mutts are more likely to stay away.

If you can’t be there to greet your guests, find someone with good hospitality skills who can do this job. As well as becoming acquainted, this is the time to reiterate the house rules.

Provide local information

Print out the local on and off-leash areas, including beaches and parks, from your council website.

Marketing your pet friendly pad

You are sure to get more bookings if you make your bach pet friendly.

If your holiday home is well set up for pets, it will quickly get a good reputation amongst dog owners who are often deprived of good pet-friendly accommodation.

Show off your pet friendly facilities on the website. Include photos of dogs having fun in your yard. Display the dedicated dog friendly space inside if there is one. Photograph the fence with a person in the shot so people can get a good idea of fence height. A shot of the local off-leash beach or area will also entice dog lovers.

Enable the “pet friendly” tick in your listing on Bookabach.

After their stay, encourage dog owners to write feedback about the pet friendliness of your property. After all, recommendation is the best marketing you can get.

Canine heaven

Manager of Snell’s Beach’s Ferndale Cottage Sharon Fong meets every guests and their dog on arrival. This bach is booked most weekends and 75% of her guests have dogs.

“I like to meet the dogs as well as the guests and I talk to them when they arrive about their dog and tell them the only rule is to pick up after their dog and make sure they shut the gate. But the people who come here are doggie people and they’re very responsible.”

From Great Danes to Chihuahuas, Sharon has never had a problem with her canine guests. “I have all the cleaning stuff inside so most people clean up and the bach never smells of dog.”

Dogs are permitted throughout the cute cliff-side bach next to the Snells Beach foreshore, and a dog blanket is provided for the couch.

Pet friendly tips

  1. Don’t get hung up about size. I may be biased but I believe many giant breeds are far better behaved than the little ones! If you’re worried about the Great Dane that’s posted a booking request, chat to the owner about their pet’s behaviour and let them know what you expect before they arrive.
  2. Dogs behave differently in other people’s homes. Have a specific area for home alone dogs if the guests go out without them. This could be an enclosed courtyard, a laundry or bathroom.
  3. Suggest owners leave an item of their own clothing for dogs to lie on. This reassures the dog their owners will return.
  4. Jump to it. Post the minimum height of your fence and gates on the website so owners know whether their dog will be able to jump it.
  5. Puppy problems.  Cute as they are, canine babies and adolescents should not be left alone in your house! If the owners have to leave their puppy home alone, a large crate with plenty of toys and treats might just save your phone wires, table legs and plants from being chewed.
  6. Provide a crate. Now here’s a sure fire way to ensure you get good behaviour! A crate in your house means dogs can still feel like they’re part of the family (they’re companion animals after all). However, if dogs aren’t used to being crated, they may need some encouragement to get in and stay there quietly. A comfy dog bed and tasty long-lasting treats or bones should do the trick nicely.

More info - for info such as animal control organisations throughout NZ.

Pet friendly properties on Bookabach.




“I like to meet the dogs as well as the guests and I talk to them when they arrive about their dog and tell them the only rule is to pick up after their dog and make sure they shut the gate.” - Sharon Fong, Ferndale Cottage

Sash on beach If your bach is near an off-leash beach, make sure you include this fact in your listing
Dog on couch - naughty! My dogs' favourite position is curled up on a couch. If you don't want dogs to take such liberties in your bach, let their owners know upfront.
Sash on deck with railings A balcony or deck with a secure railing can be a good substitute for a fenced backyard
Kong The Kong is cattle dog cross Rolo's ultimate treat. Dogs once spent all day looking for food, but domesticated canines eat their bowl of food in a flash and can then get bored. The Kong brings back dogs' natural instincts as they have to "work" to get their food by squeezing, licking or bouncing this indestructible toy

BYO suggestions

Provide a ‘what to bring ‘ list for your canine guests. This could include:

  • Leads and collars identification
  • Dog bedding
  • Owner’s old clothing
  • Dog toys and treats
  • A crate

Going the extra mile

Your canine guests will think they're in heaven if you provide some of the following:

  • Dog bones in the freezer
  • Dog treats
  • A Kong toy
  • A doggie blanket
  • A dog bowl
  • Dog toys
  • Agility park in the backyard
Piwa perched