Vermont, the truth is you can't prove that a dog is being treated for fleas and ticks. If the owners take their dog to a vet and show they purchased Advantage, how do you know that they are diligently applying the treatment every 30 days? I own two dogs and I know we would sometimes forget to re-apply the vial on time each month. During the cold winter months, we would usually not treat the dogs even though we had the vials to do it. I don't like to put any more chemicals on my pets than is absolutely necessary. So just because we have the paperwork, doesn't mean our dogs are treated for fleas 100% of the time.
The good news is that most people who travel with pets are very good about caring for their dogs or they wouldn't take them hundreds of miles from home to a strange property. If you have monthly pest control treatments at your property, I would think that this could ease your worries. Call your pest control person to confirm that their applications will protect against fleas. If not, ask them if there's anything they would recommend. We've had pet-friendly properties since 2002 and have never had issues with fleas.
I'm in total agreement with you on the size limitation for dogs. We've had 100 pound golden retrievers that have been absolutely lovely guests. (People will send photos of their dogs lying by the fireplace or sitting by the hot tub while the kids are enjoying a soak LOL) Now I don't take 150 pound Great Danes or Bull Mastiffs just because our properties are not practical for super-sized canines. But most people who travel with dogs are bringing Yorkies, Shih-tzus, Pomerians--small dogs. Our other popular pet guest groups are Boxers and Labs. As long as I feel comfortable that these are well-mannered, indoor family pets, I don't worry about larger dogs.
We charge $50/dog whether they stay 3 nights or a whole week. Sometimes with small dogs, I'll let them stay 2 for 1. Many times people with small dogs have two of them and they are very appreciative of the savings. The only issue is dogs with fine hair that easily sheds. Golden Retrievers are known for this, so talk to the guests about your concerns.
We've had several compliments for the "pet sheets" that we supply. I bought $5 Mainstays flat twin sheets at Walmart and keep two in a zippered clear bag at each cabin. I encourage our pet-owning guests to use them to cover furniture. I ask them to wash and return the sheets to the bag before leaving. Everyone has done so to date and we get quite a few online and guestbook comments thanking us for the sheets. BTW, I purchased striped and polka dotted patterns so the pet sheets don't ever get mixed in with our linens for the cabin. Helps guests and housekeepers to keep them straight!
Amy- great idea abt. the sheets! We had the dreaded flea trouble last spring, and it was a nightmare to eradicate them. So, now I do have guests sign a Pet Policy that includes a calsue requiring the animal to be on flea & tick prevention. Though i have no way of knowing if the animal is actually ON the meds, I do tell the pet owner it is for their anaimal's safety, and well as for our home's)
Thanks, this is very helpful...and leads me to two more questions as I try to get a handle on the best pet policy: 1. I do like your idea of providing sheets to cover furniture....it makes total sense. On the other hand, it infers that it's ok to have pets on furniture! My current policy states: "no pets on furniture at any time", but I know that it would take a lot of effort to keep my own dog off the bed!!!! So i guess maybe you are saying that dogs will go on furniture even if pet policy says no, and it's better to have the sheets to protect the furniture? Still....pillows and all... other opinions?? 2. Some policies state that pets may not be left alone in inside the rental property.....again, is this realistic? If someone is staying for a week or two, I'm sure there will be times they need to leave their dog behind (esp. in summer when car gets too hot). My current policy states that dog crates are "highly preferred" and that I also provide baby gates to section off certain rooms, like kitchen and rec. room. Again, would love to hear experienced voices on leaving dog alone in vaca, home. What is a reasonable policy for this? Thanks! Lisa
I don't think it really matters what your policy is with regards to leaving dogs alone in the house. Tenants will do whatever works best for them. If they go to a restaurant for dinner, they will not take their dog. If they go out grocery shopping they will not take their dog. Regardless what what the tenant tells you, there will be times that pets are left alone in your home. We can only hope that they are well behaved and do not bark or destroy the house. In eleven years of renting, thankfully we have had no major problems. Last year we lost two small throw rugs due to dog chewing it up. That is the total extent of eleven years worth of summer rentals.
Our pet owning guests have been superb. The dogs, as many have stated, are well cared for family members and the owners (usually) don't want to be traveling with a flea infested dog any more than we want one in our home. But there's always a chance.
As for the leaving the dog on the property alone.....we require the dog to be crated and left in our sun room with laminate flooring if they don't want to leave it in our outdoor dog yard. (most people do this, as we have a climate controlled dog house, a swimming pool and lots of play area in sun and shade for the dogs). Other than one dog that barked a lot and we had to put it in the crate in the house, we've had no problems. And people are really happy to find a place where they can bring their dogs with them. I have to say, I've had more problems with unruly kids than unruly dogs.