“Do you have trouble finding places to stay that allow dogs?”
This is one of the most frequent questions I get when I’m talking with other travelers.
So, in case you were also wondering, here’s the skinny of finding pet-friendly rentals:
For the most part, at least in mainland Europe, finding dog-friendly spots to hang our hats (or, in Luna’s case, harnesses) has been pretty straightforward. The U.S. can be a bit harder and so can the U.K., but western Europe? They love them some dogs, people.
Even so, there is one specific strategy I employ when looking for a place to stay:
I ignore the pet-friendly box.
You see, many apartment rental websites work with individual apartment owners and they may be willing to make exceptions. The same goes with couchsurfing hosts.
Even if they say no-dogs, I send a brief, respectful email asking if they’d consider making an exception for a small, non-shedding, therapy-trained pooch. Very, very often the answer is yes.
Because most of the time, a no-dog rule is due to fear of the apartment being destroyed, allergy issues, or noise/disturbance. If you can calm the owner’s fears on these counts, they may make an exception for your pooch.
So, if you are getting frustrated with a lack of listed pet-friendly properties, perhaps you find not ’cause you ask not. Instead of getting frustrated, send a quick email and let the apartment owner know:
- The size of your dog (a small dog may be okay where a large dog is not and vice versa)
- The breed of your dog (specifically, is it a non-shedding or hypo-allergenic breed? Many owners are concerned with allergies or dander…let them know if you have a dog that doesn’t shed!)
- Any special training (is your dog therapy trained? A Canine Good Citizen? A service animal? Let the owner know…and give a brief description of what that means, as not everyone is familiar with these training terms)
- Dog references (if your dog has stayed in a rental before, ask the landlord if they are willing to write a quick reference or respond to another landlord’s email. Just having references available can make a big difference when you’re asking for an exception)
In our experience, while a few people here or there will say no, the vast majority are very willing to make exceptions for well-trained, small, and/or non-shedding dogs. Particularly if someone else can vouch for them. (And if you send a really cute picture.)