If I Own a Bed & Breakfast, Can I Keep My Pets?

I’ve been in the bed and breakfast business long enough to forget what I already know – and forget to share with my clients.  So, when I get a great question like the one Nathalie sent in the other day, I’m always glad to get them!  So, don’t hesitate to contact me if you’ve got a question you’ve been wondering about!

Nathalie’s question was:

Are there a lot of B&Bs / Inns that have cats? I have two and they are part of me. They go where I go, which means if I run this type of business they’d come with the package. Would that be a problem?

If you have pets in your bed and breakfast, it is very important to make sure potential guests know prior to booking that this is the case.  Many B&B owners get the message across by including pictures of them with their pets – and make sure to prominently display the pets’ pictures on key pages – such as the reservations page – to help make it clear.

Some of the reasons potential guests won’t book at a bed and breakfast that has animals is due to allergies, dislike of that particular type of pet or even because they will make assumptions about the type of person you are because you have that type of pet.

Be prepared to answer such questions as:

  • Do you allow your pets into the guestrooms?  or kitchen?
  • How do you prevent them from entering those parts of the house?
  • Can I bring my pet?

You will definitely have to check out your local regulations to ensure there aren’t any restrictions placed by the Public Health Department, etc.  In Ontario where I live, our provincial association is advocating that B&Bs are actually the owners’ private home and should not have to comply with regulations relating to larger establishments like hotels.

There are many things that might impact on your ability to have pets on the premises:

  • the number of rooms could be a variable – larger inns (i.e. with more than six rooms. or if you didn’t live on premises) might not be allowed
  • If you serve food to the public
  • If you serve meals other than breakfast to your guests

Here’s my final WoW (Words of Wisdom) – make sure you include a “claws” (I couldn’t resist the pun!) in your terms and conditions that the guest acknowledges the fact that they are aware you have a pet on the premises.  This will avoid having a guest arrive and then leave without penalty because all of a sudden they realize you have a pet…leaving you with an empty room for that night!

If you’ve got a question you would like to see answered, please drop me a line or leave a comment on this blog post.

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