Service Dogs, ESAs and Airbnb

As of February, 2023

Vacation rental companies like Airbnb and VRBO have become an increasingly popular option for travelers with service dogs and emotional support animals. Compared to hotels, an Airbnb rental may offer a more convenient and accessible location, as well as additional amenities not offered by hotels. Additionally, they're often cheaper than hotels, especially for large families or groups travelling together. If you are staying at an Airbnb or VRBO rental with a service dog or emotional support animal, here's what you need to know:

Does Airbnb Allow Service Dogs?

Yes, like hotels, Airbnb policy is that hosts must allow guests to bring their service dogs in accordance with local, state, and federal law. Guests are allowed to be accompanies by service animals during their stay and are not required to disclose the presence of a service animal before booking. However, hosts may qualify for an exception if a service animal directly threatens their health or safety (for example, if the host is severely allergic to dogs). Hosts are only allowed to ask the following about a guest's service dog:

  • Whether their service dog is required during the stay for a disability
  • What task or work the service dog performs for the guest

When a guest is accompanied by a service dog, Airbnb forbids hosts from refusing a reservation, charging pet fees or other additional fees, applying differential treatment, using discriminatory language, or holding the guest to different rules.

Please read Airbnb's entire service dog policy here: Airbnb Accessibility Policy

Does Airbnb Allow Emotional Support Animals?

Airbnb defines an emotional support animal as "an animal that provides companionship, relieves loneliness, or helps with depression, anxiety, or certain phobias but is not required to have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities." Unless the reservation is in a jurisdiction where local laws prohibit it (such as California and New York), hosts may charge pet fees for and are allowed to decline the presence of an emotional support animal on their property. Even though hosts are not required by law to allow emotional support animals in many jurisdictions, it does not hurt to ask - many hosts are happy to make the accommodation anyway. But keep in mind, they may not be required to make the accommodation.

If you do bring an emotional support animal with you, the animal must not be out of control, untrained, or left alone without approval from the host. It is important to always make sure you are respectful of the host's property, especially if you are bringing an emotional support animal with you during your stay. Keeping your trained ESA in control at all times and quickly cleaning up after any accidents will help prevent any potential problems you may have during your stay.

Please read Airbnb's entire emotional support animal policy here: Airbnb Accessibility Policy

Does VRBO Allow Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals?

VRBO's policy regarding service dogs and emotional support animals is similar to Airbnb's policy. According to VRBO's policy, hosts are required to allow service dogs to accompany their owners on their property. Hosts cannot charge additional fees or deposits for service dogs, and they cannot ask for documentation or certification of the service dog's training. Hosts are also not allowed to impose any breed or weight restrictions on service dogs.

Please see VRBO's full policy here: VRBO Accessibility Policy

Please keep in mind, whether you are bringing a service dog or an emotional support animal with you to your Airbnb or VRBO rental, if the animal causes excessive damage to the property, you will still be liable for those repairs. That is why it is important to make sure your service dog or emotional support animal is well trained and conditioned for travel. Click here for our service dog training resources..