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Home swapping with pets: everything you need to know
Home Swapping Tips

Home swapping with pets: everything you need to know

Ellena Morgan
By Ellena Morgan - 18 minute read

How can I travel with my pet - or leave my pet at home while I go on holiday?

They’re both great ques­tions. For many pet-own­ers, the thought of leav­ing their friends behind while they trav­el is enough to make them reluc­tant to trav­el alto­geth­er (espe­cial­ly giv­en the hefty price tag attached). So if the thought of trav­el­ling with­out your pet is a no-go, you’ll be hap­py to hear that there are options available.

If you’d like to bring your pet on hol­i­day with you, then you’ll find that many of our mem­bers live in prop­er­ties that are per­fect­ly equipped for dogs, cats – or what­ev­er and who­ev­er it is that you’re trav­el­ling with! Alter­na­tive­ly, if you want to leave your pet at home to be cared for by a home swap guest, then that can be eas­i­ly arranged too – leav­ing you to trav­el freely, safe in the knowl­edge that your pet is hap­py at home, being cared for by fel­low animal-lovers.

Our members share their top tips and experiences:

Chisara and her dog

Avid home swapper Chisara has exchanged her apartment in London for a number of gorgeous house exchanges – and her trusty companion Sensi was there every step of the way...

I love home swap­ping with my dog. It’s real­ly good, because there are a lot of places that are real­ly pet-friend­ly, so Sen­si and I can hop in the car and go some­where. The peo­ple that I have end­ed up swap­ping with have always been extreme­ly help­ful and accom­mo­dat­ing. I’ve done swaps with and with­out my dog and I’m open to swap­pers that want to bring their dog to my place too.”

What’s been your favourite home swap with Sensi?

Def­i­nite­ly our Newquay trip in the summer…we both absolute­ly loved it! The house had a gar­den, so I could leave the door open for Sen­si. What was great was that we could get up in the morn­ing and walk along the beach instead of walk­ing through Fins­bury park, and then at lunch we’d go to the beach to play or for anoth­er walk! At the end of the day, instead of going to the gym, I was tak­ing my dog off to explore the city or for a hike. It’s great when you can get into a dif­fer­ent area, espe­cial­ly for Sen­si because he loves explor­ing. It’s a chance to change my scenery, get out of the city, and get more space to run around!”

What are your tips for trav­el­ling with a pet?

Talk to your host about what ser­vices they typ­i­cal­ly use local­ly and ask if they can pro­vide any emer­gency num­bers for dog walk­ers, min­ders etc. This was super amaz­ing dur­ing our stay when I want­ed to go sight­see­ing at a place that did­n’t allow dogs. I did­n’t want to leave Sen­si by him­self for that length of time, and their exist­ing sources and con­nec­tions were amaz­ing­ly help­ful! As a host, hav­ing this infor­ma­tion ready for your swap­pers is such a love­ly touch! Addi­tion­al­ly, make sure to ask and respect their house rules regard­ing what pets are and are not allowed to do and use. For exam­ple, some swaps allow pets on fur­ni­ture, while oth­ers do not.”

Marie and her partner

Marie is an experienced swapper, and currently swaps homes around five times a year with her partner and their dog.

She says:

I don’t attempt to con­tact the peo­ple who have stat­ed no pets. I do still mes­sage the peo­ple who haven’t spec­i­fied and those that say pet-friend­ly. Try­ing to find prop­er­ties with a dog may seem like a chal­lenge, but there are lots of dog-friend­ly prop­er­ties. We’ve been lucky enough to find swap­pers who are hap­py for us to bring our dog. We’ve stayed in many prop­er­ties in the UK and it’s worked out won­der­ful­ly. We love trav­el­ling with our fur­ry friend. She’s part of the family.”

Things to consider (as a host):

Hav­ing a pet-friend­ly home is a great sell­ing point for many home swap­pers. But before you finalise your swap, make sure you’ve asked the fol­low­ing questions:

1. What kind of pets will be staying?

The require­ments of home swap­pers with pets will vary great­ly accord­ing to the type of pet, and how many of them will be stay­ing. And if it’s a dog, what kind of dog? If you’re liv­ing in a cosy city apart­ment with­out easy out­door access – and your guests are arriv­ing with a Great Dane – you’re going to want to make sure there’s enough room for the pet to be happy.

2. Who will be look­ing after your pets?

If your home is pet-friend­ly, then it’s more than like­ly that you have a pet your­self. Be sure to con­firm with your guest whether your pet(s) will be stay­ing at home with them, and whether their pets will be com­fort­able around yours. You’ll also need to con­firm the lev­el of care that your pet will need – if your dog expects walk­ing sev­er­al times a day, then they need to know this when mak­ing their plans! Like­wise, if your pet doesn’t like to leave the house (par­tic­u­lar­ly house cats that aren’t used to being out­doors) then you need to dis­cuss these details upfront.

3. Have you made it clear to oth­er home swap­pers that you have pets?

It’s great for pet-own­ers to know their pets are wel­come to stay at yours, how­ev­er it’s also impor­tant to warn oth­ers in case of aller­gies. The best way to do this is to include a men­tion of your pet in your home list­ing descrip­tion, and you should also flag this up with your guest dur­ing your trip discussion.

Things to consider (as a guest):

You’ve found your dream prop­er­ty and you’re ready to go. But before you pack your bags, ask your­self the fol­low­ing questions:

1. Has the host specif­i­cal­ly agreed to let your pet stay?

When plan­ning a home exchange, always make sure you have con­firmed with your host that they are hap­py to accom­mo­date your pet (even if it says they’re pet-friend­ly in their pro­file). It’s real­ly help­ful to men­tion this in your ini­tial exchange request, so give a brief descrip­tion of your pet (includ­ing the type and breed) so that your host is ful­ly aware of every­one (and every­thing!) who will be stay­ing in their home.

2. Have you made the rel­e­vant trav­el preparations?

If you are cross­ing bor­ders with your pet, ensure that you have done your research to find out what paper­work and cer­tifi­cates you will need to bring your pet into that coun­try. This can include, but isn’t lim­it­ed to:

- Health and rabies certificate

- Vac­ci­na­tion history

- Proof of ownership

3. Are you equipped to pre­vent dam­age and han­dle any accidents?

It seems like an obvi­ous thing to say, but if you are tak­ing your pet with you on a home swap, remem­ber to leave their home in the same (if not bet­ter!) con­di­tion than when you arrived. This means mak­ing sure that your pet is well-behaved, house-trained, and com­fort­able trav­el­ling and stay­ing in an unknown home. Of course, acci­dents can hap­pen, so make sure that you come pre­pared with the right clean­ing equip­ment if an acci­dent were to arise, and for any big­ger dam­age, get in touch with your host to explain and arrange a suit­able solu­tion. And don’t for­get that our friend­ly Cus­tomer Ser­vice team are always ready to help!

How to find pet-friendly home swaps

How to swap preferences to find pet friendly homes

We’ve made it easy to find homes that are suit­able for pets. Sim­ply go to the fil­ters, and under Swap pref­er­ences’ select Pet friendly’.

Screenshot of the features page

You can also see on a member’s pro­file whether their home is pet-friend­ly by look­ing in the prop­er­ty fea­tures section.

You’ll find a huge amount of our mem­bers are open to host­ing your fur­ry friends, but it’s also pos­si­ble that mem­bers who haven’t spec­i­fied whether or not they are pet-friend­ly may be open to host­ing your well-behaved pet (because cir­cum­stances and atti­tudes change all the time, and it’s pos­si­ble that they just haven’t got round to updat­ing their pref­er­ences!) All you need to do is send the home­own­er a friend­ly mes­sage intro­duc­ing your­self, and explain­ing that you’d love to stay in their home with your pet. If you need a few hints on writ­ing the ide­al intro­duc­to­ry mes­sage, then you might find this blog about secur­ing more swapsuse­ful.

How to let others know your home is pet-friendly

It’s easy to let oth­ers know you’re pet-friend­ly so you can come up in search results. Sim­ply head to your account and go to my homes’ sec­tion, select the prop­er­ty you would like to edit, click gen­er­al and scroll down to select Pet friend­ly?

Home Swapping with Pets my homes

You’ll find thou­sands of pet-friend­ly homes on Love Home Swap — and just as many ani­mal lovers who will be hap­py to take care of your pets while you’re away. So all you need to ask your­self, is where in the world you’d like to go?! For a lit­tle trav­el inspi­ra­tion, check out our blog- or head to our Face­book groups to start a chat with oth­er mem­bers to find out their rec­om­men­da­tions for trav­el­ling with a pet. And don’t for­get to share your expe­ri­ences and trav­el tales with us on our social chan­nels using #welove­home­swap.