Tips for bringing your Dog: Pet Friendly Cottage

You want to bring your WHOLE family on vacation - including Fido. But it can be pretty scary for a dog in a new environment Here are some ideas to help ease your dog’s vacation to the cottage
Tips for bringing your dog on vacations to a cottage

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It is so nice to find a pet friendly cottage rental in Ontario. Most of our cottages allow a dog. Here are some ideas to help ease your dog’s vacation at the cottage.

Pack the right supplies

Along with all the obvious goodies (clear identification on your dog’s collar, food, treats and a crate), you may also want to consider investing in some supplies designed for the cottage:

  • Pack your pooch’s favourite toys. “Toys are important to keep your dog busy when you’re trying to sleep-in or have a relaxing evening by the fire,” says Liles.
  • Bring a long line. Even if you walk your dog off-leash at home, the same rules may not apply at the lake. “You should assume your dog—who may have an excellent recall in your neighbourhood dog park—may not come when called in this new environment,” says Andre Yeu, owner of When Hounds Fly Dog Training. “If you have a very prey-driven dog or a hound that gets lost in scent, there’s an increased chance of losing them in the woods.” Yeu advises investing in a long line, which will allow your dog to roam safely during walks. Similarly, you may want to consider purchasing a tie-out. “Anchoring them affords them some freedom and you some peace of mind,” says Yeu.
  • Have a lifejacket on hand. If you’re planning on taking Fido out on the boat or near the water, make sure you pack a doggie lifejacket. “While many dogs instinctively know how to swim, they can also run out of steam and drown like any other animal,” says Yeu.
  • Have a first-aid kit ready. In case of emergency, make sure you pack any necessary medications and a small first-aid kit. An emergency contact list should include the location and information for the closest veterinarian to the cottage. Pack extra towels to clean off paws, and just in case, a de-skunking product such as Skunk-Off.

Dog-proof your surroundings

As soon as you arrive at the cottage, give your dog a leashed walk around the property—both inside and out—so that he’s familiar with boundaries. This will help him settle in. Use the walk as an opportunity to look for areas that need to be doggie-proofed. Keep an eye out for traps, wires, sharp objects, animal droppings and carcasses, unsecured pesticides, points of escape, and even other toxic items in the woods such as mushrooms or poisonous plants.

Create a safe space

Set up a familiar crate or mat in what will be your dog’s “spot” throughout the duration of your stay. Clearly establish where he is welcome to do his business, as many house-trained dogs can regress in new environments.

Also keep in mind that long weekends are a time for celebration, which can result in a lot of unexpected noises. “Be prepared for thunderstorms and fireworks. These can cause dogs to panic and bolt,” says Liles. She recommends keeping dogs inside during fireworks and playing relaxing music or white noise.

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