How to Plan a Dog-Friendly Cottage Vacation

Your dog is a member of the family, so it makes perfect sense to want to include your canine buddy in your cottage vacation.

The reality is, bringing your pup with you to the cottage can be fun for the entire family. The wide-open spaces are a dog’s dream, and a pet-friendly rental is often more cost-effective than having to pay for a pet hotel or any other type of lodging. Not only will your dog appreciate being along for the ride, but your family will be able to rest better and enjoy the trip more with your furry addition in tow.

All that said, there are a few things to consider when planning a cottage vacation with your dog. Here are some tips to ensure that bringing your pet is a smooth and fun experience for all (including the cottage owner):

1. Book a Cottage That’s Pet Friendly

First, it’s really important that you book a cottage that allows pets. This is for two main reasons.

  • Some cottage owners may have pet allergies, which makes cleaning up after a pet an unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous experience.
  • If the cottage owner lives nearby and notices your furry guest, and the cottage you have booked is not pet friendly, you may be asked to leave, cutting your vacation short.

Luckily, on some sites, it’s incredibly easy to check which cottages allow pets and which do not. For example, boasts a beautiful selection of cottages in Ontario and includes an easy search function that will allow you to quickly establish which cottages are pet friendly or negotiable.

2. Consider Pet Cleaning Fees

Most pet-friendly accommodations will add on a pet cleaning fee. This is fair (within a reasonable limit) as pets do make cleaning more time-consuming and labour-intensive.

The couches and floors will require excess vacuuming, walls may require cleaning down, and French doors will need those little nose drips wiped off. To assist with this, you will also want to plan ahead to bring any supplies you may need to look after your pet.

3. Bring a Pet Towel and a Blanket

If your pet is a big swimmer and you’re at a waterfront cottage, bringing a pet towel is a considerate thing to do. Additionally, a blanket to lay on the couch is another good item to bring with you if your dog is a fan of lounging on furniture.

4. Keep Your Pet Close

Since you’re in an unfamiliar location with unfamiliar sounds and smells, keeping your pet nearby and in sight is a good idea — even if they have excellent recall.

5. Don’t Forget a Life Vest

While most dogs instinctively know how to swim, they can run out of energy or cramp — just like humans. If you’re close to water or have planned boat trips, bringing a life vest for your dog is a smart safety measure.

6. Consider the Time of the Year

If you’re visiting a cottage over a special holiday weekend — like Labour Day weekend or Canada Day — keep in mind that neighbouring cottages may let off fireworks.

If your dog is uncomfortable with fireworks, take the same measures that you would at home. Set your pet up in a safe space, and don’t forget any anxiety medications they might need.

Bringing your pet to the cottage can be a stress-free, enjoyable, and fun experience for everyone with a few simple anticipatory actions. Once you get them down pat, you’re sure to have many wonderful cottage adventures with your furry friend for years to come.

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