The Ultimate Packing Checklist for Your Pet-Friendly Cottage Vacation

So you’ve found your pet-friendly cottage rental and you are going to have such a great time relaxing with all the family…and the dog.  In all the preparation for heading off to the cottage, take a little time and make sure you check off all these items off your packing list.  There aren’t many pet stores in cottage country so you don’t want to leave anything behind.

Leash and tie-down

Of course you want your pet to run free at the cottage – there’s nothing better than watching them frolicking in the water or jumping off the dock.  Just remember though, this is unfamiliar territory and they want to explore, sniff the ground and check out all the new smells, and it’s really easy to lose a dog in the undergrowth or wooded areas around a cottage. 

Keeping them on the leash and using a tie down is the best way of keeping a dog secure but please don’t leave any dog, particularly a small one, outside unattended

Food Supply

If your pet has a specific food, make sure you bring a sufficient supply as the local store won’t stock a large variety of brands.  Do not bring a bag of food that might be left opened as the mice will find it.  Instead, buy a plastic tote with a secure lid, fill it with enough kibble for your vacation period and keep the lid on it while you are at the cottage.

Please take your own dog bowls so you don’t have to use mixing bowls or pans from the owners’ cupboard.

Blankets, beds and old towels

You’ll need some old towels to dry off feet before you allow the dog back indoors.  If you don’t have any, try a local thrift store or buy a couple of economy towels from Walmart.  Most owners would prefer you don’t wash dog blankets in their machines – save that until you get home. 

Your pet may feel a little insecure in a strange place so having his/her own bed that smells of home will go a long way to alleviate that insecurity. They must not climb up on chairs, sofas or beds, so make it clear to them on arrival where their bed is and put their familiar toys and stuffies in it.

Remember your pet’s favourite soft toy but leave the squeaky ones at home.  Noise travels a long way across a lake so think about the neighbours.  Pack a bunch of old tennis balls and floating throw toys…you’ll be doing a lot of throwing!

Get a life jacket for your dog

Protection for aging or nervous dogs reduces stress for dog owners

The chances are this is the first time your pet has experienced a swim.  While most dogs take to it naturally, for older dogs getting caught in wash from a passing boat, or suddenly getting out of their depth can be stressful.  Consider buying a pet life jacket – not only will you have some peace of mind but if your dog falls off a boat, there’s a handle to help you haul him or her back on board.

Make sure you bring your pet pack with you. Bowls, leashes, tie-downs, blankets, towels and dog toys. Don’t forget a dog brush – you’ll need it to get matts out when your fur baby spends most of his/her time in the water!

Skunk kit

Forget tomato juice as a remedy for a skunk spray – it really doesn’t work that well.  Check out this recipe for a much better solution.  All the ingredients – bicarbonate of soda, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap – are easily obtainable and so worth packing. 

Temporary dog tag

While your dog’s tag may have your cell phone number, many cottage country areas are not so well covered for a cell signal, so if someone finds your pet that has strayed from the cottage, it could be a while before someone contacts you.  Buy a new tag specifically for the cottage rental trip – put the cottage address on it and you’ll be set if the sight of a passing deer has taken your dog on a runabout.  Better still, make sure your pet has a microchip and the registry information is updated.

Medications and Vet access

While there are vets in cottage country, most do not offer 24-hour emergency services.  It’s worthwhile checking this before you travel.  Ask the owner or cottage agency if they know of a local vet that accepts emergency or temporary patients, and give them a call to see what their services are should your pet get sick.

Order enough medications to see you through your stay, and take a pet first aid kit with you. 


Unfortunately ticks are found in all parts of cottage country and your pet may well encounter one if they are allowed to roam free in undergrowth.  Doing a daily tick check should be part of your holiday routine and we recommend this Tick Kit from Amazon

Pet Friendly Cottage Rentals

We can’t wait to welcome you and your pet to the cottage.

It’s super-fun to take your dog to a cottage but it’s not as simple as getting them to jump in the car for the journey north.  Giving some thought to their specific packing list will make it much easier if you run into any pet issues while you are there.

CottageLINK Rental Management
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