Tips for Taking a Pet to a Vacation Rental

It’s great to be able to take your pet on vacation and good to see that more hotels, resorts and vacation rental properties are showing pet friendly symbols on their web sites and marketing literature. However, taking the dog means more than packing up some treats, a bag of food and poop bags – there is a larger responsibility that owners need to be aware of before heading off on that longed-for vacation. If you plan on renting a cottage or villa, here are some tips to make planning easier and ensure a problem-free holiday.

Check for the pet symbol

Not every cottage or vacation home will accept pets. This is the owners personal preference and you should respect their decision. Even if your dog is the best behaved ever, never sheds or barks, and poops to order in a specified location, if the owners don’t permit pets, don’t ask if they will make an exception. There are plenty of pet friendly properties out there and you’ll find another that is more welcoming of your furry friend.

Controlling pets

Country vacation areas are rarely fenced nor do they have clear boundaries so there is a risk of an unleashed pet running off after a chipmunk or squirrel and getting lost. Many areas include a variety of wild animals and snakes as part of the natural environment – skunks, raccoons, coyotes and black bears are just a few of the potential encounters. The saddest stories are those from families who arrive at their vacation home, let the dog out of the car, and never see it again. Please don’t let that happen to you, and keep your dog leashed and under control at all times, or at least until it is familiar with the surroundings.

Cats may not be as welcome as dogs

When enquiring about vacation rental accommodation always check that the pet friendly icon refers to cats as well as dogs, if you are intending bringing moggy with you. Many owners are reluctant to permit pets of the feline variety and if they do, you may have to confirm your cat is declawed. This also applies to other domestic pets including rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, caged birds and reptiles so make sure you check before booking.

Size matters

Some owners are OK with any size of dog – others will specify dogs under a certain weight – say under 25lbs, so before making a reservation with your 150lb Newfoundland, check first. He or she may sleep outside all day long, be soft and cuddly and the best behaved pooch in the world but if the home owner has fixed views on what they will or will not accept, they need to be honoured.

Following the guidelines

Even the most pet friendly owners will have rules that you will be expected to follow. The most important of these are to clear up after your pet, not to allow him/her on beds or furniture, and to prevent barking. Neighbours at rental properties can be quick to complain so don’t leave a pet unattended outside if they are likely to create noise or nuisance. It is respectful to remove as much pet hair as possible even if a cleaning service is included in the rental.

Be prepared for emergencies

Country smells can be pretty overwhelming for city bred pets and an excited dog can seek out and have an unfortunate encounter with the less loveable local critters before you can unpack the car. Skunks and porcupines spring to mind, both creating situations that need immediate action, so be well prepared to deal with them. Pack hydrogen peroxide and baking soda for managing skunk spray, and the number of an emergency vet for removing porcupine quills ( a very expensive procedure). Ask the cottage owner for information on their local vet practice.

As long as you make sure your pet is welcome and you follow the rules, including your pet in your vacation plans can add a lot to the overall experience.