Summer is almost here! For many families, a trip to the cottage is a sacred summer ritual. Sunshine, swimming, and relaxation await us in cottage country regions like the Sunshine Coast, the Eastern Townships, and Muskoka.
Camping and cottaging activities let you include pets, making it a great choice for pet parents! But before you get ready to pack your cooler, review this checklist to make sure your escape is safe and comfortable for your furry family member.
- DO check the property to ensure that off-season toxins have been removed. Antifreeze, rodent bait, insect traps and cleaning supplies should be kept out of reach of pets (and children).
- DO inspect the lot to make sure all structures are in good repair. Check for broken glass, nails, and loose deck/dock boards. Store fishing gear like hooks, lures and lines up high or in a sealed container.
- DO start your pet on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention before heading to the cottage. This will keep them safe from pests and the diseases they carry.
- DO schedule a pet pedicure. Long nails are more susceptible to trauma, especially on uneven terrain.
- DO bring a first-aid kit for pets and people, including antiseptic, bandages, and tensors.
- DO pack a generous supply of your pet’s normal food, medications and treats for the trip and make sure clean water is always available.
- DO bring restraint devices for your pet. Collars, leashes, crates, and pens are important tools for keeping Fluffy and Fido safe.
- DO watch your pet closely around wood stoves, campfires, and lanterns.
- DO locate the emergency veterinarian nearest to your destination and record their contact information.
- DON’T assume that your pet can swim. Supervise pets near the water and use a pet lifejacket if needed.
- DON’T let your pet be a weekend warrior. Excessive physical activity can lead to stiffness, heatstroke, and injuries. If your pet doesn’t pause for a break, take them inside or to a shady area periodically for water and a rest.
- DON’T let your pet roam alone. Pets can get lost or injured in unfamiliar territory. Traffic, wildlife, and terrain all pose a serious risk to unrestrained animals.
- DON’T feed your pet new food, treats or scraps while at the cottage. This can upset your pet’s stomach, and lead to an emergency vet visit.
- DON’T introduce your pet to other dogs and cats without supervision. Aggression can occur between even the friendliest animals. When friends and family get together at the cottage, there will be pets from different households so be careful!
- DON’T let your pet drink from outdoor water sources. Leptospirosis, blue-green algae, and giardia can contaminate lakes, rivers, ponds, and puddles. Offer your pet the same clean water that you drink while at the cottage.
Pack up your sunscreen, your swimsuit, and your favourite furry fishing buddy. With a little awareness, a pet-safe, pet-friendly cottage summer awaits you!
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