Summer is well underway and many of our pet owners are planning trips to cottage country. There is nothing better than savouring these relaxing moments with family, friends and our animal companions.

We are proactive about keeping your pets healthy, but cottage country or rural areas requires you to take extra precautions when heading up to the cottage.

Remember these helpful tips to keep your getaway enjoyable for you and your pets.

The Trip

Summer days can be hot and your pet can feel the stress of a long ride. Prepare ahead to make the trip comfortable and safe for your animals.

Control the temperature

Use the air conditioning to keep the heat down. Never leave your pet alone inside the vehicle; it takes only minutes for an animal to develop heatstroke. Also, remember that while your dog may want to travel with their heads out the car window, heavy traffic and sudden stops can lead to injuries.

Take regular breaks

Plan to take rest stops every two to four hours for exercise, bathroom and water breaks. Bring a litter box for cats. Staying hydrated is important. Also, remember to attach your dog’s leash before opening the car door – accidental escapes in heavy traffic areas can be tricky.

Around the Cottage

Your pets probably see the cottage as an outdoor space to have fun, explore and be free. And it should be fun. However, safety is still a concern. Wandering around in cottage country, your pets can get surprised by traffic, get lost in the wilderness or encounter wildlife.

Keep your pet on the cottage property

Your pet could easily get lost in wooded area, so keep them close by. Make sure the pet is microchipped and tagged with the cottage address and phone number. That way, if they wonder off, they can be returned to you easily.

Protect your pet from wildlife

Encounters with porcupines or skunks can leave your pet with injuries, and encounters with wolves or bears can be deadly. Keep your pet on a leash when exploring outdoor areas to prevent them from any unwanted encounters.

Health Concerns

The great outdoors is beautiful, but it can also present problems for our animals.

Protect against parasites

Fleas and ticks are real problems in cottage country. Speak with our office about flea and tick medications.

Make sure vaccines are up-to-date

Before you go, check with our office about whether your vaccines are up-to-date, particularly the rabies vaccines.

On the Water

Many dogs love the water, but be careful about getting carried away. The water presents hazards your dog may not be used to.

Watch your dog swimming

Moving water can be dangerous, and currents can make it difficult for dogs to swim. Your dog may not realize how tired she is getting or how far out she has travelled. Call your dog in to shore while she’s still having fun.

Use safety gear

Safety gear is not just for humans – there are life jackets for pets too. Even good swimmers can get stuck in rough waters or if they jump overboard far from shore. A proper life jacket will keep pets and human afloat if anything happens.

Stay in safe waters

Keep your dogs in waters that are known to be safe for recreational use.

Dogs ingesting water could pick up intestinal bugs such as giardia, or bacteria including E. Coli, salmonella and Campylobacter, just to name a few, or other gastrointestinal viruses. Some may only show mild vomiting or diarrhea while others may develop severe life-threatening illnesses.

Similarly, contaminated water may also cause or promote skin and ear infections. In these cases, you should regularly monitor their skin problems, possibly more frequent shampooing and towel drying, and regular ear cleansing.

You can do a “smell test” – if your pet’s skin or ears smell bad, it may be due to an infection.

Please be aware of these conditions and prevent your animals from swimming in waters that are not known to be safe.

Be Prepared

We would love to join you for our getaway, but we can’t, so please find the telephone number and address for a veterinary clinic near the cottage and keep that information handy.

It’s just that extra piece of mind knowing you are prepared and you and your pet can relax and enjoy getaway together.