When Pets go Missing at a Vacation Rental

11_april_dogs My son & his wife just spend a sleepless night as their beloved Beagle took off for a walkabout yesterday while they were both at work, and didn’t come home until the early hours of this morning. It brought to mind a frantic phone call we had one Saturday morning last year, from a renter at a vacation home we manage. They were packing up to leave for their 11am check out time when someone noticed the dog was missing. Elderly and deaf, it had wandered off into the bush at the back of the cottage and failed to return. Fortunately, the owners arrived an hour or so later to do the changeover & quickly organized a search party with a few neighbours & the dog was eventually found – not too far from the cottage but in an area the rental guests would not have thought of looking.

The last day of a rental is the time pets often go missing. It’s a little stressful – people are busy and the place is in turmoil as the car gets packed. My dog would be in the car from early morning – determined not to be left behind – but others may react differently, and owners get distracted & fail to check on where Fido is. A little reminder on the checkout list may be all it takes to prevent everyone getting involved in a pet search when owners want to get on with a changeover, and departing guests need to be on their way home. Something simple like this works:

Before starting to clean-up and pack, make sure your pet is secure or tethered & doesn’t wander off.

We also suggest that all dogs that come on vacation to our cottage are micro-chipped or wear the temporary ID tag we provide that has local telephone numbers on it.

This is not about being responsible for your guests’ pets; its more about being a responsible owner and covering all the bases. If you accept pets, there is always the risk they will stray and end up taking up your time, so if it requires a little thought and action on your part to prevent this happening, it’s well worth the extra effort and care.


Excellent Article! My family had a similar experience one week at a cottage in Port Carling… We were relaxing on the dock in the afternoon when we realized the dog was missing… We frantically began searching all over the place for about half an hour… Finally we found the dog fully asleep on the sand in the shade below the dock. TIP – dogs love shade…if ever you’re looking for your dog at the cottage check any possible shady area ( below the deck or dock … )


When I heard on Twitter that their dog was missing my heart went out to the family. I am so glad he is back safe and sound.

Many years ago my grandmother lost one of her dogs at a rest area on the way to Florida from Indiana. He jumped out of the car and ran like mad into some woods and she never saw him again. It broke her heart. I would hate to have to spend the rest of my days wondering what happened to one of my babies…

Thanks for taking the time to remind people just how easy bad things can happen.

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Losing a pet on vacation is a traumatic situation. Here at Hidden springs Resort we have been fortunate in that none of our guests have lost a pet while staying with us but we have had some close encounters with dogs and wildlife.
People need to realize that when they are vacationing in a new area, they need to be aware of hazards to their pets and take appropriate precautions.
It is heartbreaking to lose a pet. Please stay alert and be careful.

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