Boating with Pets

Every year, many people go boating with their pet. Here's how to make your boating experience with pets easier and safer.

Before you go

Call first to make sure that any marinas or parks will allow your pet.
Bring clean water and extra food and water in case of delays.
Discuss motion sickness with your vet.
Make certain your pet is comfortable on boats and in water.
Purchase a life vest for your pet and acclimate them to it.

On the boat

Never tie your pet to the boat. If the boat capsizes, your pet can drown.
Pets should wear life vests at all times. Remember, though, that a life vest is not a substitute for vigilance.
Stop and exercise your pet at least twice a day.
If you will be going for more than 3-4 hours without stopping on land, train your pet to eliminate onboard (AstroTurf or portable dog potties for dogs - litter boxes for cats).
Always continue to offer clean water during trip.
Make sure shade is always available to the pet.
Have a safe area for the pet where there are no falling objects that pose a threat. The area should have a surface for stable footing (a rubber-backed rug will be sufficient).
Create a soft nest for your pet with cushions and towels.
Store fuel and chemicals away from where your pet has access.
Cool your pet off with a swim if they can.

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Camping with Pets

Every year, 30 million people go camping with their pet. Here's how to make your camping experience with pets easier and safer.

  • Before you leave
  • While camping

Before you leave

Call the campground first to make certain pets are allowed. Ask about any necessary permits, vaccinations, health records, and fees. Inquire also to see what wildlife is in the area and to learn of the weather conditions and forecast.
Locate and make note of the nearest animal emergency hospital.
Reserve an isolated site if you have a pet likely to make noise if around others.
Try a short trip before a longer one. A couple of nights in the yard is a great practice run.
Pack extra towels to keep the tent or vehicle clean.
Bring a sleeping pad for your pet.

While camping

Learn the campground regulations and adhere to them.
Upon arrival and before setting up camp, take the pet for a walk so they can see their surroundings and know how to return to the campground if they inadvertently escape.
Set up a fresh water location for the pet. Make certain your pet has access to shade and the water at all times.
Keep an eye on the location of your pet's food so as not to attract bears and pets.
Keep your pet leashed at all times. Letting your pet wander into other campsites can cause him to get lost or become the subject of complaints.
Look for things like walking trails and planned activities that your pet may find enjoyable.
Don't let your pet get too close to a hot fire or utensils.
Never leave your pet tethered outside the tent. It can escape, be prey or stolen, or end up strangled.
If you leave your pet inside your RV, make sure the air conditioning is working and has plenty of fuel. Park in a shady spot and leave a few windows partially open in an escape-proof way. If possible leave a key with a campsite neighbor along with your cell phone number. Leave a radio or TV on to deal with anxiety. Make certain that door and window locks are properly functioning.
Do not let your pet dig at or around the campsite.
Clean up after your pet before leaving.


Incorrect or missing information? Please contact us and let us know.


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Preparing for Emergencies

It is important for you to be prepared for any emergency with your pets. Whether it's having the important phone numbers, knowing what do to be ready for an evacuation, or assembling a pet first aid kit at home, we've got you covered,

Emergency phone numbers
Evacuation preparedness
Pet first aid kit contents

Emergency phone numbers

To find the nearest animal emergency hospital 800-883-6301 (American Animal Hospital Association).
Animal Poison Control Center 888-426-4435 or 900-680-0000

Evacuation preparedness

Be prepared - evacuations can be ordered for hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and hazardous material spills.
Identify several pet-friendly lodging options nearby prior to any ordered evacuation.
If severe weather is approaching, bring your pet indoors early so that they do not run away after detecting weather change.
Always bring your pet with you in an evacuation. Pets left behind can run away or die.
If you are forced to evacuate, attempt to do so as early as possible.
Keep dogs on a leash and cats in a carrier at all times during the evacuation.
Keep a kit packed with the necessary items to bring:

  • Food for seven days. We suggest bringing single feeding cans as there may not refrigeration. Bring a can opener if needed. Rotate food every three months.
  • Water for seven days. Figure dogs need one gallon per day and cats one quart per day. Rotate water every two months.
  • Food/water bowls
  • Medications for two weeks
  • Leashes and an extra collar
  • Bedding
  • Toys
  • First aid kit
  • Carrier/crate
  • Litter and a litter box for cats

Pet first aid kit contents.

1 Trauma pad, 5" x 9"
7 Gauze pads, 3" x 3"
1 Gauze roll, 2"
1 Gauze roll, 4"
Latex or nitrile glove
Stretch vet-wrap
First aid tape
Absorbent cotton
Cotton applicators or Q-tips
Bandage scissors
Instant cold pack
Alcohol wipes
Antiseptic/iodine wipes
Hydrogen peroxide
Sterile eyewash
Antibiotic ointment
Styptic pencil
Emergency blanket (space/reflective type)
Petroleum or KY jelly
Benadryl or equivalent
Enteric (buffered coated) aspirin - never ibuprofen or acetaminophen
Dishwashing liquid
Pet first aid book


Incorrect or missing information? Please contact us and let us know.


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Outdoors with Pets

There's nothing more fun than a jaunt outdoors with your pet. Here's how to make your outing easier and safer.

Before you go

Contact the area to see if a permit is needed and obtain one if you need to.
Learn about the available hikes in the area so you don't exceed your pet's abilities.
Check the weather, terrain, wildlife, and trail conditions. Pay close attention to the weather forecast as conditions can change quickly.
If you are going to use a pack for your pet, acclimate your pet to it first.
Pack extra food and water for your pet in case of delays.
If hunting is in season, make sure to put a bright orange or red scarf on your pet.
Even if you do not plan on keeping your pet leashed, bring a leash. You never know when you will need it.
Carry bear spray if you will be in bear country.

Enjoying the outdoors

Follow all rules.
Even if not required, we strongly recommend keeping your pet leashed to avoid its temptation to exploring motions and scents causing its escape.
If you are using a pet pack and going by creeks, seal the contents in bags.
Pack out everything you pack in.
Have your pet defecate off the trails.
Don't allow your pet to trample vegetation, dig, or chase or hunt wildlife.
Don't allow your pet to run up to people or challenge other pets.
Step off the trail to let horses or people pass.
Don't allow your dog to bark unnecessarily.
Watch for effects of heat and carry 8 ounces of water for every hour of planned hiking. Always give water.
Don't allow pets to drink from sea or surface water as it may be contaminated. Watch for symptoms of giardia such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating, and loss of appetite.
Avoid hiking from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., the hottest part of the day. This is particular important in June through August.
Allow 1/3 of your total time to hike down and 2/3 to hike up.

National lands

Rules vary depending on the type of national land.

  • National forests. Pets generally not required to be leashed unless it is a designated wilderness area. Required to be on leash in developed recreation sites.
  • National grasslands. Pets generally allowed.
  • National historic site. Pets generally allowed.
  • National historical parks. Pets generally allowed.
  • National monuments. 6 foot leash generally required. Pets cannot be unattended at campsite, car, or trailhead. Pets allowed in campgrounds and picnic areas. Pets are not allowed on trails.
  • National parks. 6 foot leash generally required. Pets cannot be unattended at campsite, car, or trailhead. Pets allowed in campgrounds and picnic areas. Pets are not allowed on trails.
  • National recreation areas. Pets generally allowed.
  • National seashores. Generally not allowed on trails, but permitted on beaches.
  • National wildlife refuges. Generally allowed with leash on trails.


After any outdoor activity, check your pet for burrs and seeds.
Cactus, stinging nettle, and thorns - For obvious reasons, make sure pets steer clear of these.
Foxtails - These can be lethal if they get stuck in your pet. Make sure you check your pet from head to toe for these after coming inside. They can stick in pet's eyes, nose, ears, between toes, or in the mouth. Once stuck if left intact they will work their way in to your pet.
Mushrooms - Be careful. Many of these can be toxic to pets if ingested.
Poison ivy, oak, and sumac. - If your pet contacts, do not pet them until they have been bathed. Bath any pet that has contacted these with rubber gloves to avoid transfer to you.
Hazardous plants. The following are widely considered to be hazardous to pets and contact with your pet should be avoided.

  • Aloe Vera
  • Amaryllis
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azalea
  • Begonia
  • Castor Bean
  • Daffodil
  • Dieffenbachia
  • False Jerusalem Cherry
  • Foxglove
  • Geranium
  • Hydrangea
  • Iris
  • Jack in the Pulpit
  • Lantana
  • Lily including Calla, Easter, English, and Lily of the Valley
  • Mistletoe
  • Oleander
  • Philodendron
  • Poinsettia
  • Rhubarb
  • Rosary Pea
  • Scheffelera
  • Tulip
  • Yew

Summer and warm weather

Be particularly careful if you have an old or young pet as they are more sensitive to heat. Flat-faced pets like Pekingese, Persians, and Pugs are particularly vulnerable.
Stay within your pet's heat tolerance and make certain to ease your pet back in to your summer exercise routine gradually.
Watch for signs of heat stress - flushing of inside of ears, heavy panting, thickened saliva, and thirst. If you notice these, reduce activity and cool pet down.
Heat stroke is a true emergency. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, high body temperature, rapid breathing, vomiting, and ultimately collapse. If you believe that your pet has heat stroke:

  • Get into the shade.
  • Submerge your pet briefly in cool (not ice) water or gently hose down or wrap in cool, wet towels.
  • Encourage but do not force water.
  • See a vet as soon as possible.

Limit exposure to the sun and particularly avoid the hours from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Light-skinned and pink-nosed pets can get sunburn especially easily. Use sunscreen particularly on ears, nose, and any shaved spots 30 minutes before going outside. Special pet sunscreen is available.
Always provide shade and water. Remember that shade always moves.
Unless recommended by your vet, do not shave your pet's hair. The hair serves as insulation from the heat.
Do keep your pet's hair brushed so it can breathe. Also keep it clear of mats and tangles.
Change your pet's water more frequently as bacteria breed more rapidly in warm weather.
Let your pet walk through a sprinkler or a kiddy pool with a few inches of water. Never leave a pet unattended near a filled kiddy pool as small pets can drown in there.
Make sure any paved surface or sand you are going on is not too hot for your pet's paws.

Wildlife encounters

  • Big cats (cougars and mountain lions) - Maintain eye contact, try to make loud noises and make yourself appear as large as possible. Slowly back away. Throw sticks and rocks. Do not run away. If attacked, fight back.
  • Black bears - Do not run away from bear. Stand and face the bear, make eye contact without staring. Speak quietly and walk backwards. Do not block the bear's escape route. If the bear charges, stand your ground and spray with pepper. If the bear attacks, play dead.
  • Coyotes - Be careful as coyotes will often try and lure dogs into pack.
  • Insects - If there are biting insects in the area, apply a bug repellant to your pet. If a bee stings your pet and their face begins to swell or they experience trouble breathing, call a vet immediately.
  • Black Widow spiders, centipedes, and scorpions can all cause dangerous and painful bites to your pet.
  • Moose - If you see a moose, do not stare it down. Turn around and go elsewhere.
  • Porcupines - If your pet is attacked, make certain to remove the quills quickly as an infection can begin very soon. If possible, take your pet to a vet for quill removal. If you are not able to get to a vet right away, use wire cutters to cut all but one inch off the quill and then use a pliers to yank each out quickly. Make sure to check the pet's mouth for any you may have missed.
  • Rattlesnakes - If you hear a rattle, hold your pet back. Back away. If your pet is bitten get it to a hospital or vet with as little physical movement as possible – try not to allow pet to walk. Encourage bleeding.
  • Skunks - If your pet is sprayed, we recommend a solution of one quart hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and one tablespoon of dish soap. Mix well and apply all over, keeping away from eyes. Let soak for three minutes and then rinse. Follow up with a shampoo.
  • Ticks - Very small and can be hard to see - the size of a pinhead. Can carry Lyme disease and transmit to your pet within 36-48 hours of initial bite. If your pet becomes lethargic, feverish, lame, or experiences a loss of appetite, see your vet. Can also carry Canine Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Use preventative (collar, ointment, or shampoo) your vet has recommended. If in wooded areas, stay in middle of trails away from tall grass and bushes. Always check your pet all over after being outside in areas with ticks. Give extra attention to ears and area between toes. To remove a tick, use tweezers. Avoid leaving part of the tick in your dog or squeezing the tick. If tick was attached, clean the area with hydrogen peroxide and apply a topical antibiotic.
  • Toads - Contain toxins. If your pet bites a toad, contact your vet immediately.

Winter and cold weather

Be particularly careful if you have an old or young pet as they are more sensitive to cold.
Remember that you can exercise your pet indoors as well!
Be even more vigilant about using leashes during winter as snow and ice can cause pets to lose their scent and become lost.
Do not use metal choke or prong collars in cold weather. We do not recommend using them in any weather but pets can have health issues related to cold weather use.
For very little or short-haired pets, consider a sweater or other clothing.
Watch for hypothermia
Low body temperature, decreased breathing rate, shivering, weakness, and lethargy are all signs.
If you believe your pet is affected, move it to a shelter or inside and wrap it in a sleeping bag or blankets and gently rub. Seek veterinary assistance.
Do not use an electric heating pad.
Pets can get frostbite. Ears, legs, paws, and tails are the most common areas. Frostbitten skin is red or gray.
Use booties to prevent ice from forming between your pet's toes. If you do not use booties and ice has formed, paws can be dipped in warm water to remove.
Rinse your pet's paws when they have walked on surfaces with salt or deicers. If they have been on these surfaces, do not let your pet lick its paws before you rinse them.
Avoid having pets outside for prolonged periods when temperature is below 20 degrees.
Snow is not a source of drinking water. Make sure your pet has access to fresh water and use caution when placing metal bowls out in freezing weather as pet's tongues can stick.
Watch closely for antifreeze, spilled or stored. Very tiny amounts can be fatal in a very short amount of time. If you suspect your pet has ingested an amount, seek veterinary help immediately. Drunkenness or vomiting are two symptoms of this poisoning.
Be on the lookout for predators. Normally shy animals could come out for food.
Be careful around ponds, streams, and lakes. Pets can drown in water that is only partially frozen.
Avoid backcountry walks due to avalanche danger.
Dry your pet thoroughly after cold weather outdoor fun.
Watch out for dry skin. To help keep skin moisturized, cut back on baths, increase brushing, and increase fat in diet. Use a moisturizing shampoo in your pet's bath.


Incorrect or missing information? Please contact us and let us know.


Publishing rights: You may republish this article in your website, newsletter, or book on the condition that you agree to attribute the article to "Takeyourpet.com - the place to find pet friendly lodging"



Selecting Care for Your Pet

There are thousands of boarding kennels and pet sitters but how can you know which you can trust with your pet? Here's how to make your selection process easier.

Pet Sitters


Get recommendations from your friends and vet.
Check the Better Business Bureau listings
Make certain to call to discuss your pet's specific needs.


Contact the facility.
Confirm that sick patients are kept separate from general population.
Inquire about veterinary services used at the facility.
Make sure vaccination requirements are enforced.
Ask about any required medication administration.
Inquire about bedding arrangements. It is important that pets have somewhere else to sleep besides a concrete floor.
Ask about exercise options.
Learn the hours of operation, including pickup and drop-off.
Inquire as to after-hours checks and staffing.
Make inspection visit.
Note the general appearance of the facility and whether the pets there seem well cared for.
Verify size of run is appropriate.
Note security of runs and play areas.
Check safety of barrier between run and neighboring runs.
Check sanitation procedures – no dirt, feces, odors, or parasites.
Confirm that there is a schedule for cleaning.
Individual water containers should be available to all pets and checked and changed frequently.
Outside play areas should be free of odors.
Make sure staff is competent to monitor your pet to recognize signs of illness and distress.
Make sure climate control is adequate and runs are protected from the elements.
Check lighting and ventilation to ensure they are maintained at a comfortable level.
If the kennel offers daycare or group play:
Ask about temperament testing and segregation.
Make sure pets have shade and water available to them.
Ensure staffing levels are adequate.
Verify the play area is not overcrowded.
If possible, observe the dogs playing and make sure they get along.
Confirm that introductions are done properly.
Make sure that pets are not allowed to wear metal choke chains or prong collars.

Pet Sitters

Make sure calls are returned promptly. Any sign of irresponsibility, such as returning phone calls tardily is a bad sign.
Have a face-to-face meeting with the potential sitter.
If the pet sitter is an agency, inquire as the background checks performed on prospective employees.
Ask what type of experience the sitter has with your type of pet.
Ask how much time will be spent with your pet and whether medication administration needs can be met.
Get at least three references.
Ask if the sitter is insured and/or bonded.
Try a one or two day trial run before leaving on a longer trip.
Once you do have one hired, put the terms of the sitter's engagement in writing.
Before you leave:
Leave detailed instructions with locations of pet's supplies, medication and other needs, phone number of vet and animal emergency hospital, and your contact information.
Make sure your home is set up securely as your pet may try to escape from those it does not know.


Incorrect or missing information? Please contact us and let us know.


Publishing rights: You may republish this article in your website, newsletter, or book on the condition that you agree to attribute the article to "Takeyourpet.com - the place to find pet friendly lodging"




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