Issue #32 – U.S. National Parks

The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. In general, national parks welcome pets in developed areas, on many trails and
campgrounds, and in some lodging facilities. Pets must be restrained either on a leash not exceeding 6 feet in length, caged or crated at all ti mes. Pets are not permitted in a public building, public transportation vehicle, or location designated as a swimming beach. Requirements for visiting a national park with your pet vary, so be sure to check each park’s regulations before you visit.

Tips for Bringing a Dog Hiking or Camping: If you plan to bring your dog with you to the national forest, first familiarize yourself with trail situations that can be hazardous for a dog, for the hiker, or for other trail users. Be sensitive to other visitors who are uncomfortable around a dog they do not know–especially large dogs. Unless your dog responds well to voice commands and is comfortable around people, keep it leashed while in parking lots and at busy trail heads. Update all vaccinations and provide flea and tick control for your pet. Also, make sure your dog has identification tattoos and/or tags in case you are separated while on your hike.

Dog Friendly Beaches in the U.S.: The beach is a wonderful place to spend ti me with your dog, and most dogs love playing on the sand and in the water. However, be aware there can be hazards for your pet at the beach. Before you take your dog to the beach please keep in mind the following:

Know which beaches are dog-friendly: Before you visit a beach learn the rules for bringing a pet with you. Most dog-friendly beaches require dogs to remain on leash, sometimes even in the water. Some beaches allow dogs only during the off -season, or only during certain ti mes of the day. Some beaches set aside a designated portion of the beach where dogs are allowed. Finally, some beaches are dedicated dog beaches where dogs are allowed off -leash.

Not all dogs can swim: Dogs will naturally start “dog paddling” when they find themselves in water, but that doesn’t mean that they can stay afloat for any length of ti me, that they like being in the water, or that they can safely swim. Make sure your dog doesn’t get overly tired, and be aware that puppies and older dogs tire more easily and seem less aware of their fatigue until it’s too late. Stay away from strong currents and areas with underwater debris that can entangle a dog.

Dogs feel the heat: Warm summer temperatures at the beach can pose a threat to a dog’s health. Make sure that your dog has a shady spot under a beach umbrella, tree or picnic bench. While you ensure your skin doesn’t get sun burnt, remember your pet. Dogs can burn too, especially if they have light skin and fur or short hair. Focus on the ears and nose. Take care of his/her hydration the same way as yours. Remember that the sand can be scorching on sensitive paws, so provide a blanket or towel for your dog’s comfort. Watch for signs of overheating in dogs, which include: excessive/rapid panting and drooling, coordination problems, vomiting and/or diarrhea, collapse. Heat stroke is a serious medical condition that requires immediate attention.

Don’t let your dog drink the water at ocean beaches: Salt water makes dogs sick – just like humans. And salt water can also damage your dog’s coat. Rinse dogs with fresh water after an ocean swim. And bring clean, fresh water for them to drink.

Never leave your dog unattended at the beach: Be aware that all sorts of items can be partially or fully hidden in the sand. Broken glass, rocks, hooks, coral, and garbage can pose a danger to your dog.

Always clean up after your dog: The number one reason for previously dog friendly beaches to ban dogs is because of irresponsible dog owners who don’t scoop the poop. Please help keep these beaches dog friendly!

U.S. National Parks Campgrounds – Pet Policies: In general, pets are permitted but must be restrained either on a leash not exceeding 6 feet in length, caged or crated at all ti mes. Check park regulations regarding camping with your pet. Some campgrounds permit pet camping only in designated sites. Please be aware of the pet policy of the campground you’re planning to visit.

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