If you love to travel with your pet, here are some suggestions on where to go
By Kim Campbell Thornton
Andrews McMeel Syndication
Some of my favorite trips have been with my dogs. We’ve been to cities, resort towns, national parks, wineries and beaches galore. Summer is almost over, but it’s not too late to plan a last-minute dog-friendly trip or a future vacation. Drawing on my own experiences and recommendations from dog-loving friends, here are some places to check out.
Camp is the classic dogcentric vacation, and 30-year-old Camp Gone to the Dogs is the original. Located in Front Royal, Virginia, it welcomes puppies to seniors and offers dog sports training using positive reinforcement techniques and just plain fun activities for people and dogs alike. Upcoming dates are Oct. 21-26, 2023; May 4-9, 2024; and Oct. 19-24, 2024. (camp-gone-tothe-dogs.com)
Camp Dogwood in Lake Delton, Wisconsin, is another place where dogs and people can hone their sports, training and play skills. Spring camp has already happened for 2023, but fall camp is Oct. 26-29. (campdogwood.com)
If a hotel stay is more your style, look into the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, which is near a dog-friendly beach and permits leashed dogs at its Sun Deck and Beach & Taco Shack restaurants. Put on your shades and your dog’s Doggles, and live the life of a star -- for a while, anyway.
Two other favorites are dog lover Doris Day’s Cypress Inn in Carmel, California -- seconded by many dog lovers -- and the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole. Dogs can enjoy afternoon tea with their people in Cypress Inn’s lobby, and we enjoyed sitting by the Four Seasons’ fireplace with Harper during a chilly late spring visit to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.
But you don’t have to spend big bucks at luxury properties. Arizona resident Maryna Ozuna likes to vacation in San Diego with her medium-size to large dogs. They stay at Ocean Villa Inn, which Ozuna describes as a “funky ‘50s hotel” that’s right on Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, California. It’s also near the San Diego River, with miles of riparian corridor for dog-friendly hiking. A dog-washing station at the gate makes for easy cleanup, and favorite restaurants are within walking distance.
Dorothy Guertin and her dog Sassy stayed at a vintage ‘70s motel -- Sugar Loaf Lodge -- in Sedona, Arizona, where we spent some time with Harper last year. Sedona is dog-friendly, and it’s surrounded by great hiking. Local Jeep tours of the red rocks and adventure and winery tours allow dogs, and plenty of restaurants welcome them at outdoor seating.
National parks with pet-friendly trails include the Grand Canyon’s Rim Trail, all trails at West Virginia’s New River Gorge and Arizona’s Petrified Forest, and many trails at Maine’s Acadia National Park.
Going overseas? You can’t just bring your dog on the spur of the moment, but if you’ve done the testing and paperwork, many European countries give dogs a pawsome welcome. Debby Bradford and her cavalier King Charles spaniel, Dazzle, have spent the past three months exploring London, Scotland, Portugal and Paris. They’ve stayed primarily in Airbnbs and used public transportation to get around on their tightly budgeted trip.
To explore a different country without going overseas, consider Canada. We discovered on a previous visit that Vancouver was paradise for our three cavaliers, who walked miles with us through Stanley Park. For glorious scenery, check out Lake Louise in Banff, British Columbia. Stay at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise if money is no object or at one of the many Airbnb rentals for a more budget-friendly option.
Finally, take your housing and your pet with you with an RV, recommends retired veterinarian Kelly Byam. Then you can stay when and where you want with no pet fees or other worries.
“Our dog who really hated traveling by car and whined the whole time was perfectly content to travel by RV,” Byam says. “Our dogs are always eager to go with us in the RV because they know it means we will be together almost 24/7.”
Keep birds safe
Q: I’m painting the interior of my house soon. What’s the best way to protect my bird?
A: You’re smart to take that into consideration. Birds have delicate respiratory systems that can be adversely affected by paint fumes. And fumes aren’t the only concern. Here’s what to know.
Look for paint that is low in VOCs -- volatile organic compounds. They’re the molecules that cause the smell of fresh paint. Paint with high levels of VOCs can produce toxic fumes that you don’t want your bird to inhale. Be aware that colorants added to paint can have high levels of VOCs and that paint labeled zero-VOC can still contain up to 5 grams per liter -- or more once tinted. Ask at the paint store to be sure you make the best choice for your bird’s safety.
Another reason to consider paint safety is that it’s not unusual for birds to scratch or chew at baseboards or other painted surfaces -- my writing colleague Kim Campbell Thornton knows that from personal experience. You don’t want them ingesting potentially toxic paint, so ask about safety.
The best way to protect birds during painting is to board them with their avian veterinarian or at a bird-savvy boarding facility or with a pet sitter who keeps animals in their own home. You may also have a friend, neighbor or relative who’s willing to care for them for a few days.
If that’s not possible, move the birds to another room where you can close the door to protect them from fumes. The room being painted should be well-ventilated (windows open, fan running) while painting is taking place. An air cleaner with a special VOC filter is also a good idea. Wait until paint is thoroughly dry, which can take a few days, before moving birds back into the room. -- Dr. Marty Becker
Do you have a pet question? Send it to email@example.com or visit Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker.
Know signs of
plague in pets
-- A cat in Fremont County, Wyoming, was diagnosed last month with plague. The serious bacterial infection can affect pets and people and should be treated immediately with antibiotics. Plague -- spread by fleas coming from infected animals -- typically occurs in rural areas, in particular northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, southern Colorado, California, southern Oregon and far western Nevada, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Signs of plague in pets include enlarged lymph glands; swelling in the neck, face or around the ears; fever; chills; lack of energy; coughing; vomiting; diarrhea; and dehydration. Take pets to the veterinarian immediately if they show these signs, especially if they spend time outdoors and aren’t on a flea-control preventive.
-- Pets who shows signs of compulsive behaviors such as tail chasing, sucking on wool or other fabric, pacing or chewing at themselves may be experiencing mental stress, says Ashley Navarrette, DVM, a clinical veterinarian at Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. When those behaviors prevent pets from having a normal daily routine or lead to physical harm, seek the advice of a veterinary behaviorist who can rule out medical conditions and help you develop a management plan. Never scold pets when compulsive behaviors occur, but redirect them if possible and praise them when they’re behaving normally. Enhancing the pet’s environment with puzzle toys, calming pheromones, scent work games or other dog sports, and regular walks can also help, as can medication combined with behavior modification.
-- Unless you frequent dog shows, you might never have seen a schipperke (pronounced “skipper-kee”). The uncommon dogs have a foxy face, prick ears and a thick black double coat with a ruff around the neck. The small but active dogs weigh 10 to 16 pounds, are great at dog sports and have take-charge personalities. -- Dr. Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker.
ABOUT PET CONNECTION
Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet care experts. Veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker is founder of the Fear Free organization, co-founder of VetScoop.com and author of many best-selling pet care books. Kim Campbell Thornton is an award-winning journalist and author who has been writing about animals since 1985. Mikkel Becker is a behavior consultant and lead animal trainer for Fear Free Pets. Dr. Becker can be found at Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker or on Twitter at DrMartyBecker. Kim Campbell Thornton is at Facebook.com/Kim.CampbellThornton and on Twitter at kkcthornton. Mikkel Becker is at Facebook.com/MikkelBecker and on Twitter at MikkelBecker.