May 252013


Discover the Vineyard on Four Legs

Best friend, copilot, family member, little (or big) helper. No matter what your pup means to you, there’s no reason to leave your four-legged counterpart behind when visiting the Vineyard.

People come to the Vineyard to be with the special people in their lives in this special place,” says Kerry Scott, owner of Good Dog Goods in Oaks Bluffs, “it’s where we bring our children, our friends and family…our dogs!”

Whether it’s a day trip or an extended stay on your itinerary, your dog CAN share in the beaches and parks, woods and ponds, harbor walks and conservation trails.


“We gather here because of the staggering physical beauty of the Island,” says Scott, “and because
it affords us many opportunities to kick back, slow down, enjoy doing the simple things or nothing at all. Dogs are members of the family, it makes perfect sense that our dogs would join us here, doesn’t it?!”

“Those who enjoy bringing their dogs along on vacation aren’t willing to risk losing the privilege. It is a privilege and it enhances our travel experience, so we all take care not to do anything to wear out our welcome” -Kerry Scott

Sharing the love: Eat outside. Most restaurants with outdoor seating allow leashed, well-behaved dogs to dine with their owners; many even feature water bowls. Stop by the bakery at Good Dog Goods in Oak Bluffs to give your pup’s taste buds a treat.

Crates are great. Many hotels and inns allow four-legged guests though few condone unaccompanied pets in rooms (but check because you may be able to use a crate and leave a phone number at the front desk or ask for petting sitting recommendations).

Play! Run! Swim! The island offers perfectly preserved conservation lands, a state forest, public parks, quaint sidewalks, expansive dog parks, welcoming beaches. Keep ‘em leashed where posted and the opportunities are endless (dogs are allowed to run free on the Land Bank Tradewinds Airport property in Oak Bluffs).

“Prepare” says Scott, “just as [you] would having young children, elderly parents, ill friends – anyone who requires a little extra attention or advance preparation in order to assure their pleasure in being on the Vineyard.”

A few suggestions:
Bring your own dog food. Stores on the island don’t have as broad a selection as those you’ll find on the mainland and will close a lot earlier too.

Bring towels. Your dog WILL get dirty. Beaches, trails, sidewalks; hotel staff, landlords, and friendly hosts and hostess won’t appreciate the mess.

Keep water on hand. Adventuring and the salty sea make for one thirsty pup. Keep yours hydrated and comfortable. Consider the heat. Never leave your pup in a car anywhere, windows down or not. Heat can kill.

“Any visitor that comes here that’s planning on taking their dog anywhere rural at all, any of the trails nature preserves, land bank, beaches, dog parks, anywhere,” says Dr. Steven Atwood, “should come with [or acquire] tick protection.”

What to do:
Apply tick protection before heading to the island. Or visit a local vet’s office or pet supply store and get one ONCE you get here. Ticks act rather fast so early prep is best, and is easy with a quick topical.

Use your eyes. Be sure to check your pup after every outdoor excursion, no matter how brief. Ticks are everywhere and are often hard to spot; vigilance will keep your dog healthy.

Tell your vet where you’ve been. Always let your vet know that you’ve been to the Vineyard and your pup exposed to ticks. This background will make for accurate diagnosis and decisionmaking and ensure the better care of your pet.

Emergency #s:
Animal Health Care Associates (508-693-6515)
Vineyard Vet Clinic (508-627-5292)
Caring for Animals Mobile Vet (508-696-5897)

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