By Debra Bell

Special to The Weekly

Dog owners love to travel with their pet and Maine’s a terrifically pet-friendly state. But before

taking Fido out and about, there are some basic things you should do to make it a successful

outing for you and your pup.

Head out prepared. Don’t just load into the car and go. Plan your trip according to what your pup will be able to handle. Carry water and a collapsible water bowl, poop bags and a small

emergency kit at a bare minimum. If it’s hot, consider scheduling your outing for early morning or

late afternoon.

Many beaches and parks in Maine are open to dogs, but even more restrict access for dogs and dog owners during certain hours of the day. Check with the recreation area you plan on

visiting with your pup to make sure you know the hours.

Ditto if you’re going on vacation and staying in a hotel or campsite. Make sure that it’s pet-

friendly before showing up and make responsible accommodations in case you need to go out.

Pup should always have someone with her to ensure she’s happy and behaving.

Leash up. Even if you think your dog is great off leash, it’s too easy for pup to get into trouble with other dogs or people who aren’t comfortable with dogs. Not everyone loves dogs and not all

dogs love other dogs. Keep your pup on a leash and close to you when other dogs are around so

you can decide who pup meets and when.

Ask before allowing your dog to greet. Brush up on your dog-to-dog introductions. It’s not  polite for dogs to greet face to face. Instead, encourage pup to sniff butts and greet calmly.

Training classes can really help in teaching you and pup how to have an enjoyable time outside.

Likewise, ask that anyone who wants to greet your dog ask your permission. This is especially

important for children. The public needs to respect your dog and its space as much as your dog

needs to respect them.

Stay up to date on vaccines and carry ID. Check in with your veterinarian to ensure your pup is up-to-date on her shots, especially rabies. Puppies, in particular, should avoid public places until their shot series is complete. Pup should always wear ID tags with up-to-date contact information, her dog license tag, rabies tag and microchip tag.

Specialty collar companies carry collars where the pet’s vital information is included on the collar. Orvis,, carries a QR code ID collar as well as collars where the pet’s name and

family’s phone number are embroidered onto the collar itself. Classic Hound carries an ID collar

where the pet’s information is engraved on a silver buckle and the collar comes in a variety of

styles. Learn more at

Clean up after your dog. If your dog drops a load, the responsible thing to do is to scoop it up in a disposable bag. Always carry dog poop bags or spare plastic shopping bags. Some city trails also include dog poop bags dispensers in case you forget. Few things sour a relationship between the public and pet owners than dog waste left where other people can step on it or other

dogs can eat it.

One of the best ways to always ensure you have a baggie with you is to get a leash bag holder.

Or consider getting a bag specially made to keep you organized and carry filled bags until you get to a trash can. Classic Hound, a Maine-based canine collar and accessory company, has some great products including the Double Duty Doodie Bag.

Don’t leave pup in the car. An 80-degree day can lead to a vehicle that is well over 100 degrees very quickly. Even if you’re just running inside to get a gallon of milk or to run an errand, if someone can’t wait in the vehicle with pup, don’t take her.

If you’re out and about and see a dog in a car, even with the windows cracked and it appears in

distress — excessive panting, drooling, crying — notify the establishment the car is parked in front of or call the police.

Bookmark this website for quick reference in case you see a pet in distress:


Debra Bell is a pet photographer and the owner of Bell’s Furry Friends Photography (a

division of Bell Imaging & Design LLC) and is a freelance writer. A Maine coon cat named

Olivia and a greyhound named Laura owns Debra and her husband Bill. Find out more

about BFF Photography at