Tag Archives: travelling with dogs

Why the Bruce Peninsula is a great place for dogs

Some of the best trips you can take with your dogs are those where they can participate in activities with you every step of the way. Even if it’s not clear whether your dog would be allowed, over the years my motto has become “just ask.”

We visited the Tobermory area in early October and benefited greatly from the post-summer and pre-fall period when there are far fewer people clamoring to get to spots such as the sparkling turquoise water of the grotto at Bruce Peninsula National Park and other attractions in the area. While some of the resort community businesses are starting to close down or shorten their hours in early October, we found it was a great trade off to be there when there fewer people. It was better to access attractions such as the park, but also because it was less hectic for the dogs and people were generally more welcoming of them being there. Spring and fall are recommended as best times to visit to avoid crowds. Long weekends and summer vacation time is the busiest and can make your visit less than enjoyable.

Our Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Angel, enjoyed the hike to the viewing area overlooking the grotto at Bruce Peninsula National Park.

A highlight was being able to take the dogs on one of the glass bottom boat tours that ferry visitors through the waters of the Fathom Five National Marine Park. Instead of buying tickets for the boat tour ahead of time, we approached the ticket booth at Blue Heron Boat Tours  the morning we wanted to go and asked if we could bring the dogs. A TripAdvisor review I had read before we left home indicated dogs were allowed on the boat. The tour operator told us that if the cruise wasn’t full that day they would let us on with the dogs. In a short time we were given the go-ahead and enjoyed the tour which goes around to the various sunken shipwrecks that have been there for  more than 125 years, and as you will see in this video from the company, to the beautiful Flowerpot Island. The dogs were able to go anywhere on board (on leash).

The Blue Heron cruises take visitors to see the shipwrecks and Flowerpot Island. We were able to take the dogs on this boat and then hike across Flowerpot Island.

To get to the island we departed the main cruise ship and boarded a zodiac to reach the shore of the island. From there we got off and stayed for about hours, hiking across the island, exploring the caves and let the dogs roam around the beach.

The grotto at Bruce Peninsula National Park is an incredible place to explore with your canine friends. The grotto is a scenic cave area featuring an incredible pool of blue water, located on the Georgian Bay shoreline. During high season (all summer) the parking lot for this park fills quickly but in 2018  the park introduced a reserve parking system allowing you to book a four-hour time slot, making planning your excursion much more enjoyable. We took the dogs on a hike to the Grotto. On the day we were there in early October there were very few people on the trial.

We stayed at Wireless Bay Cottages which allows dogs in several of its cottages. Our cabin featured a small front porch and access to the shoreline of Georgian Bay where we watched the Chi-Cheemaun ferry come in each day. From here we were able to walk to the village to check out various shops and restaurants.

Natural attractions such as the Bruce Peninsula offer endless opportunities to enjoy a restful and educational vacation while at the same time enjoying the company of your dogs.

Top 10 items for a canine first aid kit

Be prepared for the unexpected

Nothing can ruin a trip for you and your dog more than having a canine medical emergency when you’re far from home.

Over the years we’ve learned through experience, and a good pet first aid class I took a few years ago, that it could be helpful to have some basic knowledge and a few supplies handy in case of emergencies.

During a recent trip to our cottage four hours from home one of our younger dogs got into trouble via a container of cocoa powder. I thought taking ingredients to make Nanaimo bars at the cottage was a great idea — boy was I wrong! I hadn’t even made the pan of squares when Autumn decided powdered cocoa was irresistible.

I had packed the powdered baking cocoa in a plastic container and left it in a tote box full of dry goods in the kitchen, about three feet off the floor. Little did I realize the power chocolate had over a dog with a great sense of smell. Many dogs would not give powdered cocoa more than a passing glance, but Tollers are known for being gluttons and devouring anything that smells good. Loaves of bread are another item Autumn has enjoyed far too many times.

Usually we monitor the dogs very closely but one day when we went out for a short trip to the store Autumn sought out the tub of cocoa and dragged it into the TV room where she managed to get the lid off and spread the cocoa all over the floor and sofa cushions.

Autumn is fine now (she’s just a little sleepy here) but when she ate some cocoa powder on a recent trip the cottage we had to induce vomiting and consult a vet’s care.

As many will know, chocolate can be highly toxic to dogs. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder is considered most dangerous. Luckily, we estimated she had ingested the cocoa very recently but it was hard to know how much based on how much was spread all over the couch and floor and what was left in the tub.

Based on information we found online and from the vet we called we gave her a few tablespoons of 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide (available at most drug stores and grocery stores) and water and she soon began to vomit up the cocoa powder. As the vet in this video from Dog Health Insider explains,  the prescribed amount is one teaspoon for every 10 lbs of body weight. We fed it to her with a kitchen spoon but now pack a small plastic syringe in our pet first aid kit for such uses. A turkey baster can do the trick too. We just used a tablespoon with some water and she swallowed it fairly well. In a short time period

The dog should vomit within the next 15 to 20 minutes, aided by walking them around. She didn’t like the process at all, but it worked!

It’s also important to keep the time frame of consumption in mind. If it’s been two hours since the dog ingested the offending toxin it can be too dangerous to induce vomiting, or, if your pet has already started vomiting do not try to induce vomiting.

After Autumn had vomited several times, to be on the safe side we also took her to the vet, about a half hour away from our cottage, where she was given activated charcoal to induce further vomiting. She was fine and went on to be perfectly fine within a couple of hours, but having the peroxide in the first aid kit was a good first response to address the issue immediately.

We had called ahead to the vet to consult about the use of peroxide and to see if they were open. We have used Blue Sky Animal Hospital in North Bay more than once before so knew they would be great. One thing we have learned from past experiences is that having a list of vets in the area where you will be travelling is extremely helpful in addition to any information on any emergency clinics. In some small communities where emergency vet clinics do not operate, vets often share in taking on weekend “on-call” duties. I’ve spent a good amount of time some weekends calling around to clinics to see who is open. By checking out a few clinics ahead of time you can head out on your trip armed with that information, especially on holiday long weekends when many are not open.

In addition to hydrogen peroxide being a great item to have on hand for dogs and humans for minor first aid applications, it’s good to also have packed a kit of other items.

You can purchase pet first aid kits from pet stores and some animal welfare organizations — St. John Ambulance sells a good one for about $40. or make up your own with products from the drug store, pet stores or dollar store.

Some items to have in your travel pet first aid kit include medical tape, hydrogen peroxide, an elastic bandage, clotting powder for toenails that may become ripped, an ear cleaning solution and antiseptic ointment.
  • Disposable gloves to deal with wounds or other incidents
  • Elastic bandage to wrap wounds
  • First aid tape and gauze bandages
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Sharp scissors
  • Blanket or towel to keep them warm or lay on for treatment
  • Ice pack
  • Tweezers to remove debris from a wound or eye area
  • Antibiotic ointment

It’s also a good idea to pack copies of any pertinent medical/vaccination records and medications for your pet. It’s also good to have it handy if you need to visit an emergency clinic.

How about an afternoon of pints and pups?

The craft beer craze has taken Ontario by storm and in many instances we have found they often welcome well-behaved dogs, which means you can incorporate your canine friends in a tour of local breweries.

We first encountered this last spring on a trip to investigate Second Wedge Brewing Co. in Uxbridge, Ont. We had our newest Toller, Autumn in tow and were pleasantly surprised when they welcomed her inside. Second Wedge, like several breweries in the Greater Toronto Area, also has their own housedog Sadie.

Autumn came into Second Wedge Brewery with us to check out the brewery and enjoy a pint of Day Tripper.

Uxbridge is home to hundreds of kilometers of trails — part of the Durham Regional Forest Trail system. It has in fact been designated The Trail Capital of Canada, so you could begin your day with a hike nearby and finish with a cold pint at Second Wedge which has a wonderful outdoor patio area in addition to indoor seating.

Of special note is Market Brewing in Newmarket, Ont, a brewery that has put “Yappy Hour” on the calendar for several dates in 2018 including June 14, July 19, August 16, October 18 and December 13 from 4 to 8 p.m. Each Yappy Hour benefits a different charity and is hosted by a community organization in the brewery’s taproom. Market Brewing has green space behind its industrial location on Leslie Street so there is a good spot to air your dog if she needs to take a walk. You can also bring the kids and enjoy board games available onsite. Many craft breweries also offer some kind of snack onsite.

Drop by Market Brewing on June 14 for Yappy Hour!

We have also observed dogs hanging out with their people at Old Flame Brewing in Port Perry located in that town’s downtown core. There is good parking nearby.

On July 15th Old Flame and Second Wedge are teaming up for the 3rd Annual Pooch & a Pint from 12 to 4 p.m.. Show your support for a new animal for shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog. Receive a 12-ounce beer for a minimum donation of $10. As well on July 15 the Uxbridge Farmers’ Market is celebrating the Year of the Dog.

Sawdust City Brewery in Gravenhurst also welcomes dogs into their tasting space. Most craft breweries offer some kind of snack.

Market Brewing in Newmarket, Ont. hosts a ‘Yappy Hour’ once a month, inviting patrons to bring their dog to the brewery.

In Toronto’s east end, Left Field Brewery features Wrigley the Basset Hound as the head pooch in charge of customer relations.