Ask your canine companion, and you’re not looking for the answer, you’re looking for the reaction. That over-the-top enthusiasm that screams yes! Yes! Oh, that’s the best idea EVER!! And why wouldn't your dog want to be with you?
It’s no surprise to find pet owners (more than half, according to one recent study) traveling with a four-legged friend, and even planning vacations to center on, or at least to include the household’s resident canine.
If you’re a dog owner with travel plans for Jim Thorpe, PA, there’s good news; the area can be especially pet friendly, and with a bit of foresight and preparation, can make a great destination for you and your dog.
Countless residents, visitors, and their pets enjoy splashing in mountain lakes or hiking countless miles of pet-friendly trails, where fresh air and exercise benefit man and beast alike.
For beautiful scenery and miles of trails, both Lehigh Gorge State Park and Hickory Run State Parks allow pets. The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor is a 165 miles trail from Bristol to Wilkes Barre, PA that follows along the Lehigh River in Jim Thorpe Well-mannered pets are welcome in all state parks and state forests. Leashes are required on trails and must be cleaned up after.
Mauch Chunk Lake Park, has picnic areas and the historic Switchback Trail which are both open to leashed pets. Dogs on boats are exempt from leash requirements in Pennsylvania.
The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway based in downtown Jim Thorpe offers spectacular views on 1920s-era train rides, welcomes well-behaved dogs aboard for free!
Many private campgrounds, hotels, and short term rentals (i.e. Airbnb) welcome pets as much as their owners, though sometimes for an additional fee. Check out High Street Guest House, located within walking distance of downtown Jim Thorpe. Each space provides a restful retreat after a busy day of site-seeing, hiking, shopping, or enjoying one of the many local activities occurring throughout the year and is completely pet-friendly.
If you are hungry after a day of adventure, several Jim Thorpe restaurants are pet-friendly. Marion Hose Bar, Myst, and Molly Maquires Pub all offer pet-friendly outdoor dining areas. For traditional coffee from a hot and fresh classic drip to a tasteful butterbeer latte and a bowl of water for your pooch, check out Muggle’s Mug.
A day trip spent hiking the trails, checking out the sites and sounds (and smells) of town, or a week-long camping adventure can be equally enjoyable, provided you follow a few tips to keep everyone happy and safe.
Start with the common sense stuff, like a visit with your veterinarian. Be sure to let the doctor know your travel plans, so he can advise on possible disease risks that most indoor dogs don’t face, and other precautions to take.
“Cuts and scratches are the most common problems we see when dogs spend a lot of time hiking here,” says Dr. Frank Bostick, director of two northeast Pennsylvania veterinary hospitals. “You need to pay special attention to the pads on the bottoms of their feet. Cuts there can be hard to treat.”
Lyme disease, spread through the bite of a small tick, can be a more serious threat. “Visitors from outside the area should know the disease is prevalent here, and they should vaccinate for it,” Bostick warns. “It’s the easiest thing you can do and it offers great protection.”
Pennsylvania law requires dog owners to maintain current rabies vaccinations for all dogs (and cats) over three months of age. Resident dogs must be licensed, and if you’re visiting from another state where this is a requirement, then your dog must be licensed here as well.
Displaying the license on your dog’s collar may help to identify the animal is lost. But nothing can substitute for a sturdy identification tag, worn at all times.
Remember that if your dog gets lost at home, she may recognize the area, and eventually find her way back to you. Likewise, your neighbors, local police, even the mailman may help to reunite you with a wayward pet. But any dog lost while on vacation is in unfamiliar territory, and among strangers. This makes proper I.D. tags all the more important.
To further help find your dog is lost, keep a current photograph on hand. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it to create and post “Lost Dog” fliers, but better to have it and not need it, than the other way around.
Your pet’s picture, vaccination records, and contact information for your regular veterinarian are important tools in a canine emergency kit. Other items that may come in handy during periods of unpredictable Pocono weather or snarled traffic include an extra portion of your dog’s regular diet, water from home with a travel dish, a blanket, and an extra leash.
Having a leash is crucial, if only because that simple strand of nylon is the cheapest, most effective way to ward off so many potential disasters. Below is a sampling of the native plants and animals that may be of concern should your pet encounter them, along with advice on how to best handle each. In every case, a leash is the safest and surest way to control your animal in what might be an otherwise uncontrollable situation.
Black Bears – The good news is that Pennsylvania’s only species of bear is well known for avoiding dogs if given the chance, either by turning tail to run or by climbing the nearest tree. The bad news is that bears grow to record size in the Poconos, where food and prime habitat are plentiful. Even the largest dog is no match for a 500-pound bear that decides, for whatever reason, to stand and fight.
Deer – Perhaps the biggest danger here is your dog’s innate desire to chase things that run – because run is exactly what a deer will do. Pets may become lost while chasing wildlife, and owners can be fined if their pets are found harming or harassing wildlife.
Venomous Snakes – Timber rattlesnakes and copperheads are found in small pockets throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. Because of their smaller size, dogs are more at risk from snake bites than their owners. Use caution in remote, rocky areas throughout warm weather months, and seek veterinary attention quickly if your pet is bitten. A six-foot leash and your attention to the trail are your best defenses.
Groundhogs – Common in agricultural areas, these large rodents don’t often back down in stand-offs against dogs and other animals. They can inflict nasty bites and are considered a rabies risk.
Skunks –Infamous for its unique means of defense, the skunk can aim to spray a pungent musk from more than ten feet away. A full-on dose of musk is reserved for when the animal feels most threatened, as by a nearby barking dog. Tomato juice can help neutralize the odor, as can shampoos or sprays designed specifically for such a situation. These are available in most pet stores.
You can bathe your dog in an inexpensive yet effective homemade skunk-off liquid, made with a quart of hydrogen peroxide, a quarter cup of baking soda, and a few drops of dish liquid. Seek veterinary care if your dog is sprayed in the eyes, especially if you notice swelling or irritation.
Porcupines – Here again, the six-foot leash comes in handy; contrary to popular belief, porcupines cannot “shoot” their quills, so giving the animal a wide berth may be all you need to do.
What if your dog tangles with one of these slow-moving rodents? “Don’t cut those quills!” advises Bostick, who regularly removes the needle-like hairs from unlucky dogs. “Those quills slowly work their way into the tissue between the skin and muscle. Cut them, and they disappear under the skin.”
The best thing to do is to pull them out in one piece, says Bostick. “A few quills probably aren’t an issue. But if there’s a lot or if they’re down in the mouth – if you have any questions – be safe and find a vet.”
Poison Ivy – Though there is a risk of irritation, the harmful oils of this plant often cannot penetrate a dog’s thick fur. However, the oil can linger on your pet’s coat, and be transferred to you. It’s best to learn to identify and avoid the plant.
Wildlife droppings – For reasons known only to them, some dogs love to roll about in wild animal waste. They may also find deer or turkey feces tasty, and ingestion can lead to parasitic infections. Control your pet with a leash and avoid such unpleasantries.
Hunting seasons – Pennsylvania leads the nation in deer hunting, with over one million licensed sportsmen taking to the woods, generally from late September to mid-January. Ask around to find out what’s in season and when, or check the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website.
If taking to the woods during a busy hunting season, keep your dog safe with an orange vest or a brightly colored collar with a nice loud bell – especially if your canine could be mistaken for a deer or bear. Remember, all Pocono area state parks, state forests, and many other public lands are open to hunting. With few exceptions, hunting is prohibited in Pennsylvania on Sundays.
By this time, you may think the Poconos are fraught with hazards for your pet at every turn. However, with some preparation and precaution, Jim Thorpe and the surrounding southern Poconos are packed with fun and exciting adventures for both pets and pet owners.
So go ahead, feel free to ask the question. Wanna go for a ride?
Yes!Yes! Visiting Jim Thorpe with your family - and the family dog - truly is the best idea EVER.
Article by Susan Gallagher, Chief Naturist at the Carbon County Environmental Center