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Dogs on Vacation

Maine is known as a dog-friendly state, and it’s relatively easy to have your canine companion along for the ride. Here’s all you need to know to relax together here.

Where to Stay

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As you plan your visit, refer to the Pets Welcome column of our Lodging category grids, beginning on page 26 of The Jewel of the Maine Coast, our visitor guide. 

In consideration of guests who are allergic to pet fur or dander, most accommodations designate specific rooms or units as dog friendly. Rooms may be limited in number and located in a separate wing, or on the first floor with direct access outdoors. Some lodging properties assess an extra fee — usually $10 to $25 per day — to cover cleaning or potential damage; some restrict the number and/or weight of dogs. All specify that you never leave your pet unattended and that you always use a leash outside the guestroom. If you haven’t already seen the property’s policies (see Before Your Trip), ask about them when you check in.

Rules aside, you can expect a warm welcome, including a few amenities and special services to pamper your pooch. And you’ll often get great advice from managers and front-desk personnel about what to do while you’re in our area.

Where to Play

You may see dog bowls filled with cool water outside many shops. Unless there’s an obvious sign, always ask if you can bring Fido inside.

Our area boasts two dog parks: The fenced-in Jean H. Kislak Community Dog Park, just off Route 1 on Camden Street in Rockport, provides separate areas for large and small dogs to romp around. And the Thomaston Dog Park covers 3+ acres east of the Village Cemetery; turn north on Dwight Street, off Main Street/Route 1. According to Maine law, however, anyone who uses a dog park, or any public recreational area, does so at their own risk. Although your dog can play off leash, it’s still your responsibility to supervise it. Waste bags are usually on hand, but bring your own just in case.

Maine’s parks and beaches use similar commonsense guidelines to find the ideal balance between pet play and consideration for humans and wildlife, particularly endangered nesting birds. Camden’s Laite Beach, for example, is dog-friendly from May 1 to September 30 only from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The rest of the year, pets are welcome all day, provided Rover responds to voice control and you have his leash handy. State Park beaches elsewhere in the Camden/Rockland region follow the same restrictions. At any time of year, please discourage your dog from digging, and dispose of its waste properly.

Where to Dine

The Maine State Law is as follows: It is unlawful for any person to bring an animal into a store where food is sold for human consumption or into a restaurant where food is prepared and served on the premises. This section does not apply to a person requiring the services of a service animal.

Some restaurants with outdoor seating allow dogs to sit under the table. Some only allow service dogs. All dogs need to be leashed and well behaved - not bothering other customers. The restaurants below allow dogs in their outdoor area only.

Peter Ott’s Restaurant – Camden; Claws – Rockland; Flatbread Pizza – Rockport; McLoons Lobster Shack – South Thomaston.

Dogs at Sea?

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Leashed, well-behaved dogs are welcome on several sail or power day trips of two hours or less. Dogs are also allowed on Maine state ferries within a pet-friendly cabin on each boat. Please keep your pet leashed or restrained, and clean up after it as necessary. Dogs are not permitted on overnight windjammer trips.

Pet Supplies & Services

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We’ve got your canine covered for whatever you left at home or need to buy here. Check our Animal Care & Services listings in our online Business Directory for details. A number of shops sell food, treats, gear, and souvenirs.

Veterinary Care

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Contact PenBay Veterinary Associates, 207-594-8300; or Rockland Animal Hospital, 207-594-5850. 

Before Your Trip...

  • Reserve your room, cabin, or cottage as early as possible to claim a pet-friendly space. Be sure you understand the lodging property’s pet policies and fees. A few properties require a formal pet agreement be signed in advance or upon arrival.
  • Obtain veterinarian records to show your dog’s vaccinations, PROOF OF RABIES VACCINATION AND FLEA PREVENTION and flea and tick treatments are up to date. If you plan to hike wooded areas with your dog, consider preventive vaccination for Lyme disease.
  • Check that your dog’s collar displays tags for rabies safety and identity — microchip ID, your cellphone number — pack his or her leashes, food, treats, toys, and crate or bed. Don’t forget a first-aid kit, and bags for waste, although many towns provide them — look for posts near public parks or parking areas.
  • Arrange for local boarding or kennel time if your visit involves an event where Rover is not welcome. Properties may charge an additional fee for a dog left unattended, especially if it disturbs other guests or neighbors.