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Two dogs in the trunk of the car

Vacationing with Your Dog

Everyday I see more new visitors arriving on the island and many of them have brought their dogs along. I’m quite envious of all the pooches that are fortunate enough to travel on vacation with their owners. My mom just went on a trip to France and I was left behind with our trusty pet sitter. It wasn’t for lack of trying. I begged and begged, but alas the complications of traveling with a k-9 proved an obstacle we could not overcome.

And I can appreciate my mom’s foresight. There’s nothing like checking into a hotel and finding out they don’t allow dogs. You can't assume everyone and everywhere is going to be accepting of dogs. And for all those dog owners traveling to the island this summer I hope they are as thorough as my mom in weighing the pros and cons of bringing their dogs along for their vacation. Here are some things to consider if you are undecided.

While there are some dog-friendly establishments on the island, most B & B’s and hotels don’t allow dogs. Those that do may not allow the dogs to be left unattended in the room. Which means wherever you go, we go. Out to dinner, to the beach, shopping, wherever.

If you are renting a vacation home, don’t assume the house is dog-friendly. Most leases have an explicit no pet policy and that means NO PETS! It’s a big risk to bring your pet and gamble that the owner will overlook it. Dogs are, if nothing else, conspicuous. And if you signed a contract with a no pet policy, the owner is under no obligation to accommodate your dog. Last minute options for boarding your pet will be very slim. You may find yourself on the boat back to the cape to find a place for your dog to stay until your vacation is over.

There are places where you can board your dog on the island, if you make a reservation in advance. However, consider how this will affect your vacation plans. Has your dog been boarded before? How do they respond to new environments? Keep in mind that you will be picking your dog up and dropping them off each day. If you’re staying in Madaket and your dog is boarded mid-island, you will have to make that extra trip into town over and over again. Also, good weather can’t be guaranteed. So if it rains while you are here, you may be stuck indoors away from your dog or walking around in the rain together.

It’s easy to imagine strolling down Main Street with the WHOLE family or tossing a chewed up frisbee on the beach. However don’t let this blur the reality and responsibility of bringing a dog on vacation.

I don’t mean to terrify dogs and their owners away from Nantucket. I only want to encourage dog owners to consider all the options and scenarios, so they can make an informed and realistic decision whether or not to bring their dog on vacation.

Welcome to Nantucket and have a great summer!


Marty is voiced by Janet Forest a full time pet sitter on Nantucket.