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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Life's a beach for dogs, too. © Mary Kultgen
Life's a beach for dogs, too.

© Mary Kultgen

June 2007

Creature comforts

Help your pets enjoy the dog days of summer.

Natasha Kassulke

Life's a beach for dogs, too
Bird sightings find a home on eBird

For pets, summer can be the best and worst time of the year. To assure a safe summer for your pet:

Don't . . .

* Let your dog ride in the back of an open pick-up truck. Death and injury can occur.

* Put your pet at risk of heat stroke. Provide adequate water at home and in the field. If your pet does overheat, hose it down with cool water and offer water.

Do . . .

* Bring your pet outside with you. Take the dog – and the cat – for a walk. There are harness and leashes available for all sizes of pets.

* Check that your window screens are securely in place. Cats are prone to "high-rise syndrome" when they begin to explore, bat at birds or insects, and try to crawl out open windows without screens. Cats can and do fall.

* Schedule your pet for a checkup. Stay on track with the yearly heartworm check, stool check and vaccinations.

Life's a beach for dogs, too

Many communities now offer dog parks and other pet friendly areas. But just as you wouldn't litter at the public beach, remember there is beach etiquette for dogs, too.

* Always keep your dog leashed when there is a leash law.

* Always clean up after your dog using a bag or scooper and dispose of wastes in designated receptacles, not general garbage barrels.

* Do not let your dog visit with other beach-goers or dogs, unless welcomed.

* If using an official off-leash area, your dog needs to be well-behaved and must heed your verbal commands.

* Do not leave your pet unattended and make sure it has water and food.

Several Wisconsin state parks are especially welcoming to dogs and their people (visit Parks, Forests, Recreation Areas & Trails or call 608-266-2181 for Wisconsin State Park contact information and directions):

Harrington Beach State Park (Belgium) is a day-use park where dogs of all sizes are allowed at the south beach and the Scenic Picnic Area without additional pet fees. Dogs must be leashed at all times.

Richard Bong State Recreation Area (Kansasville) maintains an area for training dogs to retrieve, point, flush and/or track game for hunting or dog trial competitions. It is in the Special Uses Zone in the southwest area of the park and a license is required if live birds or ammunition are used for training.

Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area (New Auburn) allows dogs off leash except in the picnic area.

Governor Dodge State Park (Dodgeville) has a pet swim area next to each swimming beach and designated pet picnic areas.

Governor Nelson State Park (Waunakee) has a pet beach swim area. Pets must be on a leash unless they are in the water. Normally the beach has a pier to teach pets to jump into the water.

High Cliff State Park (Sherwood) features two pet picnic areas. One is in the lower park, near the park office, with a swimming area in the pond. The other is near the pavilion.

Kettle Moraine State Forest Northern Unit (Campbellsport) has designated pet picnic areas and dog training areas. These include pet picnic areas with tables and grills at Mauthe Lake and Long Lake, a wet dog training area where dogs can be trained in water skills and a dry dog training area where dogs can be trained in upland bird skills.

Kohler-Andrae State Park (Sheboygan) has a dog beach for leashed dogs.

Lake Kegonsa State Park (Stoughton) has a pet beach swim area. Pets must be on a leash unless in the water.

Pattison State Park (Superior) allows dogs on the four-mile Logging Camp Trail, Big Falls Trail, small picnic areas at Big Falls and Little Falls, and an area adjacent to the main picnic area. A one-mile dog trail links into the Logging Camp Trail.

Whitefish Dunes State Park (Sturgeon Bay) allows dogs on the beach.

Bird sightings find a home on eBird

Put away the field notebooks. Information on Wisconsin birds is just a mouse click away. Wisconsin eBird is a new website devoted to tracking bird sightings and bird activities in the state. The site allows visitors to show off their bird photos, record observations and sort data. Wisconsin eBird is the product of a partnership among the Wisconsin DNR, the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative and the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. eBird is free and user-friendly.

Natasha Kassulke writes for Wisconsin Natural Resources.