Domestic pets are permitted in designated day-use areas at ALL Florida State Parks. They must be kept on a handheld leash that is six feet or shorter and be well-behaved at all times. Pet owners are required to pick up after their pets and properly dispose of their droppings. Pets are not permitted on beaches or playgrounds, or in bathing areas, cabins, park buildings or concession facilities. Individual parks may have specific areas prohibiting pets.
Service animals are welcome in all areas of Florida State Parks.
Park areas will be evaluated, as to the suitability of pets, on a periodic basis as part of the unit management planning process. Areas of the park designated as prohibited for pets shall be determined based on park natural and cultural resources, primary recreational activities, camper and pet health and safety, geographical location and layout of camping areas, and the ability to provide a quality recreational experience for all visitors.
PET CAMPING RULES RETURN TO TOP
For everyone's enjoyment, including pets, please observe the following pet camping rules. Failure to abide by these rules may result in the camper being asked to board the pet outside the park or check out of the campground.
- Pets are not allowed in any state park cabins.
- Pets must be vaccinated against rabies. Owners are not required to show proof of vaccination.
- Horses must have proof of negative Coggins test.
- Pets are not allowed at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Park because of the captive wildlife. The park provides complimentary kennels at the main entrance of the park on US 19 for those visitors traveling with pets. They are self-service and free. Service animals are welcome in all areas of the park where visitors are normally allowed.
- Pets must be confined, leashed or otherwise under the physical control of a person at all times. Leashes may not exceed six feet in length. Pets that are tethered at a campsite cannot be left unattended for more than 30 minutes. Pets may not be tied to trees, bushes, tables or shelter facilities even when the owners are present.
- Pets must be well-behaved at all times.
- Pets must be confined in the owner's camping unit during park quiet hours, 11 PM - 8 AM.
- Pet owners are required to pick up after their pets and properly dispose of all pet droppings in trash receptacles.
- Any pet that is noisy, dangerous, intimidating or destructive will not be allowed to remain in the park.
- Non-furbearing pets, such as reptiles, birds or fish, must be confined or under the physical control of the owner. Some animals may be prohibited on park property. Captive wild species, whether native or non-native and barnyard animals, except horses, are prohibited.
PET SAFETY RETURN TO TOP
Use the tips below for healthier and happier travels with your pets.
- Be sure to keep your pet cool. Florida weather varies year-round, but can always include high temperatures, even in the winter.
- Be sure to have plenty of water available, especially when leaving the campsite with your pet.
- Never leave your pets in a parked car, even if the windows are open or if you are parked in the shade.
- It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Temperatures inside a car easily reach more than 160 degrees if parked in the Florida sun.
- Even when the outside air temperature is in the 60s, temperatures inside some vehicles can reach dangerous temperatures on bright, sunny days. So many experts recommend not leaving pets in parked cars even for short periods if the temperature is in the 60s or higher.
- Rolling down a window or parking in the shade does not guarantee protection either, since temperatures can still climb. And if the window is rolled down sufficiently, the pet can escape. Plus if a passer-by claims he or she was bitten through the car window, the pet owner may be liable.
- Animals are not able to sweat like humans. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, animals can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Less than 15 minutes can be enough for an animal's body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving the animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.
- Know about and prevent heat exhaustion.
- If you see signs of heat exhaustion take the dog into the shade, an air conditioned area or to your veterinarian. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention.
- Signs of heatstroke include: restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, dark tongue, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness or lack of coordination.
- To lower body temperature, gradually give the animal water to drink, place a cold towel or ice pack on the head, neck and chest, and/or immerse the dog in cool (not cold) water.
Florida State Parks are managed to restore and maintain a delicate ecological balance between native Florida species. Non-native plants and animals often upset that balance. The growing list of non-native animals that harm native wildlife unfortunately includes free-ranging domestic cats. Recognizing that this is a matter of growing concern throughout the state, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has embarked on an education campaign in support of the national Cats Indoors! movement. Visit their Web site for excellent information about native wildlife and the impacts of domestic animals.