Summer Travel with Pets

Summer is easily the most popular travel season in the United States – the weather is reliably great and the kids are out of school, making it an ideal time to pack up the family and head for the hills. Or the beach. Or the forest. (You get the idea.)

Summer is also an excellent time to take a trip that includes the family pet, since good weather means you and your four-legged friends get to spend time outdoors.

No matter what the weather’s like outside your window right now, there’s no reason you can’t start dreaming – and planning – for next summer’s travels. And that’s where we come in. Here are some pet travel tips for the summer, plus links to articles we’ve written about pet-related events in the US during the summer months, from pet parades to dog washes to wine tastings, so you can plan to include the furry members of your family in some of the summer fun.

Summer Pet Travel Tips

Summer is a busy travel season anyway, so when you plan to travel with a pet you need to make doubly sure you’ve done your homework – arriving in a town where there’s no vacancy at the pet-friendly hotel and all the other rooms are booked for the night is no way to have a relaxing summer vacation. Here are some tips to help make your summer travels fun and memorable for you and your pet.


Make sure the tags on your pet’s collar are up to date and fastened securely to the collar.

Research and Obey Local Laws

Be aware of local leash laws when you travel – you can’t assume every town loves your dog as much as you do. Find out where the pet friendly beaches and other pet friendly places are in the towns you’re visiting so you know where you can go without leaving your furry friends behind.

Clean Up After Your Pet

Bring plastic bags, litter, or bedding. Wherever you stay, don’t forget to clean up after your pet. It’s both common sense, and courteous to the places you’re visiting.

Never Leave Your Pet in the Car

On sunny and warm days, the air in the car doesn’t circulate and the temperature can rise within minutes to a point where it can become life threatening. Even if the windows are cracked, cars heat up quickly and your pet can be in danger.

Watch for Heatstroke

Even if you don’t keep your pet in a hot car, hot summer weather can still be bad for your pet’s health – find out about the symptoms of heatstroke in dogs, and how you can prevent it.

Vet Records

Bring a copy of your pet’s vaccines. Hotels and vacation rentals often ask for proof of your pet’s vaccines.


Make sure you have enough of it for the duration of your time away from home. Pick up refills for your pet before you head out.

Kennels and Carriers

Some places require that your pet be in a carrier or crate when left alone. A kennel is also a safe way to travel for your pet. Airlines have size restrictions for kennels that can travel in cabin. Check about restrictions and pet air travel policies of the airline before booking.

Rest Stop Areas Mean Everyone Gets a Break

Take your dog out for a walk, offer some water and a snack. Be sure you’ve got plenty of water around for both you and your pets, especially on hot days.

Practice Water Safety

Just because your dog loves the water doesn’t mean he always knows its dangers! Keep an eye on your pet around water, especially when it’s an unfamiliar place. Animals won’t know about fast-moving currents, how tired they can get if they swim out too far (or for too long), and potentially-poisonous water sources, among other things. If your pet will be in and out of water often on your trip, bring along a life-jacket for him or her, too. Here are a few more swimming safety tips for pets.

Sunblock is for Pets, Too

Did you know that animals can get sunburned, too? This is especially true for animals with light-colored skin. If that describes your pet, talk to your vet about getting some pet-safe sunscreen and then be sure to use it (particularly on areas like the nose and ears).

Keep Summer Bugs Away

Summer is high travel season, and it’s also a high bug season. Things like fleas, ticks, and even heartworm can be more of an issue for your pets in the summer, so take precautions against them before you leave home.

Poisonous Summer Plants

You might know exactly which plants not to grow at your house, because they’re poisonous to your animals, but when you travel – all bets are off. Try to be alert when your pet is eating greenery you’re unfamiliar with, especially in the summer when the whole world seems like it’s in bloom. Here are some summer plants that are poisonous to animals.

Find the Local Emergency Vet

Know before you go where the emergency vet is in the area you are staying in case your pet becomes injured. It saves a lot of stress and time in the event that your pet needs immediate medical attention.

Find Pet-Friendly Accommodation and Activities

Before you leave home, you can find out about a variety of pet-friendly events going on in and around the places you’ll be visiting on your trip, and you can also make sure you’re booking stays at hotels, campgrounds, and vacation rentals that allow pets – all right here on!

Summer Pet Events in the USA

Please note that these lists aren’t comprehensive – yet! – so if you know of an event for dogs, cats, horses, parrots, guinea pigs or anything else that you think should be added to our lists, please let us know!

photo by newandrew on Flickr

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