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6 Pet-Friendly Summer Vacation Ideas

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Spring has officially arrived, which means that summer—and summer vacation—are just around the corner. From relaxation to adventure at the seashore or mountaintop, the season offers a wide range of options for every outdoor enthusiast. According to Dr. Rachel Barrack, licensed veterinarian of Animal Acupuncture in New York City, “Traveling with your pet can be really rewarding…[and] there’s nothing better than relaxing and enjoying some quality time together.” If you’re looking for some great trips and tips to make the most of summer while in the company of your furry best friend, we’ve got your pet travel list covered with some of the best pet-friendly ideas around.

Head to the Dog Beach

Sun, sand, surf and your favorite furry companion—what better combination could you ask for? Dog beaches have grown in popularity over the years and are a great way to incorporate pet socialization with exercise and play. It can be hard to beat the summer heat, especially if you’re planning a midday getaway when temps are at an all-time high, so encourage your pup to play in the water, while supervised, to keep cool. When considering your pet’s safety and comfort, it could be a good idea to “microchip your [dog] prior to travel…[and] make sure [the] identification tags are up to date and secure,” says Barrack. Also, try limiting your pup’s time in direct sunlight, especially for pets with dark-colored coats, who have a greater tendency to attract heat and are more prone to overheating. And always have a supply of fresh, clean water available to your pet to drink at all times.

Camp Together

There are plenty of weekend getaway options that allow you and your four-legged family member to get up close and personal with nature. Whether you prefer your own backyard or a prime camping locale for a change of scenery, a weekend campout is a great option for an exciting change of pace. We know that traveling with pets can be challenging, especially if your furry friend is nervous around cars or during long rides. Animals are unable to brace themselves for quick car maneuvers, and an unstable pet can lead to a distracted driver. The Petmate Navigator Plastic Kennel is a helpful tool to keep your pet calm in a designated area. With a range of sizing options to choose from and a wire divider that allows for the necessary adjustments of a growing pup, the kennel is easy to assemble and creates a comfortable space for your pet to travel in. Be sure to introduce your pooch to a pet carrier prior to travel and provide rest stops every couple hours. This allows your pet to stretch, burn off some energy, use the bathroom and drink water. So, whether you and your pup are braving uncharted terrain or glamping with home essentials nearby, a little fresh air and a night under the stars can make any weekend seem like a real vacation.

Go Hiking

There’s no better way to satisfy your—and your dog’s—curious spirit than by freely exploring the great outdoors. With plenty of options like an off-leash dog park or hiking trail to choose from, traveling with pets is a great way to bond while taking part in an activity that is mutually beneficial. As you enjoy the excitement of a new experience along with some fun exercise, be sure to pay attention to your pet’s physical abilities and comfort level. Increased activity on a hot, summer day calls for more water and added rest stops. Consider shaded areas for a natural break from the sun as well as travel essentials like the Petmate Silicone Round Collapsible Travel Pet Bowl for a light and easy-to-carry solution for your on-the-go needs.

Spend a Day Kayaking

When looking for a summer activity that allows for the occasional cool water dip, there’s no better way to beat the heat than by going kayaking. We know that not every dog is a water dog, so be sure to give your pup a proper introduction to the activity. “Don’t leave your pet unattended. This is a new and possibly scary environment for [him] and [he] requires your love and reassurance,” says Barrack. Gradually guide your pooch while providing plenty of encouragement and positive feedback for his bravery. From regular adventure seekers to those just looking for some R&R, once your dog becomes acclimated with his proximity to water, kayaking will give pet travel a whole new meaning.

Enjoy the Sights

Spending leisure time outdoors, taking in the sights and sounds, is what summer is all about. Not a nature person? No problem—a trip to the city can be just as exciting. The hustle and bustle of a metropolis can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially if your dog isn’t accustomed to the fast pace of a big city. When traveling with your furry best friend, be sure to bring plenty of dog treats to provide positive reinforcement and praise for good behavior. VetriScience Composure Behavioral Health Bite-Sized Dog Chews are an excellent option to get your pet’s attention and reward him for his obedience. So, if a cityscape is your idea of the perfect getaway, be a tourist for a day and keep in mind the new stimuli that may be scary to your pooch, so you can give him the reassurance he needs to have a good time.

Take a Cruise

If you’re looking to “get away from it all” while relaxing with your pet on a more grand vacation, consider a pet-friendly cruise to a destination of your choice. With plenty of space to roam on deck and activities to take part in, a cruise can be the ideal combination of travel, comfort and convenience. If your cruise happens to depart from a city that requires flying with a dog as part of the vacation, the Petmate Airline Travel Kit can help ensure your pet has all they need for a well-equipped trip. The kit comes stocked with kennel labels, a floor liner, and food and water cups for the ultimate travel package. Be sure to consider your pet’s health and age before committing them to the vacation, and consult your veterinarian. Although your dream trip may seem incomplete without your dog by your side, it’s important to prioritize his health and safety. A flight can be stressful and potentially detrimental to a very young, elderly or ill pup.

Going on vacation with your pooch is an ultimate bucket list to-do. Summer provides countless options to spend time with your pet. Just remember to do your research, double-check that your plans are pet-friendly, and “make sure [your dog is] in optimal health…and up to date on vaccinations,” says Barrack. From a relaxing staycation to a thrilling adventure, given a little preparation, the options for pet-friendly summer fun are endless.