In Partnership with Merck Animal Health

In my opinion, there's no better time to travel with your pet than in either spring or summer.

The weather's just too perfect to spend indoors, plus there are several activities you can do with Fido during these seasons!

You know, you're not the only pet owner who does this.

According to the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 90.5 million American homes have furry friends, and approximately 78% of these pet owners travel with their pets each year.

So, if you plan to hit the road or book that flight, this article should be your guide to spring or summer trips with dogs.

We'll also list some pet-friendly activities and destination ideas to consider.

Let's begin!

Prepping Sasha in the car before traveling
Prepping Sasha in the car before traveling

Pet Travel Checklist
(How to prepare your dog before a trip) 

Traveling with pets isn't just about where to go and what to do—the first and foremost concern of any pet owner should be their pet's health and wellness.

Will your dog be able to enjoy the activities safely? Are you prepared for any emergencies? Will they pick up any diseases from your trip? Will the trip be convenient and comfortable for both you and your pet?

Make sure to tick off each item on this list before going on your big adventure.

Protect your dog against fleas and ticks

For most states (and even outside the country,) spring and summer are the peak seasons for fleas and ticks.

These parasites love moist, humid, and shady areas, which could be many places!

It's a good thing there's a brand that's also recognized and trusted worldwide, or at least in 85 countriesBRAVECTO® (fluralaner) Chews.

Most people like this brand not only because it's a fast-acting, safe, and easy treatment for fleas and ticks, but also because one chew can protect pets for up to 12 weeks*, which is nearly 3x longer than one dose of monthly products.

For full product and safety information, visit

This is good, especially for pet owners who lead busy lives and forget to keep up with their dogs' monthly medications.

Pet identification

Identification is important when going to a different place with your dog.

Make sure they're equipped with a tag containing your dog's name, your name, your updated contact information, and, if possible, any proof of updated rabies shots.

If you're going to be away and stay in a different place for a long time, it's best to get your pet a second tag containing your accommodation's address and contact details.

A permanent form of identification, like a microchip, is also a good idea. You can always update your and your dog's information with a microchip whenever necessary.

Also, remember to get an appropriate, well-sized collar and leash that are sturdy enough for your pets to roam around without you worrying that they'll run off.

Use airline-approved pet carriers

This should be a no-brainer, but you should get a pet carrier approved by your airline and the International Air Transport Association.

Sadly, not all that can be bought online or at pet stores are sturdy enough for air travel.

Here's the Container Requirement that the IATA sets for dog and cat shipping containers that pet owners should use for air travel.

Use this as a guideline when choosing a pet carrier's size, material, and design.

You can also check out their Guidance for Passengers Travelling with their Dog or Cat in the Cabin to know what you need to comply with when flying with your small pets in the cabin.

Bring disposable waste bags, collapsible bowls, food & treats

When going on a hike, whatever you pack for yourself, you should also pack for your dog.

A collapsible food and water bowl, food and/or treats, a first-aid kit, and an appropriate hiking outfit would make a difference between a safe and enjoyable hike and one that could probably traumatize you and your pet.

Also, remember to bring some disposable waste bags and a small, compact spade or pooper-scooper to help you clean up after your dog.

Dave puts sunscreen on his dog, Sasha at the beach
Dave puts sunscreen on his dog, Sasha, at the beach

Use sun protection

You should always wear sun protection, as does your dog!

Dogs are also susceptible to sun damage like sunburns or, worse, skin cancers.

Make sure that whatever sunscreen, cream, or spray you use to protect your dog's skin from the sun's harmful rays is pet safe.

Take extra care of their nose, ears, paws, bellies, and other body parts with little to no fur.

DO NOT use human sunscreens, as those typically contain zinc oxide and salicylates, which are extremely harmful to pets.

Update vaccinations

Before traveling, ensure that your dog has all his or her vaccinations are up to date.

Arguably, the most important vaccine that your dog should get is the Rabies vaccine.

While every country has its own requirements, the Rabies vaccine is one of the absolute requirements for every pet.

It should also be recorded in your pet's vaccine booklet, another must-have document when travelling with pets.

Just make sure to do your research about your destination's vaccine requirements before planning that dream vacation!

Check with your vet

And last on our list, but should definitely be a first on yours, is getting a clearance from your vet.

Check-in with the experts to see if your dog can travel and participate in the activities you plan on doing.

You can also ask them for actionable advice on keeping your pet safe and happy throughout your vacation.

Pet-Friendly Spring & Summer Destinations

Now that we've covered the basic checklist you should do before going on a trip with your pet, here are a couple of ideas you can take Fido for a fun spring or summer vacation.

Go on a hike

Hiking is among the activities most pet parents take their dogs to, especially dogs with excessive energy to burn.

Not only is hiking good for you, but it can also provide your pet with the mental and physical stimulation they need.

The good thing is that there are many dog-friendly hiking trails that you can visit, whether you're a beginner or a more advanced hiker.

According to AllTtrail, the country's most popular dog-friendly hiking trail is the Royal Arch Trail in Boulder, Colorado.

It's a 5.3 km out-and-back trail and is considered challenging, so you might want to pass up on this if you're only starting.

For beginners, the 2-mile Tubbs Hill trail in Couer d'Alene, Idaho, is among the recommended trails for dogs and pet owners.

Self-guided tours can take about two hours and some trails lead to a lake where dogs can dip.

Swim in dog-friendly beaches, lakes, pools, or rivers

Dogs love to swim, especially if it's hot outside! Some breeds thrive with a little water action every now and then, like the American Water Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and even the popular Labrador Retriever.

If you're a beach person, you can bring Fido to the best dog-friendly beaches in the country, including the Montrose Dog Beach in Chicago, Illinois, and the Block Island Beaches in Rhode Island.

If you want something more laidback, you can also go to dog-friendly lakes, such as Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada or Lake George in New York.

There are also dog-friendly swimming pools across the country that I'm sure your furry friend will love.

Grab a bite at dog-friendly cafes and restaurants

Food tourism is also a thing nowadays, and you can definitely bring your dog to a restaurant-hopping trip in or out of the country!

Italy is a great place for foodies. Lucky for pet owners, there are great pet-friendly restaurants there.

If you don't want to leave the continent, you can fly south and visit Mexico with Fido!

If international travel is too much, don't fret—there are many good food destinations in the US!

Louisiana, for one, for a taste of that comforting southern home cooking, or New York, which offers different cuisine reflective of the state as a melting pot of culture!

Here's a list of pet-friendly restaurants in the United States.

Sasha inside a car before a road trip
Sasha inside a car before a road trip

Staycation at dog-friendly hotels

For a relaxing trip with your furry friend, why not go for a staycation at a dog-friendly hotel?

Yes, that's a thing now, not only in the US but in other countries, too.

You don't even have to worry about bringing most of your dog's stuff because some great hotels, like the Kimpton Brice Hotel in Savannah, Georgia, provide dog beds, bowls, and treats, among others.

Another great hotel for dogs is the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston. Apart from the accommodation, a stay here also comes with perks, like complimentary premium pet spa services and several discount cards for pet products.

If hotels aren't your scene, you can also opt for pet-friendly Airbnb accommodations.

Go on a pet-friendly cruise

There's nothing more vacation-ey than going on a cruise. So, if you've been wanting to go on a cruise this spring or summer with Fido, you actually can.

You can even order steak or chicken and deliver them straight to your dog's accommodation. Talk about luxury!

If you want something more adventurous but still pet-friendly, you can hop on a cruise from a different country, like the Tallink Silja Line around the Baltic Sea or the 1AVisa Reisen, which stops in Holland, Germany, and Austria.

But one thing to expect is that pet-friendly cruises come with a price tag, so better prepare your wallet!

Attend dog summer festivals

One fun way to enjoy the summer season with your furry pal is to attend summer festivals for pets, where you can socialize and learn a thing or two from fellow pet parents.

There are many dog-friendly festivals in North America, like the Olympic-style Frankenmuth Dog Bowl in Michigan or the Dog Day Festival in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dave sitting on a bench with his dog, Sasha
Dave sitting on a bench with his dog, Sasha

Final Thoughts

There are many fun ways to spend the spring and summer with your pets, but all these checklists and planning can get overwhelming.

Just don't overstress it. Remember, dogs can pick up on our emotions and can also get anxious when we are.

Plus, it's only a vacation, and you're not even sure if your pet is up for it (especially if it's their first time).

Some dogs are more couch potatoes and home buddies, and that's okay.

As long as you keep them safe and protected from potential diseases this spring and summer, they should be fine even without the extravagant adventures. And that's more important.

Speaking of which, check out the following article to help you and your pet navigate the dangers and challenges of the peak flea and tick season wherever you live.

Disclaimer: This blog is sponsored by Merck Animal Health. However, the article remains truthful and reflects the author's genuine experiences. Readers are advised to conduct their own research and seek professional advice before acting on any information provided. Merck Animal Health values transparency and honesty in all collaborations.

*BRAVECTO (fluralaner) Chews for Dogs kills fleas, prevents flea infestations, and kills ticks (black-legged tick, American dog tick, brown dog tick, and Asian longhorned tick) for 12 weeks. BRAVECTO Chews also kills lone star ticks for 8 weeks.

BRAVECTO (fluralaner) Chews for Dogs: The most commonly reported adverse reactions include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, anorexia and pruritus. In some cases, adverse events have been reported following use in breeding females. BRAVECTO Chews has not been shown to be effective for 12-weeks' duration in puppies less than 6 months of age. BRAVECTO Chews is not effective against lone star ticks beyond 8 weeks of dosing. Fluralaner is a member of the isoxazoline class. This class has been associated with neurologic adverse reactions including tremors, ataxia, and seizures. Seizures have been reported in dogs receiving isoxazoline class drugs, even in dogs without a history of seizures. Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders.

Jossana started as a TV writer in 2017, until her love for dogs gets the best of her and started writing about them instead for Top Dog Tips. Jossana is the proud mama to Xavier and to mixed-breed dogs Zorro, Budak, Lucky, and Lily, who she loves spoiling with toys and treats.