Taking a summer vacation with your pet is a fun and special way to bond and share an adventure together. But traveling with a pet during the summer months can present a few unique challenges, most importantly, keeping your pet content and relaxed for the duration of your trip.
The summer season alone can create issues for pets. “Summer can present unique stressors,” notes Chelsea Gennings, Co-Founder of Pet Releaf, the nation’s number one seller of pet CBD products, which are designed to naturally and efficiently help pets manage stress and maintain optimum health. “These stressors can include loud noises like thunderstorms and fireworks, crowds, heat, and tension caused by changes in a dog’s schedule.” Summer travel can create additional challenges for furry family members. “Issues like motion sickness, separation stress, or discomfort from being away from home can bring about a lot of unease.” .
Like many people, many pets enjoy a good adventure and are willing to sacrifice some comfort in order to have some summer fun. But pet parents should be aware that it is possible for their furry kids to experience added stress and try to ensure their trip together is a happy one.
Packing for a summer trip
You will need to pack a bit differently for a trip with your pet in summer. Here are some important items to bring along:
Pet first aid kit
Pets have different first aid needs than humans, so it’s important to have a pet-specific kit on hand. For summer, make sure it includes treatment for skin irritations related to sunburn or insect bites.
More fun in the sun almost always means more messes, and more moisture. Keep plenty of towels on-hand to dry off damp pooches, keep your car tidy, and protect your car seats and flooring from sand, water, dirt, and whatever else your pet gets into.
As previously said, staying adequately hydrated is critical during summer. Make sure to have plenty of extra water on hand where it can easily be accessed. Regular water bottles were designed for human mouths, and don’t work well for dogs, so we recommend bringing along a doggie travel bowl or a specially designed or adapted doggie water bottle on your trip.
Insects–including pet-munching pests–are most abundant and most active during summer. Fleas and ticks in particular can cause your pet real discomfort, or even illness. Having preventative sprays at the ready can help keep them away.
Pets do get sunburns, just like humans do! Sunburns pose similar risks to dogs, as well–pain, irritation, and a higher risk of skin cancer. Specialty sunscreen is available for pets, so put it on your packing list, and bring on the sun!
Motion sickness/stress relief
Heat can make car/motion sickness and travel unease feel worse. Having an ace up your sleeve to help keep your pet calm can help make your trip more comfortable for both of you. We like Pet Releaf’s CBD Calming Chews. They have safe, all-natural ingredients, they work reliably, and they can be bought over-the-counter. In addition, they provide relief without making your pet sleepy or groggy. Calming Chews also come in travel-size packs, making them easy to bring along Pet Releaf also has a Fireworks bundle package, which is specially made for the summer season and features CBD chewables, sprays, and oils at a discounted price.
To avoid stress and ensure a positive experience, head for summer destinations you and your pet are both sure to enjoy. First and foremost, consider your pet’s natural temperament as well as his likes and dislikes. If he loves swimming, the beach may be an ideal option. If he’s not keen on socializing with people or other pets, a private pet- friendly beach area is likely a better choice than the local public beach hot spot.
If your dog’s favorite activity is lounging around, he probably won’t enjoy a long hike through a scenic wood with you, but relaxing in a mountain cabin may be just his speed. If your pup feels shy and anxious in large crowds or dislikes loud noises, he probably won’t enjoy attending a concert or checking out a local festival, but he might feel right at home at a wine tasting or a walk through a nature preserve.
Where to stay
The accommodations you choose can go a long way toward ensuring your pet’s comfort. When choosing where to stay, first think about the type of accommodations that will best suit your needs. Are you looking for a basic hotel room to crash in when the day’s adventures are through? A resort with so many amenities that you and pup can stay put for your whole vacation? A vacation rental you can make yourself at home in? A secluded cabin in the woods? A B&B in the mountains?
Once you have settled on the type of accommodations that will work for you, look for pet-friendly establishments that can host you and all of your two-legged and four-legged travel mates. You’ll want to research pet policies to find out the number, size, and type of pets your place of interest will allow, whether they implement pet fees that fit into your budget, and whether they will allow you to leave your pet unattended in your room. In addition, you’ll want to seek out pet-friendly amenities that will make your stay extra-comfortable, whether it’s an on-premises pet potty area, doggie treats at check-in, provided doggie beds, assurance of a first-floor room, available pet sitters, or pet room service menus.
Relaxed on the road
Lots of pets have no trouble at all on a summer road trip, but extended car rides in hot weather, with more traffic and larger crowds, can potentially create discomfort or make existing discomfort worse. Taking a few extra precautions can help you ensure you and your pooch are content and comfortable for the duration of your car ride.
First, make sure the temperature in your car is cool enough to keep your pet comfortable. Check the specific area where he is sitting; air conditioning does not always cool a car evenly, so while you may be cool in the driver’s seat, the back seats may need adjustments. Pups with double coats or long or thick fur may need frostier temperatures, and should be checked more often for signs of heat stress.
On hot days, temperatures inside a car can rise to deadly levels in mere minutes. Never leave a pet alone in a hot car. A running AC or cracked window is not enough assurance that your pet will stay safe, and a heat-related health emergency–or worse–isn’t a risk you want to take. Have a human travel companion stay in the car with your pet if at all possible; if not, keep snacks and meals on-hand or use drive-thrus, and plan any and all stops at places that allow pets.
Many pet-friendly businesses will allow you to bring your pet in to use their bathrooms, including hotel chains like Motel 6, La Quinta, Kimpton, and Red Roof Inn; big box stores like Costco and Home Depot; pet stores like PetSmart and PetCo; and pet services like veterinarians, and groomers.
Staying cool doesn’t just mean a temperature-controlled environment; it means getting adequate water. Hydration is a concern for pets during car trips at any time of year, but taking extra breaks to make sure your pet gets enough water is especially necessary during summer. Of course, more water breaks create a need for more potty breaks, so it’s important to make time in your schedule for puppy pit stops and plan your route along roads with pet friendly rest areas.
It isn’t necessary to hover, but you should regularly monitor your pet for signs of stress. If he seems overly-anxious, agitated, bored, or unusually quiet, it may be time to stop and let him stretch his legs and get some air, or take a break for playtime, cuddles, or a pet calming supplement.
In the end, keeping your pet’s comfort top of mind–from the planning stages to the ride home–can help you reduce and ease any summer stressors he might face, and help to ensure that you and your pooch make happy summer memories on your vacation.
Photo Credit: Pet Releaf