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8 "Furrific" Ideas for a Dog-friendly Memorial Day Weekend


Written by Aurus Sy

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 05/25/2022, edited: 08/21/2023


Memorial Day Weekend is almost here! For many, it's a time to relax with friends and family while enjoying being outdoors in the beautiful and warm spring weather. But Memorial Day is about more than just barbecues and picnics. This day is set aside every year to honor those who have selflessly given their lives in service of our country. From parades to memorials and gravesite visits, there are plenty of ways to pay tribute to the fallen heroes in your community. But you may be wondering what you can do with your furry pal to commemorate this day.

If you want to include your dog in your Memorial Day Weekend festivities, we've got some pawrific ideas to help you kick off the summer, as well as honor the men and women who lost their lives while serving and protecting our nation. So, grab that leash and let's get to it!

People giving a Dalmation a grilled hot dog - 8 "Furrific" Ideas for a Dog-friendly Memorial Day Weekend

Host a dog-friendly barbecue

A barbecue is a great way to celebrate Memorial Day weekend with the family. And when your family includes four-legged members, you want to make sure that they’re not left out during the festivities. But before you think about sharing your meal with your furry pal, know that a lot of common cookout foods aren’t safe for canines. Bones, corn on the cob, and drippings are no-nos. Keep your pooch (and other canine guests) safe by preparing a doggie menu and taking extra precautions. While it will require a bit more work, you’ll ensure that no one ends up at the vet.

Dog getting blue paint on their paw for crafts

Make patriotic crafts

Working on a craft is a fun way to celebrate Memorial Day and bond with your dog. You can find several ideas online, but here’s one that anyone can do: patriotic ornaments. You’ll need a few sheets of white paper and dog-safe, non-toxic paints in red and blue. Put the non-toxic paint on your dog’s paw pad and then press it onto the paper. Repeat until you get your desired pattern. Once the paint is dry, you can cut the sheets of paper into different shapes such as stars and circles look great, or make wreaths, buntings, or paper flowers out of them.

Dogs having fun in a kiddie pool

Throw a dog-friendly pool party

When temperatures rise, a pool party is a cool way to beat the heat. Make your pool party dog-friendly by setting up a paddling pool for your pup and their friends. Not all dogs are good swimmers, so it’s best to keep them out of a regular swimming pool. The dogs won’t mind having their own little corner, plus it’ll be easier to keep an eye on them that way. Complete the setup with poolside snacks such as doggie ice cream and smoothies for a tail-waggin’ good time!

Black Labrador Retriever in the middle of rows of strawberries

Go berry picking

Packed with antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber, berries aren’t just good for you—they’re healthy for your pup too! Since strawberries and blueberries are in season around Memorial Day, why not head to a berry farm and pick your own sweet treats? Not all farms welcome four-legged visitors, but if you can visit one, it’ll be an experience that you and your pooch won’t soon furget. Dog-friendly farms include Bowman Orchards in Rexford, NY, Bolles Organic Farm in Monroe, WA, and The Berry Farm in Miami, FL.

Brown dog sitting in back of car with woman looking at map

Take a road trip

Road trips are a puptastic way to travel and explore new places with your dog without breaking the bank. There’s something to see and do in every region for both humans and canines. Route 66, one of the country’s most famous drives, is a good place to start since you can make your adventure as long or as short as you want. Plus, there are numerous dog-friendly stops along the way, including the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, MO; Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, NM; and the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, CA.

Small dog in blue sweater at Yosemite National Park

Visit a national park

With the sun shining, there’s no better time to explore the great outdoors. National parks feature some of the country’s best landscapes, and most of them welcome canine visitors. Hit the trails with your pooch at Acadia National Park in Maine, sleep under the stars at Yosemite National Park in California, or cruise along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Many national parks also host events and activities just for dogs. 

Two dogs on a beach

Head to the beach

Summer means sun, sand, and sea. What better way to kick off the season than with a trip to the beach? Many dogs also enjoy playing in the sand and waves, so grab your sunscreen and make your way to a pup-friendly beach. Make sure to avoid the hottest time of the day, as hot sand can hurt your dog’s paws. Remember to practice proper beach petiquette and clean up after your pooch too—bringing waste bags is a must!

Brown dog looking at American flag

Honor our fallen heroes

Memorial Day was created to honor our fallen service men and women who gave their lives to defend and protect our country. Honor the heroes in your family and community by placing flowers on their graves. Most local cemeteries allow well-behaved dogs to visit with you, just be sure to note any signs or rules that may prohibit them, such as at bigger national sites like Arlington National Cemetery. 

You can also pay tribute to veteran dogs who served their country by visiting to a place that honors fallen dog heroes with your pup. The Working Dog Tribute inside Highland Memorial Park in Wisconsin pays homage to veteran dogs, as does the War Dog Memorial inside the March Field Air Museum in California. History buffs, however, may love a visit to Gettysburg to see the memorial to Sally who marched with the 11th Pennsylvania infantry during the infamous battle there. We salute you, our brave best furiends!

Memorial Day safety tips

Whether tribute or fun is on this year's agenda, always be sure you keep safety in mind. Check out these tips for a safe Memorial Day weekend with your pup!

  • Know what human foods your dog can’t have. These include grapes, garlic, onions, and chives. 

  • Always have someone supervising the dogs at a pool party, even if they’re in a paddling pool.

  • Bring your pup indoors if there will be fireworks. 

  • Keep your dog leashed when out and about. 

  • Make sure your dog is wearing an updated ID tag and/or is microchipped.

  • Take adequate breaks on long road trips. 

Got more questions about Memorial Weekend safety for your dog? Chat with a veterinary professional today to get answers!

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