Pets on Kiawah

With over 30 miles of walking and biking trails and 10 miles of beach, Kiawah Island is the perfect destination to enjoy with your four-legged family members. Pets are more than welcome on our beautiful island. You will find that many of our Villa Rentals allow dogs! Before you begin your vacation, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with some simple information and tips on how your pet can peacefully coexist in our native environment.

Don’t forget: the Heron Park Nature Center sells pet toys and other fun gifts for your furry loved ones! Bring your pet to the park and enjoy our dog water bowl station located outside of the store.

Before You Arrive

  • Leash. Pack your leash Kiawah Island has a leash law. For your dogs saftely leashes are required throughout most of the island.
  • Flea and Tick Prevention: We suggest administering flea and tick prevention before arriving to Kiawah. Even in the middle of January, ticks are present on the island.
  • Portable Water Bowl:  Dogs need hydration just as much as humans do.  Take along a water bottle and a portable water bowl on your island adventures to make sure your dog stays healthy in our heat and humidity.
  • Flashlight: Pack your flashlight for late-night walks – Kiawah does not have street lights.

Dog Safety On Island

  • For your dog’s safety, all dogs are required to be on a leash while on the island.
  • Alligators are potentially present in all of Kiawah’s ponds, and for that reason dogs should never be allowed to swim in the ponds or play near a pond’s edge. Some paths on Kiawah are adjacent to pond edges, but dogs on leashes do not attract the attention of an alligator unless the dog is wading along the pond edge.


Dogs on the Beach

  • Leash Law: Dogs are allowed on most parts of the beach, please refer to the map for details. If your dog is in the seasonal leash-free zone, please make sure your dog is under voice control. Not everyone appreciates enthusiastic visits from sandy wet dogs as much as we do!
  • Dunes: Do not allow your dogs to run through the dunes. Traffic in the dunes is detrimental to the dune environment. In addition, cactus and sand spurs, which can be painful to pets paws are abundant in the dunes.
  • Shore Bird Protection: The far western and far eastern ends of Kiawah Island are quiet refuges for threatened birds such as least terns and Wilson’s plovers in the summer, piping plovers in the winter. Disturbance of feeding and nesting territory by dogs is one of the reasons why these birds are declining. Please restrain your dog around shorebirds and stay out of the nesting colony on the eastern end of the island, marked by signs near the Ocean Course.
  • Cleaning up: While on the beach please pick up after your dog Bags for disposal of pet waste. Complimentary Mutt Mitts are available at most boardwalks.

Pets and Heat

  • Like humans, dogs can get heat stroke and heat exhaustion from our combination of high summer heat and humidity. Bring plenty of water for your dog and offer water on a regular basis. The recreation department has water refill stations available at the Nature Center at Night Heron Park and Turtles Nest at the Straw Market
  • Many dogs have no “quit button” and will run and play until they are lethally overheated and over-exhausted. Make sure you monitor your dog’s health while in the heat and provide plenty of rest breaks.
  • Never leave your dog in the car during the summer unless the air conditioning is on. Even with the windows cracked open for air, the heat can build up to dangerous levels for dogs that are not used to it.
  • The sand on beach near the dunes can get very hot please protect your dogs paws by quick traveling to the cooler sand at the waters edge.

Local Veterinary Clinic
Angel Oak Animal Hospital – 3160 Maybank Hwy., Johns Island, SC – (843) 559-1838.