Summer is for fun and leisure, and no one’s more ready to romp and relax than your dog! Whether you have a energetic pup, an athletic adult, or a slowing senior, there is a wide selection of summer activities for dogs that you’ll both enjoy.
Remember to keep tabs on the temperature when you spend outdoor time with your dog in the warm summer months. Dogs can suffer heatstroke, particularly those at risk who are older, overweight, brachycephalic (short-snouted), large, or with thick coats. Fortunately, heatstroke is easy to prevent by avoiding the mid-day heat, choosing shade over sunny locations, and providing your pup with adequate hydration. This means that you and your dog can choose from a variety of fun and safe summer activities to enjoy together.
Winding through a shady, woodland trail is a great way to beat the heat with your pup, not to mention avoid paws on hot pavement. Your dog will love the plethora of new and tantalizing scents in the forest, including those of small, out-of-sight critters. Keep your dog under control without spoiling his fun by using a long lead. Pack some treats, a dish, and some water for him to drink. Be mindful of other hikers who might be afraid of dogs, always clean up anything your dog leaves behind, and watch him closely to ensure he doesn't try eating something that might hurt him.
Back Yard Splash Zone
If you have a yard and a hose, you and your dog can have fun right at home. A backyard splash zone tops the list of summer activities for dogs that you and your pup can enjoy whenever the spirit moves you! Play fetch or chase around a sprinkler and encourage your dog to run through the spray. Invest in a hard plastic kiddie pool for your dog to splash and dig in the water. Your dog will stay cool and clean at the same time!
If your dog is energetic, attentive, and focused, agility may be the summer fun you’ve been looking for. This obstacle course activity requires teamwork between dog and handler and can help timid pups learn confidence, according to the American Kennel Club. This is a bonding activity for you and your dog, as well as a chance for you to get in some steps towards your exercise goal. Training can be tricky and requires patience and perseverance but can teach your dog valuable impulse control.
You can take your dog for walks, or you can take the fun up a notch by walking with a friend and their dog too. Remember to check the pavement first: place your hand on the ground, and if you can’t hold it there for seven or eight seconds, it’s too hot for your dog. Schedule your walks for mornings before the heat has reached its peak, or evenings after it’s cooled down. Your dog and his canine buddy will thank you.
If it’s simply too hot for outdoor summer activities for dogs, turn up the A/C and spend time with your pup inside the house. Play ball in a hallway, with the doors to adjoining rooms kept closed. For a calmer activity, try nose work such as treat-finding. Challenge your dog with problem-solving: place a treat under one of three cups and shuffle them while your dog watches. Work on training activities, like teaching your dog to put away his toys. Offer a stuffed Kong or a treat-dispensing toy, or play “which hand” while handing over treats. Teach your dog the names of his toys, and challenge him to fetch each one on command.
Camping wouldn’t be complete without the sight of a dog trotting beside its owner along the path between sites. Before you introduce your pup to this favorite summer pastime, make a quick call to the campsite head office to ask about rules pertaining to dogs. Once on-site, keep your dog controlled. Tie him up a safe distance from the fire and any campsite items he might knock over with his leash, or set up a zip line between trees. Keep him leashed at all times, whether you're at your site or strolling the grounds. Try your best to keep him quiet at night, and clean up after him the way you would at home or on a walk.
If you’re a cyclist, take your dog on short rides. Before you try this activity, make sure your dog is properly leash trained, not afraid of your bike, and fit enough to run beside you. Start with brief sessions and be sure to pack enough water for both of you and a bowl for your dog. Plan your rides for early in the day or later in the evening, or along a shady route, to protect your pup from overheating and his paws from hot pavement injury. If your dog is very fit and loves this activity, consider investing in dog shoes and a cooling dog vest for his protection.
The list of summer activities for dogs to enjoy contains many items that are also fun for their owners. Challenge yourself and your dog to try something new each week. Most importantly, enjoy your time together!