Summer is finally here! You’re making plans with your friends and family to get together for weekend barbeques and group outings to the beach or other fun places, but what about your dog? You might be trying to come up with some fun things to do with your dog this summer, so here are pet friendly activities that both you and your dog will surely enjoy.
Make Frozen Dog Treats
It’s one of those sizzling hot afternoons, and you’re cooling off by drinking a refreshingly chilled iced coffee or enjoying a delicious fruit popsicle. There’s nothing quite like a frozen treat to help cool you off during the hot summer days, so why not make some cool snacks for your dog, too? Although your dog shouldn’t eat frozen treats that are made for people, since they can upset his stomach, there are still lots of ways you can make refreshing snacks for your dog that he will definitely enjoy and appreciate!
There are many commercial products made just for dogs that you can find at your local grocery store or pet food store. Frosty Paws is one popular choice and it comes in two flavors (regular or peanut butter). If you prefer, you can always make your own pup popsicles at home. One fast and easy recipe is to take either a mini-muffin pan or mini Tupperware containers and fill it half way with chicken or beef broth (make sure to use fat-free, low-sodium broth). Place them in the freezer for several hours so they begin to freeze over. Once they become slightly frozen, take them out and add a surprise treat in the middle – it could be one of your dog’s favorite biscuits, a piece of dog kibble, or a bite-size training treat – then pour the rest of the broth on top to cover the treat and put it back in the freezer. Once it’s completely frozen, you can give one to your dog who will surely enjoy this refreshing popsicle! You can also experiment with different recipes, such as Peanut Butter Pupsicles. Just make sure that any treat you feed your dog is made with ingredients that are safe for dogs. If you’re not sure what is safe, talk to your vet about what types of treats are okay for your dog.
Host A Playdate At Your House
Is your dog social and does he like to play with other dogs? Then why not throw a party and invite his friends over for some fun activities! If you have friends or neighbors who have dogs or if you frequently go to local dog parks to play, then most likely you know who your dog’s buddies are and who he gets along with. Usually dogs like to hang out with other dogs that have similar temperaments and energy levels, and age often plays a factor as well. If your dog is a senior, he might not have the patience needed for a young, energetic puppy – you know your dog best, so make sure you’re inviting guests that your dog will be happy to see.
To start planning your play date, first you’re going to need some fun doggie toys that your canine guests will enjoy playing with. You’re going to want to have a fairly wide assortment so there will plenty of toys for everyone to enjoy. Put together a collection of Frisbees, Kong toys, balls and a few rope toys so the dogs can play tug-of-war if they want to. With a good selection of these types of toys, the dogs will not only be able to interact with each other, but you and your people guests can also spend time playing fetch and exercising the dogs during the play date.
For some extra cool-down fun, how about creating some water games for the dogs, too? You can set up an area in your backyard and turn on a water sprinkler where the dogs can play together and chase each other through the water. Another idea is to get a small kid’s wading pool where the dogs can splash around and cool off.
You’ll want to make sure there is plenty of fresh drinking water and shade available for all of your guests (both dog and people). You’ll probably want to have food for your people guests such as freshly sliced fruits or raw vegetables with dips; if you also want to provide something for your dog guests, you can offer them small bite-size treats and keep an eye on potential conflicts while they’re enjoying their snacks. Happy panting and low wagging tails are all signs that your visitors are having a good time!
Another fun thing to do with your dog this summer is if you decide to host a play date towards the end of the day when it’s close to sunset time, wait until the sun goes down and set up an outdoor movie theater in your own backyard so all the guests can enjoy a good movie together. All you need is a projector and a bed sheet or screen (if you have one), set up a few beach blankets and lawn chairs, and you can watch one of your favorite movies together with your friends and your dog’s buddies, too!
Dine Out With Your Dog
Dining establishments are recognizing that many people consider their dogs to be part of their family and creating a dog-friendly atmosphere is actually good for their business, especially since families who have dogs are more likely to eat out if they can bring their canine companion along, too. According to APPA (American Pet Products Manufacturers Association), approximately 47% of all households in the U.S. have at least one dog, so it makes sense to open up dining options to reach this demographic.
There are now quite a few restaurants you can go to with your dog, so you can easily add “dining with my dog” to your list of fun things to do with your dog this summer. From local cafés to sandwich shops to fancy sit-down restaurants, you should be able to easily find a dog-friendly location near you. It’s probably a good idea to call ahead and check that dogs are welcome, especially since policies can sometimes change. Dogs are typically allowed on patios and outside areas only (due to U.S. health code laws) and outdoor seating can sometimes be limited due to seasonal weather conditions. Most dog-friendly restaurants have special dog menus that include meals such as grilled hamburger patty with brown rice, grilled chicken tenders or even filet mignon at some of the more upscale restaurants. Many restaurants also give out treats to their canine guests and offer fresh water in bowls for your dog. Some restaurants, such as Mutt’s Cantina, have giant outdoor play areas where your dog can socialize with other dogs while you sit and meet other dog lovers, while a few places, such as Denver Beer Co. allow well behaved dogs (on a leash) to come inside with you while you relax and grab a cold beer.
Of course, all dog-friendly restaurants have basic housekeeping rules for guests who bring their dogs. One basic rule for all restaurants is that your dog must be on a leash and should be well-behaved. If your dog is not well socialized and spends the meal whining or barking at the other guests, it’s probably not going to be much fun for you or for the other patrons. It’s a good idea to exercise and feed your dog before you go to the restaurant – that way you’ll have a much better chance of having an enjoyable, relaxing time. You should also bring some toys for your dog to play with so he has something to keep him busy and will be less likely to get bored during dinner. And of course, restaurants do not want your dog to get up on the table or on your lap while you’re eating, so keep him on a leash and under control at all times. You can find dog-friendly restaurants near you at BringFido.com, just call ahead to check that their policies haven’t changed.
See A Movie With Your Dog (Outdoor Park or Drive In)
Another fun thing to do with your dog this summer is to catch an outdoor screening of one of your favorite movies. Many outdoor screenings are family and dog friendly, so grab a picnic basket along with a big blanket, some lawn chairs and pillows and head out to the beach or a local park where a neighborhood movie is being shown outdoors. Of course you can always see one of the new movie releases in a chain theater by yourself, but that’s not nearly as much fun as watching one of your old time favorites under the stars at the local park with your friends, neighbors and especially with your dog. Movies usually start right around dusk and many of the locations have plenty of free parking. Some places have “doggie patches” where the dogs can relieve themselves during long or double header movies, and other places have a VIP (Very Important Pooch) section where you can get water or snacks for your dog. Of course, make sure your dog is well behaved and on a leash at all times. Bring along a bowl of fresh water and some play toys for your dog, so he can enjoy the movie right along with you. And even though most outdoor movie locations are dog friendly, it’s always a good idea to call ahead first to make sure your pooch is welcome.
Go To The Beach Or A Lake
When was the last time you took your dog to play at the beach or swim in a nearby lake? Playing in the water and running on the sand is another fun thing to do with your dog this summer. Many beaches and lakes are dog-friendly and quite a few have designated beach areas and swim spots dedicated just for dogs, so you can let your dog off the leash to run and play freely. Bring along plenty of fresh water for your dog to drink, as well as a few beach towels so you can dry him off after swimming. You’ll also want to bring along sunscreen made especially for dogs, since dogs can get sunburned just like people. Pink skin areas and short haired dogs are more at risk for sunburn, so you’ll need to apply the sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you get to the beach. Once you’ve arrived at the beach or lake, you’ll want to find a place where there is plenty of shade and set up a big beach umbrella or canopy so your dog can come out of the sun and rest in a cool, protected area away from the direct sun.
Some dog breeds do not like to swim in the water, but if your dog is one of the many that does like to swim, consider getting a special life jacket made especially for dogs. They come in all different sizes and bright colors for improved visibility (plus they’re more fashionable in bright pink or neon blue!)
While your dog is playing in the water, keep an eye out for sharp rocks, shells or coral that could possibly cut or scrape him. Also, ocean water can dry your dog’s skin and coat, so you’ll want to rinse him off with cool, clean fresh water to remove the salt and sand from his coat, and carefully dry his ears to remove any extra moisture. If you have a senior dog with arthritis or joint issues, make sure he doesn’t overdo it and keep him in shallow water areas where the water is warmer and he can easily wade or walk in the water.
Take Your Dog Shopping
Shopping is another fun thing to do with your dog this summer, and many retail stores now encourage shoppers to bring their dogs along with them. Shopping with your dog can be a lot of fun for both of you – you’ll have the companionship of your best friend while selecting a great new pair of shoes, and your dog will enjoy socializing with new people and receiving a lot of attention from the other people at the stores. Of course not every dog is cut out for shopping; you know your dog best and how he reacts to public places and crowds. Your dog should know basic commands (sit, stay, come, down and heel) and should be well behaved in public. If your dog tends to bark or jump on people or is aggressive at all, then of course you should leave him at home and go shopping by yourself.
When you’re at the shopping mall with your dog, retailers ask that you keep your dog on a leash and have him close to you. People are naturally going to want to stop and visit with you and your dog, so be ready for a slower than normal shopping trip. When you are outside the stores, let your dog explore the surrounding areas where there is grass and trees to help keep him interested in the whole shopping experience. Bring along fresh drinking water and a bowl, and of course, you’ll need to bring along extra doggie bags to clean up after him. Make sure you don’t overdo it, as all the attention and exercise could be overwhelming. You’ll want to keep the experience positive so he’ll want to go shopping with you again!
If shopping is a new experience for your dog, it’s best to start small and work your way up so he can gradually get used to shopping with you. Outdoor malls are a good place to start, where you can just simply go for a walk together. When your dog seems ready to go into a store, start with a pet store where the smells of treats and toys will be familiar, plus you may meet other dogs, too. A lot of well-known retailers allow dogs in the stores, but it’s best to call ahead just to make sure since store policies may change or the individual store managers may have different policies. A few clothing and department stores that are dog-friendly include Macy’s, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Foot Locker, Old Navy, Gap and Urban Outfitters. Well known chain pet stores that allow dogs include Petco and Petsmart and other well-known retail stores that allow dogs are Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, Bass Pro Shops, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and Tractor Supply Co.
So now that the weather is ideal for outdoor activities, here’s a great opportunity to give your dog a change of scenery and take him to some new, fun places that he can explore. With all this extra activity and play, you’ll probably want to give your dog a joint supplement with hyaluronic acid and glucosamine for dogs such as InflamAway HA. Also, now that he’s spending more time outside, you should try MaxiDerm EFA with omega fatty acids to help keep his skin and coat healthy and shiny. What are some of your favorite places to go with your dog during the summer?