Everybody loves getting out and enjoying the summer, even your family pets! Don’t let them miss out on fun in the sun, adventures and summertime activities. But always remember that your pets are in fur coats and need to be protected against overheating and other summertime dangers. Include your pets in your activities this season with these fun summer pet ideas.
These Summer Pet Ideas Let Your Pets Enjoy the Season Too
Our furry family members like to be included in everything we do. Oftentimes, we have to leave them at home for their own safety or because we’re going places they aren’t welcome. But summertime is the perfect time of year to include them because a lot of activities take place outdoors or you can make an effort to do more outdoors with your pet depending on your climate.
At Improvements, we have put together a list of some summer pet ideas for you to try this summer. Do one or try them all! Your pets will surely thank you and you will make lasting memories for everyone.
Take a Class Together
There are plenty of options out there for you and Fido to learn together. Exercise your brain and your pet’s to help grow your bond even stronger. From dog yoga or puppy training to search and rescue or agility, there are so many options available. Check with your local dog training schools, yoga/pilates studios or even a local community college. You never know what you will find!
Summer heat can be rough on pets. Help them keep cool with these summer pet ideas. Find a dog-friendly beach or water park in your area and take your furry friend for a dip. Put a baby pool in the backyard or allow them to run through the sprinkler while you’re watering your lawn. Make popsicles out of beef or chicken broth for them to enjoy. Freeze treats or their favorite toys into a block of ice; they can lick away until they free it. (To make, simply place the treats or toys in a bucket, fill with water and freeze.) Does your neighborhood have an ice cream truck? See if they carry doggy ice cream for your furkids to enjoy. A lot of them are starting to cater to the pet people as well as the neighborhood kids.
Allow your dog to help you in the garden. Lying in the mud or cool soil is a great way for dogs to stay cool in the hot summer sun. Plus, it is fun for them! Of course, they’ll likely need a bath afterward or get the sprinkler back out for another sprint through it!
Most importantly, make sure your dog stays cool by staying hydrated. Always ensure your pets’ access to fresh, cold water. Dog water fountains work great especially outdoors!
Enjoy the Outdoors
Whether it’s just reading a book on the front porch or back deck or taking a walk around the neighborhood, get out of the house and enjoy the summer sun. Look into participating in a dog pack walk. Many doggy daycares trainers or local shelters will offer them. Teach your cat or ferret how to walk on a leash and be the talk of your neighborhood. Take your furry pal on a hike. Play a game of fetch at the local dog park or enjoy the local baseball game. Some major league and minor league teams also offer Dog Days where your pooch is allowed at the ballpark. Make sure to buy an extra hot dog for your pal!
Ensure you and your pet stay plenty hydrated while enjoying the outdoors. Do not overdo it though. Pets do best in the morning or evening hours. Avoid long walks and hikes in the midday sun.
Create an Obstacle Course
This is great fun and can be done indoors or outside. Understand your pet’s ability and create obstacles that will challenge him/her but not be too overwhelming or scary. Some great obstacle ideas include a tunnel, a pole to jump over (make it adjustable so you can go higher once your pet gets the hang of it), a teeter tauter, weave poles, a ladder or more. Get creative and you and your pets will have so much fun. And the best part is that it can grow as your pet grows. Add obstacles as he masters the current ones, or take some as he or she ages.
If it’s too hot to be outside for long periods of time, stay indoors and play some games. Keeping your pet’s mind mentally challenged is a great way to burn some calories even if you can’t get out for much physical exercise. Puzzle toys are great for this! They often have slots for hiding treats and multiple different ways the pets need to open them. Or just hide some treats or their favorite toys throughout your house. You can even play hide and seek with your pets. Another great game is to take three cups and put a treat under one of them. Move them around and see if your pet can find the treat. Play tug-of-war or a game of indoor fetch. Build your cat a new scratching tower too! Bunnies and guinea pigs can search out treats too. Get all of your furry family members out for a game. Use your brain and see what fun game ideas you can come up with. The best thing of all is that your pet doesn’t care if the game is challenging or silly. It is just happy to spend time with you and get attention. Playing games is truly a win-win!
Learn a New Trick
You can teach an old dog new tricks and you can even learn a new trick or two yourself. Whether you decide the new trick is catching a frisbee, riding a skateboard or just giving a wave, learning new tricks is fun for all involved. For the pet because, he or she is often rewarded with treats, and for you, because you are rewarded with your pet’s attention and obedience. Additionally, teaching a new trick to your pet takes time and consistency so you have the motivation to keep up the routine. Sometimes routines tend to fall by the wayside in the summer but they are incredibly important for most pets. Keep to the routine and see how happy your pet truly is.
Take a pet-friendly trip! Whether it’s a day jaunt to the beach, a weekend camping trip or a weeklong stay at a cabin in the woods, you and your pet or pets will have a blast and really solidify your bond. There are many pet-friendly hotels in pet-friendly cities across the nation and summer is often packed with festivals and events specifically for pets. Do a little research, pick a locale, pack a bag and hit the road.
For more information about safely traveling with your dog, check out our Five Tips for Traveling with Dogs blog post.
Grab a Bite to Eat Al Fresco
Find a local restaurant with a pet-friendly patio and enjoy brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks. Often, the restaurant includes a menu designed specifically for pets and provides water bowls. Breweries are often pet-friendly. Any trendy neighborhood that is popular amongst young people or families will usually have multiple options to choose from. Just remember to make sure your pet is welcome before you show up with your fur friend. You don’t want to get your favorite hangout in trouble with the health department!
Summer Pet Ideas for Protecting Pets in the Summer Heat
Summer pet ideas may not be all fun and games. While there are so many things you can be doing and should be doing with your pets this summer, there are also plenty of things not to do and other things that you need to be on the lookout for. For instance, NEVER leave your pet in your car in the spring or summer. The car will reach dangerous temperatures in just minutes even if the day is overcast and under 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s just not worth the risk. If you have to run into a store, stop at the bank or any number of errands, take your dog home first.
Pets can easily become overheated in the summer heat and sun. Know the symptoms of heatstroke or heat exhaustion and be sure to protect your pets against it. Heavy panting and drooling, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, dark or red gums/tongue, dizziness, weakness, agitation or any change in their behavior or appetite are all signs of heatstroke. Cool pets immediately if you recognize these signs. If symptoms persist, get to the veterinarian right away.
Check the pavement and blacktop before allowing dogs and cats to walk on it. Hot cement has been known to burn paw pads and cause serious injury. Place the back on your hand on the pavement for 5-10 seconds. If it is too hot for your skin, it is too hot for your pets’ feet.
More to Worry About than Just Heat
Ticks, fleas and other parasites and bacteria ten to thrive in hot weather. Protect your pet against these pests. Fleas and ticks have been extremely prevalent over the last few years. They can carry many diseases and are not fun to remove. Protect yourself and pets against them. If you plan to take your dog on a hike or to the beach, river, lake or creek, you may want to talk to your veterinarian about the leptospirosis vaccine. Leptospirosis is a bacteria picked up from stagnant water and can cause fever, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea and more. Heartworm is a nasty disease and is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Both dogs and cats are at risk. It is very important to protect your pets against a heartworm infestation. If you don’t currently have your pet on a flea, tick or heartworm prevention, please talk to your vet about it as soon as possible.
For more tips on how to keep your pets safe outdoors, read our blog post How to Keep Your Pets Safe Outside: Use a Pet Gate & Other Essentials.
Are You Motivated to Try Some of These Fun Summer Pet Ideas?
We hope you are because we sure can’t wait to try these summer pet ideas! And if you don’t have a pet to enjoy these activities with, grab a friend instead, or better yet, head to your local animal shelter and volunteer. You can take homeless dogs for walks, foster them for the summer, play with cats and clean the cages. Don’t let summer pass you by without finding a way to enjoy it with your pets or to give back to your community animals. Everyone will benefit from it. What summer pet ideas do you participate in with your furry friends? Let us know in the comments!