Are you tired of the same old summer activities with your pet? Maybe it’s the dog park, maybe it’s a neighborhood walk. Either way, your dog is bored; don’t act like you don’t suspect it. He/she wants a change of scenery. Wouldn’t you? Here’s some ideas to change it up a bit and give your dog some fresh new experiences this season – and maybe you’ll expand your horizons at the same time!
1. Take your dog hiking
This may not be easily accessible for everyone, but most people, at the very least, have nature trails they can visit on the weekend. If you’re lucky enough, consider a long day trip to the mountains or even an overnight backpacking trip. Just be sure to pack not just for yourself, but also for your canine partner. This means food, water if there won’t be a source, clothing if the elements require it, shade if it’s summer, a leash, and remember bags for their waste or bury it 6-8 inches deep away from camps or water. As fun as it is to let your buddy run free in the mountains, that presents a major hazard to wildlife, your own safety (bear and cougar bait, anyone?), and the environment. Use a leash and always practice Leave No Trace. Dog’s sensitive paws can get extremely raw on a long hiking trail. Stop and check them often. If they won’t wear booties, use a wax designed for this use. Musher’s Secret is a popular brand. Always check what the dog rules are before heading out. Many national and state parks prohibit dogs on the trails.
2. Go to the lake
Most dogs love the water, especially if it’s a hot day. Bring a floatable toy and find somewhere that allows dogs at the beach. If your dog is a little guy who’s not adept at swimming, bring a lifejacket! Always be prepared for the weather and make sure they have continuous access to shade and drinking water. You know your pet. Watch them for signs that they’ve maybe had a bit too much fun in the sun. Consider that some dogs can get sunburns. If you can see their skin, it can burn. And ALWAYS be careful of their paws on hot concrete. They can burn instantly. Dogs can suffer heatstroke rather easily, and certain breeds are even more prone. Avoid outdoor activities on scorching days.
3. Go boating
As an extension to the last suggestion, take it one step further and take your dog for a day on the boat. Bring some water and a dish as well as snacks. And although they may not mind drinking lake water, boats leak gas and oil into that water. If it’s not healthy for you, it’s also not healthy for them. Not all dogs love being on a boat. Some get anxious, some get motion sickness. All you can do is try it out. Make sure you have easy access to the shore for occasional bathroom breaks.
4. Go paddleboarding
You’ll get just as much joy out of this as they will. Let your buddy sit on the front of the board, life jacket on, and paddle around the lake. Keep in mind all the previously mentioned sun precautions. Try to stay close to the shore in case you both get dunked, and it’s also safer to avoid the hazards of boats.
5. Go shopping
There are plenty of stores that will allow us to bring our four-legged friends with us. Check out www.bringfido.com for some suggestions, although it’s not a comprehensive list. It’s best to call ahead to confirm. And don’t ruin it for everyone else; make sure to clean up after your pet if they have an accident. It happens. Always keep your dog on a leash too.
6. Go out to lunch
Some cafes and restaurants will allow you to sit outside with your dog to eat. Go on a date together. You can also locate some of these restaurants at www.bringfido.com. Do some people (and dog) watching while you’re at it. Stroll the streets and window shop downtown.
7. Go on an overnight getaway
Plenty of hotels are extremely pet friendly and will go above and beyond to make your stay special. Most hotel search sites will let you filter by dog friendly. Consider visiting a nearby town or city to explore with your dog and make a weekend out of it. There’s nothing like new sights, smells, and places to leave your “mark.”
We’d love to hear more suggestions of new and fun ideas for activities to do with your dogs. Pets are not furniture. They are not meant to sit at home 24 hours a day, every day. How would you like it? Let’s make their lives as fulfilling and content as possible.