Hanging outside with your furry friend in the warmer months is a great way to spend quality time together. While most dogs seem to never tire of a good game of fetch, it can be a little repetitive for the person tossing the ball! Of course, fetch is not the only way to keep your dog entertained outside. When you need a break from tennis balls and frisbees, try out one of these activities instead!
1. Swimming pool
Break out a kiddie pool, fill it with water, and let your dog splash around. Always a great way to relax and beat the heat. You can toss in a few ice cubes and toys or join your friend for a dip in the water. Not only is this an easy, safe way to introduce your dog to water, but it's a great way to give a pup a bath (especially large dogs). Just be sure to change the water and clean the pool frequently to avoid creating a mosquito-breeding-algae-growing-dog-bog. Not good for anyone!
2. Toysicle (or Treatsicle!)
What exactly is a toysicle, you ask? It’s an easy way to cool your dog down and keep her entertained at the same time. Take a large bowl, cake mold, or even small bucket and toss in some of your dog’s favorite toys. This activity works best with non-cloth toys like rubber chews. You can also throw in some dog treats to entice your pup even further. Once you have a few toys and treats, cover them with water and put the whole thing in the freezer. After it’s frozen, pop it out and let your dog lick away. It will keep her cool while also rewarding her with treats and toys as she breaks through the ice.
NOTE: Some people may be concerned about the safety of allowing a dog to enjoy ice because of bloating and intestinal problems. These concerns have been widely disputed by animal experts and vets across the country. The greater issue is actually the risk of broken teeth! As with any activity, monitoring your pet can prevent mishaps.
For days when relaxation is calling, try a picnic. Grab a camping chair and your dog’s kennel (or a combination of the two) and pack some snacks! Make sure you bring plenty of food and water for both yourself and your pet, but keep in mind that some picnic fare, such as bones (especially chicken bones), grapes and raisins, chocolate, onions, and avocados can be dangerous to dogs.
Also, remember, your pets can’t tell you when they are overheated, so always keep an eye on them to make sure they are getting enough water, spending time in the shade, and not panting too heavily.
For a balance of exercise and exploration opportunities, you can’t beat hiking. Pick a trail that works for you and your dog’s skill level, pack snacks, plenty of water. Your dog will love sniffing around and discovering new smells and will certainly appreciate the exercise. Find trails that are dog-friendly, shady and easy on the paws. Avoid trails heavily used by horses and or bikes. You can find canine friendly trails by state at hikewithyourdog.com. Remember, that if you are new to this, your dog is also - take it slow in the beginning. If this is something you want to get more serious about, research the topic.
All the fun and exercise your dog craves without ever having to throw a ball!
June is National Camping Month and what better way to have a total outdoor experience with Fido than a night or two under the stars. Of course, this extended excursion will require a little more forethought than a picnic in the park.Be sure your dog has the temperament, as well as, the desire, to enjoy an overnight stay away from the safety of home. A barking dog will keep everyone awake, a nervous Nelly will not have a good time and an aggressive hunter may be hard to control and keep contained at the campsite. Also, make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations, is protected from ticks and fleas and is chipped and tagged.
Research and create a packing list before you head out. Camping with pets has become increasingly popular and it is easy to find lists and tips simple by typing "camping with pets" into your browser. If you make frequent excursions, consider keeping a lidded 18 gallon container filled with the pet's gear and non-perishable necessities. While this will require you to purchase duplicates of some items, the time savings might be well worth it. Label the container and store it until the next outing.
Spending time with your dog is essential to your pet’s health and happiness. Take them outside and vary your activities to keep your dog’s mind sharp and happy!