Summer is finally here: time for picnics in the park, lazy days in the garden and trips out to the beach. Dogs require mental stimulation and physical exercise all year long - so use the sunnier months as an opportunity to bond with your pet through training and play.
Throughout this part of the year, it’s vital to make sure they stay cool - as overheating in dogs poses a serious health risk. Whether you’re staying in or exploring the great outdoors, here’s our guide to summer activities for dogs so they can get the most out of the season too.
1. Rainy-Day Rhotties
When it comes to summer weather we’re eternal optimists - but when rainy days happen, we can still make them fun. Boredom can quickly lead to unwanted behaviour in dogs (especially in younger dogs and puppies) - so to keep their brains and bodies occupied, plan a clicker training session, provide them with a food puzzle - or play a fun game of hide and seek.
2. Old English Olympics
Recreate a mini Crufts in your own backyard with summer fun for dogs and games that are bound to set tails wagging. Tug of war, leaping over obstacles and weaving in and out of cones are just a few games you can play with your dog - and even if they aren’t quite as adept as the pros, at the very least it will be entertaining. Make sure the equipment is safe to use beforehand, and go for gold!
3. Beachy Bassetts
Everybody loves a trip to the beach - including our canine companions. When the mercury rises, head to the coast to cool down. A sprint along the sand is great exercise for dogs (especially those of a more energetic nature) plus resistance from the sand helps to burn additional calories. For dogs that love to swim, a dip in the sea is always a treat - but follow our tips below to ensure that they can swim safely.
4. (Safely) Swimming Spaniels
If your dog is a keen swimmer, a refreshing dip on a warm day can be a wonderful way to cool down. Wherever you’re headed, practise good water safety and steer clear of lakes and ponds with algae on the surface, rivers with deadly undercurrents - and any places with warning signs posted.
If paddling in the sea, never let them swim out to sea as the tide can pull them out) - and don’t let them drink the water as this can cause hyponatremia, a rare but possibly fatal condition. Keep an eye on your pup at all times and consider investing in a dog-safe life jacket to help keep them safe while they have fun.
5. Paddling Patterdales
If the beach is out of reach - or if where you live is landlocked, don’t despair: your pet can still splash around in their very own mini waterpark in your garden with sprinklers and a doggy paddling pool for them to frolic about in. Playing in the garden is one of the most fun summer activities for dogs there is - proving that you don’t have to travel far to have a good time.
6. Adventurous Airedales
While more sedate breeds of dog are content to laze about in the sun, others have wanderlust in their genes. Summer fun for dogs can mean a gentle stroll - or if your dog is more energetic, why not take to the hills in search of adventure?
Whether you’re on a day-long hike or camping under the stars, there are plenty of ways to discover the great outdoors with your dog - just follow safety guidance, make sure they’re microchipped - and don’t forget to pop a light-up collar on them to keep them safe at night.
7. Park-bound Pugs
The park is a great place to meet furry friends - especially if it’s a designated dog park. Being around other hounds can help your dog learn to socialise with other animals - plus it’s the perfect place to meet and get to know other dog owners who can share tips with you about pet care and training.
8. Movie-buff Mastiffs
Do you have a dog that loves watching TV? While the idea of going to the pictures with your pup might sound completely “barking” to some, to others it’s not that far-fetched: there are indeed dog-friendly cinemas you can find located around the UK - but if there isn’t one nearby, it’s the perfect opportunity to set one up at home. Grab some pupcorn, relax - and enjoy the show.
9. Chilled-out Chihuahuas
Dogs need to relax, too: and it’s especially true for pups of a more nervous disposition. If your dog is in need of a little TLC (that’s treat, love and cuddles) - why not set up your own doggy spa day at home?
Learning dog massage is a great skill to learn for owners whose pets are older or suffer with creaky joints, plus it helps you to bond with them. Creates some ambience with dog-friendly music and use pet-safe products (never essential oils, which can be harmful to animals).
10. Bubbly Beagles
If you’ve ever seen your dog chase bubbles, you’ll know how much fun it can be (plus watching them is also very funny). Believe it or not, there’s actually a wide selection of pet-safe bubbles available on the market - so you don’t have to worry about your dog ingesting any harmful chemicals typically found in bubble mixtures.
11. Gorgeous Goldens
Come summertime, you might find that your dog’s fur is a little too thick for the warm weather.. Keeping your dog’s fur in good condition is always important - but if Fido’s fur (or claws) are in need of a trim, a trip to the groomers is another great way to pamper your pooch. Don’t forget to bring lots of treats with you - this helps them to make a positive association with going to the groomers.
12. Foodie Frenchies
If your dog is something of a gourmet, let them enjoy the occasional summery snack. Hydrating foods like watermelon are good, as are dog-friendly iced treats (these are free from lactose, which can upset dogs’ stomachs). If feeding them anything outside of their usual diet, always make sure that it’s safe and non-toxic for them to eat.
You may find that in summer your dog has slightly less of an appetite (typically a combination of warm weather and lower calorie requirements). Switching to two lighter, smaller meals (rather than a single large one) is advisable - although if your dog stops eating altogether it could be a sign of a health issue - so take them to the vet asap.
12. Huskies on Holiday
It’s worth remembering that not all dogs travel well - so if you have a plane booked and an anxious pup, it might be better to board them for the week either at a registered dog kennel or with a trusted friend or family member. That said, if you are confident your dog is happy enough to come with you, this can be done, although it requires a degree of preparation (fortunately, we have plenty of tips here on how to do just that).
Always remember when planning an activity with your dog choose something that they will prefer: while it’s important for dogs to exercise, some pets (such as older dogs, pets with long term illnesses, smaller or more laid back breeds) might not love the idea of walking for miles - so pick an activity that suits their breed, age, disposition and health needs.
Playing with your pet is always time well-spent, and if you have some breaks from work this season, use them as the perfect opportunity to bond with your dog and create some happy memories together. Most importantly of all, stay safe - and have fun!