Author Bio: Sarah-Jane White is an Animal Behaviour & Enrichment Expert. Her mission is to help pet parents use enrichment for a happy and fulfilling life together. She runs award-winning enrichment product business Ruffle Snuffle® and her Top 10 'Life With Pets' Blog.
The summer is finally here, and you have the opportunity to spend more time outside with your dog. The fresh air, sunshine, and new smells will be great for both of you! In this article, I will go over 9 fun games and activities that will help keep your dog mentally stimulated during the hot summer days. I hope these ideas can help make your next outdoor adventure with your pup a success!
Go Wild Swimming
Swimming is a great way to cool off your pup in the summer. If you are lucky enough to live near the beach, then you have a whole ocean to splash about in! Always aim for a dog-friendly beach that has a lifeguard, just in case, and whom you can ask about current conditions and whether it’s safe to be in the water. Make sure you check the weather forecast and tide timetables too for information before you head out. Two useful websites are magicseaweed or the Met Office for information about the weather, tides and swells.
No ocean? No problem, a second option is finding a section of stream or river where you and your dog can swim for a while. When scouting out safe places make sure your dog knows how to get back on the shore and don’t use canals. If your dog is not a natural swimming breed then you ‘ll want to kit them out with a life jacket to be on the safe side.
There has been a recent trend of opening up lidos for dogs and even dog-friendly swimming pools so do a Google search where you live and see if you are one of the lucky ones.
Stand Up Paddleboarding
A trendy sport this year is stand up paddleboarding. This is a fun way to spend time with your dog. You can easily rent a board and give it a go or join a group for some expert tuition. You will need some patience at first as you and your dog get used to standing up on the board together and expect to fall in quite a few times!
It isn’t as physically demanding as surfing and really quite peaceful. It’s magical to watch the sunset as you paddle about together. Your arms and legs will ache a bit the next day too, but it’s totally worth it. To find where you can do this near you, just Google "paddleboarding near me".
Turn on Your Sprinkler
This is a really great way to keep your dog entertained, and it's also one of the easiest. Just turn on your sprinkler in the back garden and play! Some dogs like to try and 'eat' the water, so just be mindful that whilst this is fun, it can be dangerous if your dog ingests too much water (known as water intoxication). Double-check that you aren’t in an area with a hosepipe ban too, just in case.
Bubble-Blowing Dog Toy
This is a more exciting option than turning on your sprinkler. Get yourself some bubble blowing toys and some dog-friendly bubble mixture. You, your family and the dog can spend time chasing and popping bubbles. If you’re wondering whether bubble mixture is safe for your dog, you can buy pet and kid-friendly bubble solution. You can even make your own chicken flavoured bubbles with this recipe from Ruffle Snuffle's Life with Pets.
Have A Nerf Dog Fight!
If your dog loves chasing after its toys, then this game is perfect. Grab a Nerf gun from Amazon and load up the tennis balls, ready, aim, fire! Remember to play in short bursts and rest in the shade in between games. Have fresh water available and wet towels to pop on your dog to keep them cool.
Throw A Frisbee
This is a fun game to play with your dog, and the Beco natural rubber Frisbee Flyer is the perfect toy to use! Throwing accuracy and distance are important skills when it comes to enabling your dog to catch the frisbee. Start by throwing small distances, then increase as your dog's catching skill improves. Great for the beach, park or just in the garden.
Remember - keep cool and watch for signs of heatstroke in your dog
Although summer games are fun, just remember that unlike us, our dogs can only sweat through their paws, and some breeds can overheat very, very quickly.
Pop a cool coat on your dog, try and play in the early morning or late evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Always have a shady spot to retreat too with plenty of fresh water to drink for you both. Make sure you know the signs of heatstroke, too and how to help your dog cool down safely.
Summer is the perfect time to get outside with your dog. Get out of that stuffy office and go for a swim, paddleboard down a river, or take them for some new fun activities like hiking! It's important not only to spend quality time with your furry friend but also exercise together and bond in the fresh air. So there you have it, some great games and ideas to get you out and about and having safe fun in the sun with your dog. What will you do first?