Sunny days and warm weather bring out the adventurer in everyone, canine or human. It’s the perfect time to catch a few rays while spending time with your dog, and a variety of activities can also make your summer worth remembering. To give you inspiration for your summer break, here are a bunch of dog-friendly activities that you can try.
Keep in mind that the hot weather can be dangerous for both you and your dog. Never leave your dog in a hot car, and always carry plenty of water for both of you.
The 29 Fun Summer Activities to Do With Your Dog
1. Have a Beach Day
A sunny summer day is always the best time to spare for a day trip to your local beach. Dogs aren’t allowed on all beaches, but there are quite a few that allow four-legged best friends to join you on the sand. Remember to check the rules about whether your dog is allowed off-leash before letting them run free for a game of fetch.
If you want to avoid the hottest part of the day, visit in the morning or later in the evening to avoid high temperatures.
2. Bob for Kibble
If you want to cool down your dog during the day, splashing around in a kiddie pool in your backyard is the perfect solution. Unfortunately, not all dogs are happy to play in the water without enticement.
To encourage your dog to wade, try a canine-friendly variation of the apple bobbing game. Toss a small handful of kibble pieces into the water, and let your dog dive in after them. They might still be wary about the water, so don’t push them; let them figure out how to get the treats themselves.
3. Build an Agility Course
Summer is one of the best times to take advantage of sunny weather outside. If you have a yard, spend a few minutes playing fetch or trying something new, like building an at-home agility course. You don’t need to buy all the obstacles either. With a few DIY plans and spare materials, you can make an effective and safe agility course.
Once everything is ready, you can teach your dog how to tackle each obstacle. Take it slow and attempt one obstacle at a time. Soon, they’ll be running the full course like a pro!
4. Create Paw Art
For dog owners who enjoy art, let your dog join in on the fun! You’ll need dog-safe paint, paper or a canvas, and a few treats to reward your dog. This is a great activity for those rare rainy summer days or if you want to sit outside for a while. Encourage your dog to step in the paint, and then entice them onto the canvas to create their paw-inspired masterpiece. You can join in too and forget the paintbrush for old-fashioned finger painting.
Just remember to set up newspaper or sheets that you don’t mind getting paint on around your working area if you’re working inside, and wash your dog’s paws after you’re finished.
5. DIY Frozen Treats
Making DIY dog treats takes a bit of time and effort, but following the right recipe can ensure that your dog gets a healthy, nutritional snack. In summer, homemade treats are even better for cooling down. Frozen treats are super simple, such as cutting fresh fruit into bitesize chunks or filling a stuffable food toy and then freezing it.
There are even dog-friendly ice cream and popsicle recipes that you can try. Remember to use ingredients that are safe for dogs!
6. Go Out for Dog-Friendly Dining
Eating out in the evening is a fun, refreshing way to get out of the house and avoid cooking after a long day of work. There are plenty of places that set up outdoor tables during the warmer months. Some of these locations even supply dog water dishes for any canine visitors that join you on your evening dining venture.
While you’ll likely be assigned to the outdoor tables and it’s best to choose a warm evening, you can still enjoy a delicious meal out with your dog.
7. Attend Dog-Friendly Events
Many dog owners love to socialize, and you’re bound to find a few summer events that welcome dogs or are organized, like a massive doggy play date at your local dog park. By searching online or even asking at your local pet store, you’re bound to find a few events to enjoy with your dog. Shelters and rescues are renowned for hosting a variety of events to raise money.
You can also try exploring other community events that are hosted outdoors. Local fairs or farmer’s markets might not be doggy oriented, but you can enjoy the warm weather, walk your dog, and maybe make new canine friends.
8. Go on Evening Strolls
Many summer days can be too hot for you and your dog. Depending on where you live, the early mornings and evenings are often much cooler than the middle of the day and much more suitable for a walk. Wait for the weather to cool down to keep you and your dog safe from heat stroke.
You’ll also need to pay attention to the heat of the ground if you live in a paved, urban area. Roads and sidewalks can get too hot for a dog’s paws, and unless your dog wears shoes, their paw pads can burn. If you can’t comfortably keep your hand on the ground for at least 10 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog.
9. Go Camping
Hot summers are full of good weather and sunny days, which makes them perfect opportunities for camping. Whether you travel in style in an RV or prefer a more traditional tent, find a dog-friendly campground, and get away from technology for a few days.
If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford the campground admission fee, you can keep your trip to your backyard. Set up a tent, and spend the night out under the stars. Kids will love this activity too.
10. Go Sailing
You can take your dog on all sorts of adventures, including to your local lake for a boating trip. Dog owners often take their pets on canoes, kayaks, motorboats, and stand-up paddleboards. If you’re new to taking your dog on the water, you’ll need to get them used to the idea before expecting them to be comfortable with deep water.
They’ll also need a life jacket, just like you will. Even if they’re a strong swimmer, a life jacket can keep them safe and help you pull them out of the water if they fall in.
11. Go Shopping
If you want to get out of the house for a while, but it’s too hot to spend much time outdoors, try taking your dog on a shopping trip. You won’t be able to take them into every shop, but there are several pet-friendly locations — pet stores, especially — where you can take your dog. You’ll both be able to browse the treats and toys, take advantage of summer specials, and maybe even meet a puppy that’s being socialized.
12. Go Somewhere New
There are times when your usual walking route just gets dull for both you and your dog. Spice up your route by walking a different way or taking a different road than the one that you usually choose. You can give your dog’s nose a proper workout by taking them somewhere entirely new.
Go on a trip to hiking trails in a national park, or explore a nearby city that you don’t visit often. Remember to take regular breaks and bring water for your dog.
13. Go Swimming
Many dogs enjoy swimming, and it’s not only great exercise, but it’s also good for cooling off. Better yet, you can jump in with them and enjoy a watery game of fetch. You will need to introduce your dog to the water properly first, and some breeds will need a life jacket for safety.
Never leave your dog unattended by the pool, and make sure they’re welcome at the public facility if you don’t have your own swimming pool to use.
14. Get a Kiddie Pool
If your dog isn’t fond of swimming but enjoys water, get a kiddie pool to let them wade around. It has the benefit of giving your dog water to play and cool down in without being as daunting as a big swimming pool filled with other dogs and strangers. A kiddie pool is also small enough that it can fit in almost any size yard, and you can play a few watery games in and around it too.
15. Have a Picnic
Nothing’s better than eating out on a warm, sunny day, and traditional picnics are fun for the whole family. Fill a basket with human food and drink and special doggy treats, pack a blanket, and head out for a picnic lunch.
Your backyard might be an easy choice, and your local park might be within walking distance, but you can make your picnic lunch more interesting by venturing farther afield to your local beach. You can even wait until the evening if you prefer a cooler time of day and take a refreshing walk once you’ve finished eating.
16. Have a Spa Day
Now and then, we all need a bit of pampering. A doggy spa day is an opportunity to spend the day with your dog while giving them a full grooming session rather than just focusing on their nails or a quick brush of their fur.
Spend a hot day indoors making sure their fur is completely free of mats, cleaning their ears, and ensuring that their claws are the right length. You might even want to give them a bath if you haven’t had a chance for a while.
17. Host a Puppy Party
If you’ve socialized your dog properly, they’ll likely have a few canine friends around the neighborhood. You might see them at the dog park, but why not treat all the puppies and their owners to a puppy party in your backyard? You can supply homemade doggy treats, a kiddie pool, and even snacks for the human guests.
A used toy exchange is also an opportunity to give your dog something new to play with. Encourage your guests to bring a toy that their dog is not interested in so they can trade it for something else.
18. Make a Photo Journal
With all the summer adventures that you can end up having, you’ll likely want something to remember your summer once it’s over or to show your friends. Whether you stay at home or take your dog on vacation, pack a camera. Take as many pictures of your dog getting up to all sorts of mischief in the summer sun as you want. Get them printed, and make a journal or collage of your activities so you can remember all the fun that you had.
19. Match Your Accessories
DIY projects are fun, but they’re not always something that your dog can help you with. While your dog might not be good at the crafty side of things, they often look great with a snazzy bandanna or brand-new collar.
You can show off your DIY skills by making matching accessories for you and your dog. Sew matching bandannas for both of you to wear during your next walk, or try your hand at something new. There are plenty of DIY accessory plans online that you can explore for inspiration.
20. Do a Pet-Friendly BBQ
A BBQ is an awesome way to enjoy summer, good food, and a few drinks. Even if you don’t invite your neighbors or any friends and just keep it a family event, your dog will enjoy the occasion as much as you do.
While they can’t eat the barbeque chicken legs and burgers or drink a beer, there are plenty of dog treats that you can include on the menu to keep your dog happy. If you want to provide your dog with an extra-special treat, give them their favorite food that they don’t get often, or follow a dog-friendly recipe to make a new, tasty snack.
21. Do a Photo Shoot
It’s always fun to take pictures of your dog getting up to mischief. Summer enables you to take advantage of the good weather and treat your dog like a real model.
You can even combine a photo shoot with a spa day. Once your dog has been given a full makeover, grab a camera and let them show off their photogenic side. Take your shoot to the park, or hang out in your backyard, catch a few rays, and get awesome pictures.
22. Plan a Doggy Playdate
Hosting a party might not be your thing, or maybe your dog doesn’t have many friends. Either way, you can use the summer to organize a smaller play date for your dog. Arrange a get-together with a friend and their dog at the local dog park, or take your furry friends on a hike somewhere. You’ll be able to catch up, get exercise, and let your dog play with another canine.
A playdate can also be something simple at home. Offer to take care of your friend’s dog if they go out, so they don’t have to worry about leaving them home alone.
23. Play a Game
You don’t need to plan a fancy party or head out to new walking trails to have fun with your dog. As long as they’re spending time with you, they’re not going to care what activities you have planned.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t afford a party or spoil your dog with a weekend camping trip. Instead, set aside a few minutes just to play a game with them. This can be a game of rope tug or something new, like hide and seek with treats. Keep water handy, and make sure your dog doesn’t get too hot if you’re playing outside.
24. Play in Sprinklers
Swimming and paddling are fun for many dogs, but some are wary around water. If your dog dislikes large pools of water, try encouraging them to play with sprinklers instead. They’ll still be benefiting from the cool water without needing a life jacket or getting their feet wet in a kiddie pool.
Sprinklers are also perfect if you have limited space in your yard. Set one up, let it run, and grab a tug toy to add extra fun to your dog’s afternoon playtime.
25. Take a Trip
Unfortunately, most people have to spend most of the summer working, which leaves little time to enjoy the sun with their dogs. Those occasional days off often aren’t enough for that camping trip you were hoping for.
That said, you can plan a day trip that ensures that you’re back home in time for work the next day. If you do have more time to spare, hop in the car with your dog. Take a road trip around your state, or go somewhere you’ve been meaning to visit for a while.
26. Take an Obedience Class
Obedience training is hard work, but it can be more fun when you and your dog are learning alongside other puppies and their owners. Summer is a good opportunity to enroll in an outdoor obedience class. You can learn the best ways to train your dog, get them to interact with other puppies and people, and teach them something new in the process.
At the end of the day, you’ll come away with new friends and a dog that’s one step closer to becoming a good canine citizen.
27. Visit a Vineyard
Your dog might not be able to try the grapes or the wine, but they can still join you on a visit to a vineyard. Many wineries allow dogs on the grounds and offer plenty of space for a midday or afternoon picnic. Some will also host pet-friendly events, where you can let your dog explore someplace new while you sample new wines and support the winery.
The vineyard that you visit might have a few rules about dogs, so make sure to follow them all to ensure that your dog is welcome.
28. Watch a Ballgame
If you’re planning on spending the afternoon or evening watching a ballgame, you don’t have to find a pet sitter to keep your dog company. As long as your dog is leashed and under control and doesn’t mind the screaming of excited fans, they can join you.
Dress them in your team’s colors, and remember to bring treats to give them while you enjoy the game and snack on hot dogs. You’ll need plenty of water too. All the new smells, sounds, and summer heat can make your dog thirsty.
29. Watch a Movie
Staying in to watch a movie might be your first thought, but it’s not your only option. Your local theatre might be off-limits for your dog, but many places offer outdoor movies in the summer.
If your neighborhood park doesn’t offer evening movies, you can always find a drive-in flick. Take snacks for you and your pet — remembering to keep them dog friendly — and enjoy the movie together while sitting in your car. You can even finish off by taking a drive around town.
Summer is a prime time of year to get outside and do something active. Your dog will love the change of pace, and you can include them in all sorts of activities, like picnics at the park or a day at a dog-friendly swimming pool. Remember to consider how hot the day is when you decide on an activity to try, and adjust your plans accordingly.
Featured Image Credit: Ivonne Wierink, Shutterstock