The extra hours of daylight we enjoy in the summer mean more time for fun in the sun. Whether it’s a pleasant evening walk around the neighborhood, or a romp by the shore, summer is even more enjoyable when you spend it with your four legged best friend.
Summer evening walks have several benefits: they’re a great way for you and your pet to unwind after a long day, they provide plenty of exercise for both of you, and help reinforce leash walking and socialization skills. The Great Outdoors also provides an ideal setting for reinforcing basic obedience, and developing new skills.
For more active dogs, consider a game of Frisbee, or a test of skill and speed at an agility course. Play an amusing game of tag, hide-and-seek or fetch. Many dogs like to chase a ball or romp with other pets in the dog park. Please be considerate and make sure your dog practices good manners in the park.
Dog shows, pet festivals and other animal-friendly events are myriad at this time of year.
These events offer a great opportunity for socialization with other pets and owners, as well as fun for the entire family (it’s also an idea time to show off your perfect pooch a bit!). Many towns present summer concerts or recreation events. If pets are welcome, bring yours; after all he’s part of the family, too. Make sure his etiquette is polished, he’s on leash, and that you’ve got a supply of bags to clean up after him.
Many dogs enjoy a day at the beach or lake, but be sure to check if dogs are allowed, and if leash laws are enforced. Most importantly, know beforehand if your dog actually enjoys a dip in the pool or a lap in the lake. Dogs that are reluctant to enter the water should not be forced to do so. Bring fresh drinking water, and bags for cleaning up after your dog.
Be sun smart
It’s great to include your pet in your leisure activities, but it’s also your responsibility to make sure they don’t overdo it in the heat. Dogs don’t always know when to come in out of the sun, and their desire to please you often outweighs their own needs.
The pet experts at Best Friends stress learning to read your dog’s signals: know when he’s had enough. Since dogs do not have as effective a system for cooling their bodies as humans do, they are more susceptible to heatstroke. Exercise caution and safety. Make sure the dog always has access to cool, fresh water, and provide shade for a quick cooling off spot.
Finally, take the time on a lazy, hazy day to just share a special moment with your pet: sit and read together under a shady tree, or cuddle up for a summer snooze.