Summer is just around the corner, and like a lot of pet parents, you’re likely ready to get out and enjoy some warm weather and sunshine with your best pal. If you’re in the mood to start planning fun activities with your furry companion, we’ve got ten great options to get you started. So, grab your sunscreen (for you AND your pup!), get the leash ready, and get ready to hit the door running to have some sun-filled fun with your pup. Here are 10 fun games to play with your dog this summer!
#1: Water Play
Whether you plan to go out camping or just want to have some fun in your own backyard, a great way to keep cool for you and your dog is to set up a kiddie pool, a splash pad, or even just a simple sprinkler. The sun can feel great, but it feels even better when you’re getting splashed with cool water and having a blast. When setting up a kiddie pool, make sure you choose one that’s an appropriate height for your particular pup, and provide them with enough water to soak and splash around but not enough to be unsafe (especially for those of you with small breed dogs!).
It’s hard to go wrong with splash pads and sprinklers, but if you buy a rubbery splash pad that’s primarily used for little kids, you may want to be sure your pup’s nails are trimmed just in case they get a bit too excited when running around in all of the pad’s various fountains and snag a hole in the pad!
Another summer favorite for pet parents is frisbee. Frisbee is the ultimate outdoor fetch game to play with your pup, especially when the weather is finally warm and beautiful outside. Whether you want to go to your local park, the beach, or nearly anywhere outdoors with your furry pal, frisbee is a fun way to engage with your dog and get in some fun and healthy exercise.
#3: Bobbing for Treats/Toys
Bobbing for toys (or treats) can be a fun and entertaining activity for your dog when a hot day makes dunking into a cold bucket of water even more appealing. To play this summer-favorite game with your dog, fill a large bowl, bucket, or plastic storage container (depending on your dog’s size) with water and toss in some of your dog’s favorite water-safe toys or treats—though you’ll want to make sure the treats aren’t ones that will dissolve too quickly and cause a huge mess.
Encourage your pup to go after the toys or treats by saying commands like “fetch” or “go get it,” and once they catch on, they’ll have a blast trying to grab their favorite things out of the water while also getting to splash around and keep cool. Just be sure to keep an eye on your dog at all times, regardless of breed or size, and make sure they’re able to play safely!
#4: Digging for Treasure
Another fun summertime activity for those who either have a sandbox at home or one in a park nearby is playing “Digging for Treasure” with your dog. You can do this by simply burying your pup’s favorite toys in a sandbox and letting them go wild, sniffing and digging to find them. Start by hiding a few of their favorite toys (or even treats) just below the surface of the sand but not too deep at first, then encourage your pup to dig—something many dogs will be thrilled to be doing.
They’ll be beyond excited to have permission to tear into the sand as wildly as possible, and this may also help to satisfy your furry friend’s natural digging instincts while also providing them with some much-needed exercise and mental stimulation. As with all activities, though, just be sure to supervise your pup at all times to make sure he or she doesn’t accidentally ingest the sand or come across something unsavory that also may have made its way underneath the surface with their toys.
#5: Create Your Own Outdoor Agility Course
Building a backyard agility course for your dog in the summer can be a fun and challenging activity for both you and your furry friend! All you’ll need to do is get together some basic materials like PVC pipes, cones, and something to use for jumps—you can even make your own without too much difficulty. You can set these items up to make agility obstacles like weave poles and hurdles, and you can even use a toddler popup crawling tunnel as an outdoor agility tunnel for your pup.
You’ll need to be sure that you set up the obstacles in a way that’s as safe and secure as possible, and you’ll always supervise your dog while they’re using the course, too. Training your dog to navigate agility obstacles like these can be a great way to improve his or her physical coordination, build their confidence, and provide them with both physical exercise and mental stimulation. If you’re feeling crafty and your dog is the type to really love a challenge and a lot of exercise, this option is a top choice for you!
#6: Outdoor Treat Hide-and-Seek
For those hoping to avoid a wet or sandy mess, there’s also the option of playing “outdoor treat hide and seek” without the use of anything overly messy—clean freak pet parents, we see you. To play outdoor treat hide-and-seek, it’s as simple as hiding small treats or pieces of food around your backyard or another designated outdoor space and then encouraging your pup to run around the area and sniff out the snacks. Whenever your dog discovers one of the hidden treats, reward them with praise and positive reinforcement, and your pup is sure to be on cloud nine.
This type of game is also a great option for satisfying your dog’s natural desire to hunt and follow their nose while also providing them with some exercise and some great mental stimulation. As with all of the other activities, just be sure to keep an eye on them to prevent any possible accidents if they get too excited on their hunt, and avoid hiding treats in any spots that may be dangerous or risky for them.
#7: Dog-Safe Bubbles
A long-time favorite of many dogs is getting to play in some bubbles, and the summertime is perfect for busting this fun—but often messy—out! In great news, rather than worrying if the standard bubbles you find in a store are safe or not for your pup, there are now dog-safe bubbles that are specifically formulated to be non-toxic and safe for your dog to play with and even ingest.
Grab a few bottles of these dog-safe bubbles, blow some out in the sunlight on a bright and beautiful day, and watch as your dog chases and pops them. Although these new dog-safe bubbles are specifically formulated to be safe for pups in all types of play situations, still be sure to follow any directions on the bottles and avoid blowing bubbles near your dog’s face to prevent any potential eye or mouth irritation.
#8: Indoor Hide-and-Seek
Some days, it may get TOO hot outside during the summer months, but your pup still needs a way to burn off some energy and get some mental stimulation. In such a scenario, you can easily adapt one of the above games to become indoor-friendly! Playing indoor hide and seek with your dog can be a fun and engaging activity when it’s too hot to go outside, and it provides all of the mental stimulation and excitement without the scorching temperatures.
As before, simply hide your dog’s favorite toys or treats around the home, making sure to choose hiding places that aren’t too difficult for your pal to find them, then encourage your dog to go on the hunt. When hiding treats or food indoors, though, you’ll definitely want to keep track of where you put each treat so you don’t worry about bugs finding the snack later if your pup doesn’t find it during the actual game!
#9: ‘Find the Treat’ Cup Game
A fun option for both indoor and outdoor play, but especially when your outdoor-loving pup needs some stimulation when stuck inside on an overly hot day, playing the “find the treat” cup game with your dog is a fun activity to challenge your canine pal’s problem-solving skills and make them really use their senses to sniff out a treat. T
o play this game with your pup, simply place three cups upside down on the floor (harder surfaces work best!) and put a treat underneath one of the cups. Shuffle the cups around and encourage your pup to find the one with the treat hidden under it. If your dog is a super sniffer and three cups are too easy, you can increase the difficulty level of the game by shuffling the cups more rapidly or adding even more cups into the mix!
#10: Water Fetch
Last but not least, and the most important to be careful with, playing water fetch with your dog is a wonderful way to burn off energy while staying cool and splashing around. This activity is safer for those with larger breed pups as there are more risks with smaller breeds in open bodies of water. However, playing fetch with a waterproof and buoyant toy by tossing it right at the edge of the water at your local beach or lake is a fun twist on making fetch even more exciting for your pup.
Before letting your dog splash around in an open body of water, though, be sure that they’re familiar with playing in it and can do so safely, and it’s also a good idea to invest in a canine life jacket for those whose pups may like the water a bit much.
Staying Safe in the Summer Heat
Staying safe in the summer sun and scorching heat is important for both pet parents and their pups. To keep yourself and your pet safe, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and providing your pet with access to fresh water at all times. You should also avoid going out in the sun during the hottest parts of the day, and be sure there’s some form of shade and shelter to cool down if you’re spending time outdoors to avoid heatstroke.
When taking your dog out on the hottest of summer days, make sure you avoid hot pavement to prevent their paws from getting burned, and put some protective shoes on them if needed.
It’s also important to apply sunscreen to your furry pal’s sensitive areas when exposed to strong, using pet-safe sunscreen on your dog’s nose, ears, and other exposed areas. Additionally, it should go without saying, but never leave your pet in a parked car—even for a few minutes—during the summer months as temperatures can quickly rise to dangerous levels. When you make that pit stop for a refreshing slushy or summer burger, make sure to bring your pup along with you or hit the drive-thru!
Summertime is a great opportunity for spending time outdoors with your favorite companion, but it’s essential that you practice sun and heat safety and also know when it’s just plain too hot to be going out for either of you. However, if you’re looking for someone to watch your pup while you hit the beach or go on a summertime adventure, look no further than Space Coast Pet Services.
With our variety of boarding, pet-sitting, and home visiting services, we can give your furry pal the care and attention they need while you’re away, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing your pup is in good hands.
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born in 2016! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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