Written by: Isabel Klee
If you're anything like us, you've waited not-so-patiently for summer to finally roll around. You probably endured a harsh, cold winter, just waiting for the day you could enjoy beautiful weather with your best friend (your dog). You've dreamed of the long walks, the adventures in the sunshine, and the memories you'll make together. Now, suddenly, summer is here.
Get inspired with this list of 10 fun dog-friendly things to do this summer so you can plan your best summer ever. Because would it really be the best summer ever without your dog by your side?
Idea #1: Visit a dog-friendly beach or lake
Summer = swimming. We don't make the rules. Even if your pup isn't a swimmer, a day near any body of water will surely get the endorphins flowing. Many beaches and lakes allow dogs during certain hours or have designated dog-friendly areas, so you can enjoy the day with your fellow dog lovers. A quick Google search should give you the best dog-friendly swimming places in your area, including any restrictions that particular beach/lake may have – some locations only allow pets in the off-season, for example.
Beaches are not known for having a ton of shade to hide under, so ensuring your pup stays cool on those hot summer days is super important. Setting up a quick canopy ensures your dog's happiness and safety while enjoying that ocean breeze.
Speaking of safety, a life jacket for your dog is also something to consider. Even the strongest swimmers could benefit from a life jacket; plus, it gives you peace of mind when your dog plays in the water.
Idea #2: Visit a dog-friendly brewery or cafe
Dog-friendly restaurants are getting more and more popular. There are many wonderful places to bring your dog to these days, and even more in the summertime. With patios open and sidewalk seating aplenty, there's no reason you shouldn't take your pup with you to enjoy one of the summer's greatest pleasures – a cold beer or an iced coffee - while you relax in the warm weather.
There are plenty of dog-friendly breweries or cafes to visit, and many of those places host dog-friendly events! Check your community's events calendar, or ask local establishments if they have any dog-friendly events coming up.
Idea #3: Go camping with your pup
Nothing screams "dog-friendly" like the great outdoors. No matter where you live, you can find places to set up a tent, pitch a fire, and enjoy some fresh air. Bonus points if you can find a camping area with dog-friendly hiking trails, and even more points if you find an off-leash-friendly place!
There are many great resources for finding campgrounds that allow pets. One reliable resource that expert campers often use is goodsam.com. On this website, you can enter your location, filter for pet-friendly campsites, and all your options will come up.
Before embarking on a camping trip or going hiking with your dog, always ensure they're up to date on their flea and tick medications and do a full tick check after any outdoor activity!
Idea #4: Update your phone background with a DIY photo shoot
If spending time outdoors isn't your thing, we have an activity that doesn't require you to leave your house! We know you have approximately three million photos of your dog on your phone, so why not take a few (hundred) more?!
Photoshoots aren't just fun for you; they can also be great mental stimulation for your dog. Commanding your dog to sit, stay, and hold a position is also amazing training that requires a lot of treats as a reward. Feel free to make it fun with summer-related props, like sunglasses, Hawaiian shirts, or silly hats.
Idea #5: Take a road trip
Whether just a day trip or a full-blown cross-country road trip, your dog wants to come along. Vacations are always less fun and more stressful when you have to leave your dog at home, so hitting the road as a family will make everyone happy. Make sure to plan some dog-friendly destinations along the way!
There are tons of incredible hotels that welcome dogs with open arms, which makes travel even easier. Once you find that pet-friendly rest stop, you only need a car and your furry travel companion for an amazing summer trip.
Idea #6: Have a picnic in a local park
What do you and your dog have in common? You both love good food! Why not spice up your weekend with a fun picnic in the park with snacks, drinks, and some good tunes. You can go all-out with a dog-friendly "charcuterie" board with cheese, blueberries, and your dog's favorite treats.
Remember to also pack a fun activity! A frisbee is great for a beautiful day in the park, and a good-old game of fetch is always a favorite. Your dog will think this was the best day of their life.
Idea #7: Head to a local outdoor event
Summer is the season for outdoor events, most of which you can bring your dog to! Check your community website for fun events in your area, like farmer's markets, outdoor concerts, art fairs, and more.
An important thing to remember for any event or activity that could last a few hours is to bring plenty of water and keep your dog hydrated at all times.
Many local events tend to occur in big, open lots, which means the pavement might be too hot for your dog's paws. Always make sure your dog is safe and happy before bringing them along!
Idea #8: Have a backyard BBQ with dog ice cream.
Pool party, anyone?! Time to whip out the kiddie pool, crank up the grill, and start scooping the ice cream. Whether you have a huge backyard or just a front stoop in the city, there are many ways to have your own version of a BBQ with your pup.
To make things even more fun, make some dog ice cream to help keep your dog cool. We've got recipes for all varieties of pup palates, so check out our super green probiotic ice cream or these seven frozen treats and pupsicles that are perfect for summer.
Idea #9: Organize a playdate.
Why not spend the summer with your closest friends? Organize a fun playdate with your dog's best pal so they can exert some energy while the dog's parents chat over a glass of wine. You can even take a trip to the dog park so your pups can tire themselves out with other friends.
Up the ante with some exciting brain exercises for the dogs, like a hide-and-seek game in the house or backyard. All you have to do is hide a toy or ball while the dogs are in another room and then let them sniff it out. Both dogs will be exhausted and happy by the end of the playdate!
Idea #10: Teach your dog some fun new tricks.
Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. If you find your dog bored on a hot day when a long walk isn't an option, teaching them a new skill is a great way to get the juices flowing.
Find some YouTube tutorials or check out our list of 5 easy dog tricks your dog can pick up quickly, and get to training! Remember to keep some dog treats handy to reward your pup for their hard work.
Time for Some Fun in the Sun
With these dog-friendly summer activities, the dog days of summer no longer have to be a bummer. Whether you choose to stay inside with the air conditioning or venture outdoors for some socialization, we hope this list gave you some inspiration for ways to keep you and your pooch entertained in the summer months ahead.
For more helpful tips on dog training, health, and nutrition, visit the Native Pet blog: a complete guide to pet parenting.