Top Ten Fun Things to Do with Your Dog This Summer

Are you bored? Is your dog moping around the house? Here are some ideas for both of you to wake up and have some fun.

1. Get your dog outdoors for a walk or run. Head to Salem Woods (back of Old Salem Green parking lot on Willson Street) or get a dog pass to walk off leash at sites all over Massachusetts at Trustees of Reservations Watch out for mushrooms. It has been a damp early summer and mushrooms are everywhere- even in the Greenlawn cemetery/arboretum in Salem. In Denver, veterinarians have seen a big increase in mushroom poisoning in dogs due to the damp season on the mountains. Signs are vomiting diarrhea lethargy. How do you tell a poisonous mushroom from non-poisonous? It’s really hard and may require a Ph.D. in shroomology so just keep your dog from ingesting any mushrooms.

2. Get your dog groomed, not shaved down. Clean fur protects skin from the sun and insulates from the heat. Regular bathing removes the dust and pollen, or in my Porter’s case the dirt, mud, leaves and other unmentionable substances, from your dog’s coat and skin. If your dog has allergies to pollen regular bathing as often as 1-2 time per week can reduce allergies in a big way.

3. Have a big bowl of drinking water in your yard, preferably with ice cubes. Your pup should have a cool place in the shade to lounge while you are at work. If it is a stinking hot and humid day, ten minutes trips outdoors may be all your dog can take. A dog door to an enclosed backyard is a great way to let pooch decide when it is time to escape the heat.

4. A kiddie pool in the yard is just the ticket for a water-loving dog to cool off in. Keep an eye on your dog near your in-ground pool. Not all dogs are good swimmers. Make sure there is a way to exit if the dog accidentally falls in the pool. Supervise your dog around a deep pool at all times.

5. Hike with your dog. Doggie backpacks can be found at REI. You can practice before the hike by gradually increasing the amount of weight in the backpack. Remember to pack only items that you don’t mind getting wet or dented. During a White Mountain hike and campout adventure with my dogs, I made the error of packing the coffee pot in Otis’ pack. He had not maneuvered between rocks much with the pack on. We had to navigate between many rocks at the beginning of the hike. The packs on his sides were banging the rocks until he realized he was wider than usual. At the campsite the next morning the pot was dented enough that it could not perk the coffee. Coffee lovers know what a kind of a tragedy that was.

6. Camp with your dog. Car camping is great fun. If you have kids there is nothing more fun the crashing in your tent in a big human puppy pile on a cushy air mattress with the kids and the dogs. You need a big, not too expensive tent. Develop tolerance for possible claw marks /holes from the high level of activity of dogs and kids in the tent. Needless to say, they will not be sleeping the entire time.

7. Cross Country road trip with your dog. Bring water bowls dog bed and crate. Have a long lead. Check to make sure campgrounds and inns are dog-friendly before you get there. Check out state parks for adventures /walks with your dog during rest stops. You can’t leave your dog in a hot car for any amount of time.

8. Take your dog to the beach. Alas, so many beaches are closed to dogs in the summer. After September you have many more choices. Sunbathers do not take kindly to doggie play beside their towels on the beach. The coconut oil and flying sand are not compatible. Talk to neighbors who have been in town awhile to find out the best places to take your dog for a dip early in the AM or
in the evening. While the ocean is the big draw in New England, lakes and streams are also a wonderful cooling spot for dog and owner.

9. Teach your dog to swim. Find a lake with a gradual slope. Gradually expose your dogs to water and they may become swimmers. On a hot day, the introduction should be easy. Your dog will probably wade in to have a sip of water. Porter had never been swimming but waded into a lake to have a sip of water on a 95F day in May. He sipped and then gazed across the lake. I could almost see his dog brain sizing up the cool water bathing his legs. Then another step deeper. Another sip of water. He stood contemplating for another 30 seconds. Next, he waded in up to his belly. A look of such doggie bliss ensued. On the next trip, I threw a stick several times to a place where he would need to do 1-2 paddles to get to it. Being a Pit Bull Terrier he has no fat
and no webbed toes and no air trapping fur. He still managed to do a couple paddles and get to the stick. Taking him to a lake with various dogs that knew how to swim and retrieve also helped him learn the game. Positively reinforce your pups with treats every time they respond to the command “Bring it”.

10. Relax with your dog in your own backyard. Pick up the poo poos in the backyard to eliminate unpleasant surprises and make your backyard an oasis for both of you. A comfortable lounge chair or hammock for you. A birdbath or flower patch to gaze upon. A patch of grass and chew toy for your pup. Read a book and be at peace with your trusted companion at your side.

Learn more about dog health by exploring our website, and don’t forget to schedule regular veterinary visits to ensure your pup stays healthy and strong for summertime activity! Visit All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in Salem, MA for your dog’s vet care needs.