7 End-of-Summer Activities for You and Your Dog
Stay cool out there.
Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)
In the midst of record-breaking heat waves, the safest thing to do is stay inside with your pup, blast the AC, and try not to spin out about climate change (deep breaths!). But the rest of the time, when the heat’s bearable, there are way more fun things to do with your dog than hiding from the sun — as long as you stock up on some canine cooling gear and lather on the sunscreen. Here are a few ways to take advantage of the warmer weather with your pet.
1. Make Your Dog a Warm-Weather Flop Spot
Look for a shady area in your yard, dig a shallow pit sized to fit your pup, line it with a thin layer of concrete and before the concrete dries, poke holes in it for drainage. Once the concrete has set, fill the pit with playground sand, dampen it, and let the fun begin.
2. Plant a Toxin-Free and Dog-Friendly Landscape
No snail bait, no cocoa mulch, no lethal plants (check out the ASPCA site for a list of ones to avoid), no chemical fertilizers, no fungicides, no herbicides, no pesticides. Ideal landscaping/hardscaping material doesn’t get too hot, is easy on the paws and — in a perfect world — doesn’t track into the house on fuzzy feet; pea gravel and pavers fill the bill.
3. Have some good, wet fun — summer’s prime time for water play
A caveat, however: keep an eye on your dog for signs of hyponatremia, aka water intoxication, which can come on fast and is life-threatening. Bone up on the symptoms and make sure your dog takes breaks.
4. Experiment With a New Way to Cruise
Rent a dog-friendly camper trailer or houseboat and see the world from a whole new perspective. Some camper rental companies will handle delivery, setup and hauling away; do an online search for a company in your preferred vacation spot. For on-the-water accommodations, check out houseboating.org.
5. Take a Drive-In
Remember the al fresco movie experience of yesteryear? Some communities revive this lovely summer tradition, and some even allow you to skip the car and loll on a blanket under the stars. Search for summer + drive-in and see what comes up in your area.
6. Sign Up for Summer School and Learn New Skills or Master Old Ones
Training, agility, herding and freestyle are all on the agenda. Then, there are dog camps — the summer camps of your childhood, but way better. For maximum relaxation, match the activity type and level to your and your dog’s temperaments.
7. Mark Your Calendar With “Dog Days” Outdoor Concerts and Sporting Events
Special offerings tend to pop up this time of the year, perfect for enjoyment with the pooch.
A Note on Safety:
We know we don’t have to tell you this, but while you’re having fun with the pup, keep safety in mind. Stay out of the sun during the warmest hours, have plenty of water available, dab sunscreen on both yourself and your dog (yes, there are sunscreens for dogs), take lots of well-shaded rest breaks and never, never, never leave your dog in the car. If you’re out walking, listen to what your dog’s telling you; let them rest if they want to and don’t coax them to go faster. Finally, do your best to avoid areas with foxtails, those sticky, diabolical grass awns (seeds) that burrow into fur and skin and, once well in, don’t come out without surgery. If these wild grasses show up in your yard — which they’re prone to do — pull them out while they’re still green.
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Freelance writer Susan Tasaki lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her Husky, who wishes they both got out more.