20 Hot Ideas For Warm Weather Fun With Your Dog
By Carol Bryant, Professional Pet Blogger
Most pet parents love spending time outdoors with their dogs when spring and summer arrive. From dock diving to nature walks and swimming to camping adventures, there are dozens of things to do with your dog outdoors.
One of my Cocker Spaniel’s favorite outdoor activities is exploring parks on our family road trips. He gets a variety of sniffs and often meets other dogs and their humans during his adventures.
We aren’t the only ones heading to the great outdoors with our dogs. At least 66 percent of U.S. households reported sharing life with a pet in 2022, which is 86.9 million households. Thanks to Mother Nature, you can only imagine how many dogs are having a blast. Why not join in the fun?!
Dogs, like humans, need exercise to maintain their physical and mental health, to socialize with other dogs and people, and to be in the fresh air with sunshine and new places to explore.
We put together a list of 20 ideas you and your dog can do together in the warmer spring and summer months. First, a little prep work to keep you and your dog safe.
Before You Go On Outdoor Adventures
If your dog hasn’t done any outdoor exercise in a while, start the season with a thorough veterinary examination. Many dogs get injuries after being indoors in the colder months because their joints, muscles, and bones have been more sedentary. Start slow.
Ask your veterinarian to examine your dog’s ears thoroughly. If there is any dirt, debris, or inflammation present, the veterinarian can clear things up before activities begin. This also provides your dog with baseline normal should he start to show symptoms of ear issues.
WHAT TO PUT IN YOUR DOG’S OUTDOOR FUN BAG
I always take a pet first aid kit on outdoor treks with my dog, ensuring it is fully stocked before the new season begins. Here’s a list of items I keep in my dog’s outdoor adventure bag:
- First aid kit: Make sure it includes eye flush, a tick remover, gauze pads and Band-Aids, dog-safe medical tape, styptic powder, ZYMOX® Topical Spray with hydrocortisone and ZYMOX Enzymatic Ear Cleanser, hydrogen peroxide, a bandana, Benadryl, alcohol preparation pads, scissors, a flashlight, magnifying glass, and poison control number. You can also purchase a pre-made first aid kit for dogs on Amazon.
- Collapsible water bowl
- A supply of cool, clean water
- Poop bags
- Towels or blankets
- Dog food and treats
- Identification tags
- Flea and tick preventative
- Boots or dog shoes if needed
- Dog-safe sunscreen
- Cooling bandana or vest
- Paw wipes
- Doggy sunglasses if needed
- Fully charged cell phone and backup battery supply
- Lifejacket for water sports
Also, I like to check product expiration dates before heading outdoors with my dog.
20 SIZZLING IDEAS FOR WARM WEATHER FUN WITH YOUR DOG
Dock diving: This fun watersport involves your dog running off the dock, leaping into the air, and landing in the water to retrieve a toy. Dock diving is fun for the whole family.
Swimming: Be sure your dog enjoys swimming and go slow if he never did it before. Swimming is a fun workout, especially for water dogs who love it (Labradors, Spaniels, etc.)
Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP): Your dog stands up with you on a large board while you stroke a paddle gently through the water. SUP is a fast-growing activity.
Kayaking or Canoeing: Start slow and on land to practice and control the movement of the kayak first.
Surfing: Dog surfing is very popular, as dogs are trained to maneuver surfboards or bodyboards.
Trail and Nature-Loving Dogs
Hiking: An excellent form of exercise and bonding for dog and owner, hiking gets dogs into nature.
Geocaching: Also called geodogging, you and your dog go on a ‘treasure hunt’ of sorts using GPS coordinates for a memorable day outside.
Camping: Whether in a state park or a local area, camping enhances the human-animal bond and lets your dog explore his inner wolf.
Trail Running: More than a simple jog, trail running takes place on trails or off-road terrain with your dog.
Canine Parkour: Dogs jump, climb, balance, crawl, and do all the obstacles involved in human parkour.
Fishing: If your dog isn’t into swimming or trails, take him along for fishing fun (as long as he isn’t a barker that might scare the fish.)
Biking: Be sure your dog likes it, and start slow. Biking is a fun way to get outdoors without much effort on your dog’s part.
Glamping: Dogs who aren’t into camping may think twice about glamping, which means no bugs, tents, or sleeping on the ground.
Dog-Friendly Beaches: Dogs can walk along the shoreline, wade into the water, and enjoy the sand between their paws.
Picnic: Pack a picnic lunch and head to a nearby park for a day your dog will love.
Pet-Friendly Wineries: Call ahead or look on CorkHounds to find a winery or brewery near you.
Shopping: Many outdoor malls and shopping centers welcome well-behaved dogs. Look for pet-friendly shops in your town.
Drive-In Movie Theaters: One of my all-time favorite things to do with my family. The dog loves the drive-in theatre for a night on a blanket under the stars.
Dog Mountain: Every dog lover should trek to Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, at least once. It is set on 150 acres and features a pet-friendly church.
Baseball Game: A great way to pass an evening (or summer afternoon) with your best friend, a hot dog, and some popcorn with America’s favorite pastime.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR DOG’S EARS IN WARMER MONTHS
Warmer weather is a lot of fun but comes with risks to your dog’s ear health. Regular ear cleaning is essential to help prevent dirt and debris.
Dogs who spend a lot of time in the water are more prone to irritated and inflamed ears. Dogs who hike, camp, or spend time outdoors may get cuts or hot spots on their legs and paws. Regularly examine your dog and keep a supply of Zymox ear products and skin products on hand.
Dr. Patricia Thomblison says your dog’s ears should be pink with a light coating of wax, whether floppy (pendulous) or prick ears (erect.)
If your dog has dirty ears, you want to use something that gently cleans them without harsh additives. Dr. Lindsay Butzer recommends the ZYMOX Ear Cleanser.
“ZYMOX Ear Cleanser works really well in a dirty ear because it’s an enzyme system that needs the bacteria and the yeast as a catalyst to help the enzymes work into killing the bacteria and the yeast,” she advises. Watch Dr. Lindsey Butzer’s video on how to clean your dog’s ears
Have a great time outdoors with your dogs!
About the Author
Gayle King introduced Carol Bryant as a “dog lover of the highest order” when she and her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, appeared on Oprah Radio. Carol is well-known in the pet industry, having appeared on television, radio shows, and podcasts, as well as in articles from CNN and Yahoo to Dogster and Today.com. She is the founder of the award-winning blog FidoseofReality.com and is the Immediate Past President of the Dog Writers Association of America.