Summer Activities to Enjoy With Your Pets
By Sarah Griffiths, DCH
July 5, 2018
It’s summer! We thought it would never arrive. Now, it’s time for fun activities with your pet. What’s your favourite warm weather activity? We’re sharing ours here.
Summer Safety Tips for your Pet
Since we’re discussing joint health this month at Red Dog Blue Kat, we thought we would take a second to talk about injury prevention so that you and your pet can fully enjoy an injury-free summer.
We know that for people, warming up before exercise is important for reducing strain on the muscles, joints and ligaments. Your pet needs a warm-up too! This includes on-leash walking and stretching exercises prior to getting to the serious stuff. Check out this great article from Whole Dog Journal for some warm-up games that are fun, easy and effective.
Cooling down after exercise can involve many of the same movements as the warm-up. It’s important for your pet to stretch and move the body after a day of hiking or swimming to avoid lactic acid buildup (which causes muscle soreness) and tight ligaments.
Lastly, make sure that your pet has access to all the fresh water they might want to drink. Be mindful of your pet’s temperature in extremely hot weather. Dogs and cats don't perspire like humans and they need to cool off by panting and moving into cooler temperatures. When it’s really hot, help them to find shade, take your dog swimming, or hose them off with cool water. Avoid vigorous exercise in the blazing sun during the peak of daytime heat. Finally, never leave your pet in a hot car - ever!
Now Onto the Fun Stuff!
Here is our favourite list of fun activities you can do with your pets this summer. We usually think of these activities for dogs but, believe it or not, people do these with their cats too! Enjoying the summer with your pet is a great way to relieve some stress and it is good for the health of both you and your pet.
Living in beautiful British Columbia provides us with a wealth of great hiking spots. With so many mountains nearby, it’s hard to run out of new spots to explore. Make sure to pack lots of food and water and check hiking conditions before you go so that you can stay safe. Check out our hiking blog for some of our favourite spots to hike.
There’s nothing better than heading into the wilderness with your dog (or cat). Camping adds a whole new level of fun when you can get into nature for days on end. Choosing camping spots that allow your dog as much freedom as possible makes a vacation more enjoyable for everyone. After all, space and freedom are very valuable to our canine friends and contribute to their mental well-being.
Swimming is an activity that also keeps your dog cool during the summer heat. There’s no end to the games you can play in the water including fetch, frisbee and dock diving. Swimming is a great option for senior pets who may have mobility issues and for animals recovering from injury because it is a low-impact form of exercise. If you play in the ocean, it’s a good idea to give your dog a rinse and an ear cleaning once you are done to reduce salty sea water residue. It will decrease the risk of ear infections and itchy skin.
It can take some practice for pets to get used being in a boat or a canoe. It’s important to train your pet to sit still and to wear a lifejacket if you’re heading out on a boat or canoe. Make sure that your pet has a way of staying cool if it’s a hot day, providing lots of drinking water and a swim. If your pet can’t swim, you can keep their skin wet to relieve them from the heat. Though we might appreciate being on a boat in the sun, your pet may prefer cooler temperatures and being in the shade. Make sure to bring fresh drinking water if you’re headed out on the ocean.
Beach or Park Picnics
Whether you live near the water or near a park, you can’t go wrong with a day outdoors. You can walk, jog, swim and just chill. Bring some favourite snacks for you and your furry companion. Try to find a quiet place in the shade where you can really enjoy yourself and let your dog or cat be themselves!
One of the most wonderful things about having a pet is getting out into nature with them. Get out and explore this summer!