Summer is almost here and soon it will bring the warm, sunny weather we’ve been waiting all year for! Until then, now is the time to start planning some fun warm weather, socially distanced activities with your dogs and cats. What’s your favourite warm weather activity? We’re sharing ours here.
Summer Safety Tips For Your Pet
Since we’ve been 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.
Access To Water
Lastly, make sure that your pet has access to all the freshwater 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 list of favourite 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.
Outdoor Summer Activities To Do With Your Dog or Cat
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 Top 5 Hikes With Your Dog In BC 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.
4. Canoeing / Boating
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 onto the water. 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.
5. 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.
6. Pet-Friendly Patios
For those of you who are lucky enough to have patios open in your area, take advantage! Even patios that aren’t officially “pet-friendly” will often allow you to tie up your dog right beside you outside of the patio (and give them some cool ice water to keep them happy). This is a great activity for both you and your pup! Your dog will get some stimulation, and probably socialization from people asking to say hi. All the while you can be enjoying the nice weather, some good food, and maybe a local beer too!
If you are interested in local breweries, you might enjoy these;
The Port Moody Ale Trail - Rocky Point, BC
Port Coquitlam Brewery Bike Loop- Port Coquitlam, BC (You can start off by parking at Gates Park and biking to the first brewery from there.)
Does your dog enjoy exercise and running? A great way for both of you to get your heart rates up is to train your dog to run with you while you’re biking! There are lots of ways to do this and easy-to-use tools you can get at your local pet store (or off of Amazon). Many dogs need some time to get used to this, so try walking with your bike and dog side-by-side and progress slowly based on his reaction! You can also try this with your cat by having them in a cat backpack… they’ll probably love the view while you’re cycling. Remember it is important to bring lots of water for your pet and take as many breaks as needed! If your dog gets hot easily, consider biking in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the hottest weather.
8. Pet-Friendly Food Stops
Take a walk and find a food stop that has something special for your furry friend! If you’re living in Vancouver this could be the Granville Island Pet Treatery or the Sweet Spot, a trendy van that offers sweet treats for both you and your pet. Another classic is visiting Rock Point Ice Cream in Port Moody. Nothing beats sharing an ice cream with your pup on the wharf. Most cities have similar places to take your dog for a refreshing summer treat! It’s a great time for both you and your dog.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start planning your summer exploring! Not a local in BC? We would love to hear your favourite summer activities to do in your area!