By Holly Barry (@HJBarry)
We all look forward to the longer days of summer – the warmer weather allows us to spend more time outdoors with our dog and there are numerous summer activities where our dogs can join in the fun – from doggie festivals to dog-friendly days out.
Whether it’s sand, sea and surf, romping around a woodland or chewing on a juicy bone in the back garden – we run through some ideas on how to spoil your furry pal during the summer to make our pets’ summer great!
1. Frozen treats
Summer is great for the relationship we have with our dog as it allows us to spend more time having fun outside with them. However, if the weather is hot, your dog will appreciate the cooling relief of an icy treat just like we do!
Dogs can be susceptible to heat stroke under those fur coats, so if you notice that your dog is a little less active than usual, they could be struggling with the heat. A doggie ice-cream or ice lolly will bring your dog’s temperature down and at the same time they will thoroughly enjoy the tasty treat.
Human ice creams treats are not advisable to give to dogs as they are filled with sugar and additives. Luckily you can easily make ice treats for your dog at home.
Try blending up watermelon and ice cubes until smooth and pop the mixture in an ice cube tray. Your dog will have fun licking and crunching the cubes. Alternatively serve up the same mixture as a slushy drink.
You can also swap the watermelon for bananas or blueberries. Or you can try making frozen peanut butter banana pops. There is a large variety of fun and easy recipes on the web to experiment with.
Another fun tip is to throw some frozen peas into a paddling pool for your dog to chase and play with. A fun treat for your dog and entertaining for you to watch!
2. Treat your dog a cooling mat or jacket
When we want to make someone feel special we often buy them a gift. Your dog is no exception to this.
How about a cooling mat? Dogs don’t sweat like humans do, they regulate their temperature through panting and their paws. A cooling mat will give your dog somewhere to sprawl out in the summer heat. The mat contains a gel which begins to cool as soon as your dog lies or sits on the mat. You can even take it with you on a trip to the park.
Alternatively treat your dog to a cooling jacket which you wet and wring out. The jacket then stays damp for around 5 hours to help cool your furry friend.
3. Join an exercise class together!
A common problem for dog owners is that there is simply not enough time in the day to exercise your dog and exercise yourself. What often happens is that dog owners take their dogs to the park and let them run around while they sit on a bench scrolling through their phone. The owners exercise is missed, and the dog misses out on your complete attention.
Your dog will get so much more out of their exercise if they get to spend quality, interactive time with you.
A dog and human combined training class may be the solution for you, so that you both get to have some cardio! Taking a class with your dog will bring physical and emotional benefits to your both.
4. Arrange a doggie play date
It’s important to let your dog be a dog! While your dog loves spending time by your side, they will also be much happier if allowed to play with other dogs. Dogs need time to be pack animals and to learn more about being a dog as well as your pet.
Spoil your dog by organising some planned play dates over the summer. You will also get to see your friends – so the play dates will benefit you both. Make up some homemade doggie ice treats for the dog pals to share and get the paddling pool out!
Alternatively, organise a BBQ for your friends and your dog will love the attention and delicious smells. BBQs no doubt will mean sneaked pieces of BBQ meat – doggie heaven!
5. Take your dog on an adventure
Understandably, dogs hate to be left at home, they want to be included in your day trips and holidays. Dogs have been known to climb into their owner’s suitcase as they are packing they are so anxious to be taken too!
Dogs quite rightly feel like members of the family and so want to join in everything you do. There are loads of dog friendly cottages to rent, campsites or hotels to stay in.
If taking your dog to the beach, be careful to avoid heat stroke and bring fresh water with you for them to drink as salt water will make your dog sick. After a trip to the beach make sure you wash the sand and salt off them otherwise it can lead to irritation.
Many dogs enjoy swimming immensely and it’s such a pleasure to watch! However, check lakes, rivers and ponds before the dog dives in as some types of algae are dangerous for dogs.
6. Treat your dog to summer grooming
Grooming is especially important in the summer months, particularly for long haired breeds to prevent uncomfortable tangles and matted or shedding hair. Some breeds will also need a trim which will also help them to keep cool. Spoil your dog in the summer by taking them for regular grooming sessions.
DIY grooming at home will also encourage a bond between you and your dog. You can spoil your dog by buying some special dog massage oil – just make sure you use a massage oil specifically designed for pets.
If your dog has sore dry paws from walking on the scorching summer pavements you can also buy some dog paw balm to soothe dry, cracked or itchy paws.
7. Exercise your dog’s mind
There are lots of dog toys on the market designed to challenge your dog and keep their mind active, however the summer months allow for lots of outdoor play, for free!
Spoil your dog by spending some time creating some fun outdoor games:
Hide doggie treats around the house and garden for a doggie treasure hunt.
Set up an agility course in your back garden or your local park or woods. You can use hula hoops, kids tunnels, crates, upturned buckets and brooms and fencing for a fun course.
Fill up an old muffin baking tin with items that are save for your dog to chew on like dog balls and chewable toys and then watch as they try to figure out how to get all the toys out.
Dogs desires are pretty simple, so spoiling them is easy. They want to play, eat and ultimately just want to spend as much time with you as possible.
Summer makes it easier to spoil your dog offering more of an opportunity for an outdoor lifestyle, but whatever the season, remember to thank your dog for making your life better.