As the July long weekend approaches, you’ve no doubt got sunshine and vacation time on your mind. Thankfully, the dog days of summer are here! Now’s the time to kick back, get outdoors, and have some fun with loved ones—including your pet.
Due to warm-weather risks and seasonal threats to pet health, finding pet-friendly ways to celebrate the summer holidays isn’t always easy. To make sure your furry companions don’t miss out on any of the fun, we’re sharing five safe ways to incorporate your beloved pet into your summer celebrations.
1. Host a summer “Bark-B-Q”
Nothing says summer like a backyard BBQ—or any other type of barbecue. Add a few friendly neighbourhood canines, and you’ve got yourself a party! While most dogs will be thrilled by the scents, sounds, and socialization of these fun gatherings, large crowds can also stress them out—so do keep an eye out for panicked behavior.
Bear in mind, those “puppy dog eyes” can be persuasive! Unfortunately, not everyone knows which foods are unsafe for dogs. To cut down on unnecessary risks, gently request that guests not sneak your pet any table scraps without your permission. Minimizing your pet’s exposure to fatty human foods from the grill will also help them maintain healthy body weight—so opt for healthy options instead.
2. Let sleeping dogs lie—at the beach
Ready to make some waves? Head on over to the local beach to make paw prints in the sand and swim the doggie paddle with your pup. Frolicking in the water is a great way to exercise your pet in the summer because it is fun, healthy, and perfect for staying cool.
There is such a thing as too much fun, though. Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, he or she may tire more quickly than you because dogs don’t understand the concept of conserving energy when overexcited. Stay close to your dog at all times when in the water and be prepared to carry them ashore with the extra weight of drenched fur, if necessary!
Don’t forget to ensure dogs are allowed on the beach first! Check out this roundup of dog-friendly American beaches—or this top dog beach list for our Canadian friends—before you set off for a beach day.
3. Plan a paw-some weekend getaway
If wanderlust has you pining for a taste of adventure this summer, consider taking Fido along for the ride. Many campsites, cottages, and even hotel chains offer pet-friendly accommodations ideal for the weekend getaway you crave. Whether you’re looking to explore a new city or get up close and personal with nature, it’s now easier than ever to find options both you and your pet will love.
Planning to make a pit stop on the drive there or back? No matter how quick you expect to be, never leave your pet in the car. Heat stroke happens fast, so avoid the risk altogether by taking every opportunity to let your pet out to do their business, get some air, and stretch their legs—especially on longer rides.
4. Run with the wolves—hike the trails with your hound
For those who can’t commit to a full weekend away, hiking provides an afternoon escape into nature. Unplug from the world to bond with your pet and soak in the sights for a fully rewarding hiking experience. Or merely stalk the trails looking for the perfect photo op for Instagram, if that’s more your style!
Either way, hiking is not without its pet safety risks, especially when a trail involves cliffs or steep terrain. Even if your dog is usually great off-leash, try to keep their harness and lead attached at all times during a hike. A leash can help to protect pets from separation, falls, and potential encounters with dangerous wildlife.
5. Birds, reptiles, and rodents—oh my! Craft the ultimate staycation for indoor pets
Have a pet best suited for indoor life? No worries—a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) staycation is for you. With just a tiny bit of effort and an even smaller budget, you can create a chilled summer oasis for you and your small animal to enjoy over the long weekend and beyond.
- Create rabbit-safe toys out of cardboard boxes, empty toilet rolls, and untreated jute twine.
- Freeze non-toxic fruits and veggies into a summery snack for your guinea pig.
- Create a box fort for your kitten, flush with cat grass for a nice treat.
- Sing some tunes with your chirpy bird.
Remember, small animals tend to have more trouble regulating body heat due to their size. As such, they can quickly overheat even when kept indoors. Try to keep their areas well ventilated with an oscillating fan—without overdoing it—to ensure a happy, healthy summer for your little critter.
Whether you’re planning to travel, take day trips, or relax in “Puerto Backyard-a,” with your pets, here’s to making great summer memories that will last a lifetime.