5 min read

How to Make the Best of the Dog Days of Summer with Your Pup



The dog days of summer are here. To most of us, the term “dog days” evokes a sense of intense heat and humidity that lasts day after day. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, that period ranges from July 3 to August 11 in the Northern Hemisphere , though most of us would agree that it can last well into the last 2 weeks of August.

Getting through the dog days can be a challenge as we try to stay cool and comfortable. But it should also be about summer playtimes, making the most of the last days before school re-opens, and end-of-summer vacations. The dog days can also be a pawtastic opportunity to have some fun with your best fur-buddy, while keeping them cool and active. Here are some ideas and tips for this year’s dog days to help you make the most of your summer together!

Have a doggy pool party!

Inexpensive plastic kiddie pools come in lots of shapes and sizes and are pawr-fect for some doggy fun in the sun. Invite your pupster pals and their Pet Parents, and have a few of these woofderfully refreshing pools scattered throughout your yard for the pups to cool off in. Provide a few frisbees and other toys and your fur-buds will have fun for hours. Don’t forget to turn the sprinkler on! And remember to provide sunscreen for the canines and humans.

Doggy popsicles make for a delicious cool treat, and homemade pup cookies are always welcome. You can also ask the Pet Parents to bring their favorite appetizers pot-luck style for the humans, or make your own. You’ll have a blast watching all the cavorting while nibbling on treats and sipping cooling drinks. Don’t forget the dog wine  (yes, it’s a thing)!

Hit the beach!

Many beaches allow dogs, leashed and unleashed, on their sand and surf. Some beaches are even set aside completely for pupsters or have large sections where they can play. Be sure to bring the doggo onto the beach on a leash and make sure you know the beach’s rules about off-leash play.

Bring plenty of water and some treats, too, because beach doggies get “pawr-ticularly” thirsty and hungry. Toys are a must, along with a beach umbrella or doggy tent and blanket so Fido can rest in the shade from time to time.

Go for an early morning or late evening stroll

Sunrise and sunset are usually cooler than the rest of the day, and are the pawrfect times to set out on a leisurely walk in the neighborhood or to a nearby park. This works for Pup Parents that aren’t on vacation because it fits with their schedules, but you can also go during the day when the sun is less intense, usually before noon and after 4 PM. Don’t forget water and sunscreen, and try tying wet bandannas around your neck and your pup’s to help keep you both cool.

Sit under a tree with a good book

There’s something pawsome about summer reading: it’s leisurely and you can often get through several books during the dog days. Bring a blanket, or dangle in a hammock if you have one, with Fido by your side taking a snooze. Between chapters, give a few tosses of the frisbee or ball, and bring along a cold treat for Fido such as a frozen Kong filled with peanut butter. Especially important: don’t forget the cool water!

Ahoy! Take a cruise on the water!

If you live near a lake, a river, or the ocean, take your fur buddy on a boat ride!  Even if you don’t own a boat, there are plenty of dog-friendly rentals available in most areas. Just be sure your dogster is welcome before showing up on the dock.

The boat captain will likely provide a lifejacket for you, but you should bring along a jacket for your fur-baby, even if they know how to swim. And be prepared to keep them leashed while in the boat, although that will vary from captain to captain.

A few tips for canoeing with your pup:

  • Be sure you're adept at canoeing before bringing your pooch into the canoe. Emergencies can happen suddenly and it’s important for you to know how to maneuver the canoe and keep it from capsizing.
  • Stay away from aluminum canoes that can be hot on Fido’s feet and reflect heat upward.
  • Ensure that your pupster is comfortable in the canoe before leaving shore. You want them to sit by your side or nearby, and not jump into the water, putting both you and them in danger.
  • If your pup is a barker, it might be best not to take them out on the water because they’ll disturb others. Most people canoe or kayak because they’re quiet pastimes.
  • If you aren’t a paddling expert, consider taking Fido out in a rowboat instead. It’s more stable and will likely have places where you can tether the pup inside the boat.

Take a road trip

For some, jumping in the car and driving, with or without a set destination, is the perfect way to spend the dog days of summer. Drive along the coast if you live within reach, or visit one of the many dog-friendly attractions this country has to offer.

If you’re into camping, plan to stop at a campground and set up a tent or sleep in a cabin with your pup. There’s nothing like waking up at sunrise with a loon warbling on a nearby lake. Remember to keep your doggo on a leash or tethered securely to avoid unexpected interactions with other dogs, people, or wildlife.

Crank the AC

If it’s hot and humid outside, give Fido and yourself a break and stay inside with the air conditioner or fan cranked! There are lots of things you and your pup can do inside that are active or relaxing.

  • Try watching some television that you’ll both love. There are shows and movies made just for Fido, and many more they will find mesmerizing. National Geographic TV is a favorite!
  • Give your pup a toy that holds treats so they must figure out how to get them out. This can keep them busy for hours while you stretch out on the couch with a good read.
  • Start a gentle game of “hide and seek” if you can get away from the pupster long enough to hide. Or stash treats around the house and set the fur-baby off to find them.

As you can see, the dog days of summer don’t have to mean you and Fido are miserable. Until September comes, with its crisp air and changing leaves, there’s still plenty of time for fun! Check out Wag! for many more activities to make August the best time you’ve had with your pup all year!

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