Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our June-July issue. Subscribe to Dogster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.
What can you and your dog do when it’s blazing outside? It’s tempting to draw the shades and hunker down inside with the air-conditioning blasting, but it’s more fun to take advantage of the hot summer days instead. Get out there, and try one of these fun ways to beat the heat.
1. Water fetch
There are two ways to play this game: floating fetch or sinking fetch. Try both ways to see which one your dog thinks is the most fun. Every so often, dive in with him so you can cool off, too!
Big pool version: Toss floating toys in the deep end and sinking toys in shallow water. Start off with one at a time, then try multiple toys to see how many your dog can collect.
Kiddie pool version: Stand a distance away from the pool, holding your dog’s collar. Toss a toy into the pool, then release your dog to run and jump into the pool. Or, set up two kiddie pools (one on each side of the yard), and stand in the middle with a pile of toys. Toss toys into both pools so your dog runs back and forth between them.
2. Licking good time
Take a plastic bucket (a kid’s sand pail or empty ice cream bucket) and fill it three-quarters full with water. You can add a small amount of low-sodium chicken broth for flavor. Toss in a bunch of treats — cut up fruit, raw baby carrots, small jerky treats — anything your dog likes. Freeze overnight, then pop out the ice block (you might need to run a little warm water on the outside of the bucket), and let your dog lick away to unearth the yummy treats!
3. Dock jumping
Got a water-loving dog? The high-octane sport of dock jumping (sometimes called dock diving) is a great way to stay cool all summer! Learning this wet sport is easy — you just need access to a body of water (pool, lake, or pond) and a plastic or nylon retrieving dummy that floats (called a bumper). Find tips on how to get started at Ultimate Air Dogs 3 (ultimateairdogs.net) or DockDogs (dockdogs.com)
4. Outdoor spa day
If your dog is going to get wet, why not take advantage and give him an outdoor bath with the hose? It’s a win-win for everyone: You and he will both cool off, and he gets beautified. Take your time, lathering and rinsing until he’s squeakyclean. In the summer heat, your dog will air dry in no time!
5. Sprinkler agility
Water your grass and cool off at the same time with this simple game. Buy one sprinkler or a few, plus hoses. Set one up in the middle of the yard or a number of spots around the yard. Turn it on and encourage your dog to chase after you as you run around and jump over the sprinkler.
Swimming: Not all dogs are good swimmers. Some breeds, like Bulldogs, have a hard time keeping their heads above water. If your dog isn’t a natural, outfit him with a flotation vest specially made for dogs.
Pools: When playing in pools, show your dog where to exit so he knows how to get out if he becomes tired. Always keep a close eye on your dog in case he needs help exiting the pool, and don’t let him drink chlorinated pool water.
Ocean: When swimming at the beach, be mindful of the conditions. If the surf’s up too high, stay out. Also, ingesting salt water can make your dog extremely sick, so if he won’t stop slurping seawater, call it a day.
Hoses: Use garden hoses that are lead-free and safe to drink from. Garden hoses sit outside in the sun all day and can contain all sorts of bacteria. Run your hose for a while before attaching to the sprinkler, and give your dog plenty of fresh clean water from a different source, so he’s not tempted to drink the water from the hose or sprinkler.