The summer like no other is in full swing. And if you need ideas for getting out and about (or staying close to home) with your dog, this is just the list for you!
Read on for dog-friendly summer activities to enjoy with your best friend and the resources for putting your plans into action. Try something new with your dog, like taking an RV road trip, visiting a winery or drive-in, teaching your dog a new trick like how to high-five, or whipping up a batch of homemade Frosty Paws.
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1. Visit a Vineyard
Would your dog prefer a Cab or Pinot? Of course, he just wants water, but he’d still love to visit a winery with you. Many wineries welcome dogs on their grassy grounds and offer pup-perfect spots for picnicking. Find dog-friendly wineries in Napa with The Napa Vinter’s handy list, or in Sonoma or search online for them in your area.
While dog-friendly events at wineries are likely cancelled, wineries in most areas are open for outdoor service, and that’s where your dog prefers to be anyway. Call before you go in case a reservation is required to visit. See a sampling of dog-friendly wineries across the country in Woof Report’s past tip, Wineries are Going to the Dogs.
2. Take Your Dog to the Ballgame (Virtually!)
While you and your dog can’t attend Major League Baseball Dog Day games together at the ballpark, your dog can still attend virtually. Buy an MLB fan cutout, upload your dog’s photo, and then look for your dog in the stands on game day while you watch together and share a hot dog.
Both National and American league teams are selling fan cutouts to fill empty stadium seats — and canine fans are welcome. The LA Dodgers have even created a special stadium section just for dog and cat fans. Fan cutouts start at $40 and prices vary by team with proceeds typically benefitting local charities. See a listing of the teams offering these fun fan cut-outs. Image courtesy of New York Mets.
3. Dogs Welcome at Local Pools with Dog Swim Days
This one may be at the top of your dog’s list but she’ll have to wait until the end of summer! Dog Swim Days are the one or two days each year when public pools close for the season and dogs take over the pool. Many include contests, games and more, and typically charge a small fee to benefit local animal shelters.
While some annual and much-anticipated events are cancelled this year, many are still on for August, September, and October. See our 2020 Dog Swim Day schedules for pools around the country — as read about year-around swim clubs for dogs.
Thank you to www.TrippingTheGlobe.com for the photo taken at the annual event in Parker, Colorado.
4. Test Drive RV Life
5. Drive-In and Catch a Flick
With movie theatres closed across the country, drive-ins are making a comeback in parking lots near and far. Pack a blanket, some snacks, and a bottle of wine (water and a bowl for you-know-who) and sit back and enjoy the show. To find a theatre, check out Drive-InMovie.com, a recently-published round-up from USA TODAY, or check your Walmart’s Drive-in pop-ups, which are being held in the parking lots of 160 Walmart Superstore locations. Also, check your local event resources for drive-in pop-ups; two in our area are at shopping center parking lots with giant blow-up screens. No word on whether San Francisco’s unique Floating Cinema coming this September will be dog-friendly, but if it is, it will be the ultimate dog outing!
6. Ruff it or Go Glamping
Take to the hills on a dog-friendly weekend camping trip. Pitch a pup tent or go car camping. National camping resort chains like KOA and Jellystone are dog-friendly as are many private campgrounds and national forests. Rules for state parks vary, and some parks are currently closed, so check them out before you go. Learn more at hikewithyourdog.com.
If hiking is not your thing, check out dog-friendly glamping spots – enjoy a luxurious tent or yurt, and best of all, no camping gear required!
7. Dine Alfresco
Dining indoors at restaurants was always out for your dog so find a restaurant in your area with an outdoor patio and enjoy brunch, lunch, dinner, and anything in between.
Your dog will love take-out, too — get your food to go and find a quiet spot outside to picnic or dine alfresco at home. Best of all, you’ll support local restaurants that need our help more than ever.
And your dog would never say no to a drive-through. Find out what’s on secret dog menus at chains across the country like In-N-Out, Sonic, Starbucks, and Sprinkles Cupcakes.
8. Hit the Trail
Want to stay fit and bond with your dog? Try hiking together! She’ll love the nose-to-ground tracking and picking up the little critter scents, and you’ll be exercising without even realizing it. Check out Woof Report’s past tip, Hit the Hiking Trails With Your Dog, for hiking tips and to find a pup-friendly trail near you and don’t miss the site, HikeWithYourDog,com.
9. Splash Around
Spring for a kiddie pool, or even a collapsible dog pool that doubles as a bathtub for under $30. Then, pull up a poolside lounge, a cool drink, and call it day. Your dog will love it as much as you do.
Thank you to Chris on flickr for the photo.
10. Hit the (Dog-Friendly) Beach
Find dog-friendly off-leash beaches nearby and go! Let your dog run wild, bring Frisbees and balls for fetch, whatever you like. Just remember to pack plenty of water, a towel, and an umbrella or dog cabana for instant shade whenever you need it. Your car will get super sandy – it’s unavoidable but worth it. Thank you to JSmith831 on flickr for the photo.
11. Hit the Open Road (if you can do it safely)
Pick your destination and get out of town with your pup. Search for pet-friendly hotel accommodations at , petswelcome.com, and gopetfriendly.com or find your next overnight on Airbnb or VRBO, both of which let you filter to find pet-friendly pads.
12. Massage a Dog
If your dog seems stressed or anxious given our new way of life, consider learning how to give your pup a massage! Regular massage offers many benefits for you both, including strengthening your bond and decreasing anxiety. Watch a wonderful video featuring Dr. Leilani Alvarez from NYC’s The Animal Medical Center, who shares easy pet massage techniques you can do at home.
13. Kids + Canines
If your home is filled with both dogs and kids, see our list of Fun Activities for Kids Who Love Dogs. We have at least 20 more ideas we’ll be adding to the list soon – lookout for the updates, or better yet, subscribe to our newsletter.
14. Take a Class
There’s no need to wait until it’s Back-to-School time to take a class. Now is the perfect time to take a training class with your dog. Maybe your dog can use a refresher on basic manners or would love a new sport. There’s a class out there for you two and you’ll enjoy the bonding time as much as your dog.
If in-person classes are cancelled near you, see what your local trainers or SPCA offer in the way of interactive online classes or video instruction. Also, look to online courses from certified and positive-only dog trainers like Ian Dunbar at the DunbarAcademy.com or Zak George, who offers YouTube videos. What’s so great about video instruction? You can go at your own pace, watch the videos over and over again, and refer to them later as needed.
15. Bake From Scratch
With this activity, you do the baking and your dog does the eating! Pick a recipe and indulge your pup with a homemade surprise. Doesn’t your dog deserve some of your home cooking? Find recipes in the Woof Report Feasts & Treats category. Most recipes are quick and simple, and if you’re not the greatest baker, it’s a pretty good bet your dog is forgiving!
16. Frolic in Sprinklers
Turn on the sprinklers and cool off your hot dog with an easy game of fetch through the water. Let your dog in on the fun of water balloons and getting sprayed with the water hose, too (our kids’ favorites since they no longer fit in the kiddie pool).
17. Teach an Old (or Young) Dog a New Trick
Before the summer is over, we challenge you to teach your dog at least one new trick! Why not make it High Five? If your dog already knows how to sit and shake, teaching High Five will be easy. Watch this two-minute video from Chewy, practice, and your dog will be high fivin’ in no time. If you have a cat at home, see three tricks to teach your cat. Spoiler alert: one trick is the High Five. Bonus points if you can teach your dog and cat to give each other high fives.
If you want to do more trick training, get your paws on our favorite book, 101 Dog Tricks, with easy step-by-step instructions and photos.
18. Indoor Fun
While the summer’s the best time to be outdoors, sometimes it’s just too hot for your dog to play outside. If that’s the case, check out Woof Report’s past tip, Indoor Games Your Pup Will Love, featuring six fun games perfect for inside your home and Fun Indoor Games That Teach Too. Also, check out the Chuckit! Indoor Launcher or Balls for indoor fetch. Just like the classic ChuckIt! launchers, but with soft balls or ‘donuts’ that won’t dent furniture or break windows.
If your dog is older, modify games so they’re gentle on your dog’s joints – play on a soft surface like your bed by tossing a toy for your dog to catch or hiding one under a pillow for your dog to find.
19. SUP with your PUP
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is the ultimate social distancing sport – right up there with hiking, and offers a new way to enjoy the water with your dog. You can do it in oceans, lakes, or rivers, and it’s for dogs of all ages and sizes that love the water and even those that don’t. Learn more about SUP with your dog, how to get started, and tips. Don’t forget the doggie life-jacket!
Thank you to Jim Mullhaupt on flickr for the photo.
20. Cool a Hot Dog with a Frozen Treat
You think you’re hot this season? You’re not the one in the fur coat. Check out Woof Report’s past posts for tasty ideas to indulge your pup and keep her cool. Whip up a batch of homemade Frosty Paws or Pupsicles (they’re both so easy to make!). Another tasty treat we just discovered for ourselves and our dog: Watermelon Popsicles! Blend seedless watermelon and pour it in a popsicle mold or ice cube tray, freeze it, and share. These cool treats are nutritious, low in calories and refreshing.
21. Unleash Your Dog’s Inner Artist
Snuggle up with your dog (and air conditioning, if you’re lucky) and watch – you guessed it – dog movies! Scroll through the Rotten Tomatoes list of the 80 best dog movies of all time and find something you’ll both enjoy. Before you tune in, consult DoesTheDogDie.com to be sure the dog in the film lives happily ever after.
23. Plan a Puptastic Day
Whether you’re celebrating August 1st (DOGust 1st), the universal birthday of shelter dogs whose actual birthdays are unknown, or National Dog Day on August 26th, or just want to spoil your dog, pick a day for a fabulous outing. It may include a trip to the beach or park, a new toy, a homemade frozen treat, or even a trip to the In-N-Out drive-through for a “pup patty” and plenty of ear rubs – you choose, make it all about your dog, and have fun!
24. Take in the Sights
Play tourist in your own city or elsewhere all while social distancing and avoiding any crowds. Dogs are allowed at more places than you may think, and at all kinds of outdoor monuments and points of interest. Canoe with your pup in Mendocino, CA, get up-close to the Golden Gate bridge with a stroll at Crissy Field in San Francisco or walk the historic Freedom Trail in Boston. Find local dog-friendly attractions, events, and more at GoPetFriendly.com and BringFido.com. Visit our site, TheDogList.com, for a listing of the best resources for getting out with your pup.
25. Create a DIY Frozen Treat
Indulge your dog in an ice block treat – a fun frozen delicacy that’s one part entertainment, one part hydration. To make this icy summertime treat, fill a dog bowl or larger container with an inch of water and a few treats (try fresh apple slices, carrots, and dog biscuits), and optionally, a toy or two. Freeze the bowl and repeat until the bowl is filled with layers of treats in ice. As the ice melts, your dog enjoys treats and cool water.
There are so many excellent outdoor activities for you and your dog to enjoy. Just remember that just like us, dogs can overheat, dehydrate, even sunburn on the hot days. So schedule activities before or after the sun’s peak hours and pack along lots of fresh cool water.
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Please add your favorite dog-inclusive summer activities in the Comments section below.