6 Activities to Enjoy with your Pet this Summer
By Dr. Lindsay Lane, Veterinarian, Partner
Summer is here! It’s a perfect time to enjoy fun activities for you and your pet. Don’t think I just mean dogs either! Some of these ideas can absolutely include our feline friends as well. Before we go through some fun ideas we of course need to keep in mind that all pets are individuals and have unique and specific needs, likes and dislikes. For example, not all dogs enjoy crowds or are social butterflies. For these cases stick to activities that involve just their specific groups of furry friends or humans, or even better just their human!
Also, there has been lots of talk on summer fun but also summer heat too! Keep that temperature in mind for safety of all involved. A few more considerations include leash behavior, senior pets and specific health needs. Make sure you always observe the appropriate leash recommendations and if your pet does not listen to recall they shouldn’t go off leash! Instead there are long leads that can give your pet some freedom while still keeping them safe and controlled. And don’t think the outdoor or leash activities are only dog related! Cats can absolutely be leash or harness trained and enjoy your favorite spot outdoors with you too!
Senior pets or those with health considerations or special needs may not be able to partake in all that the great outdoors has to offer but there are still plenty of fun things you can enjoy with them! Just remember – you know your pet best; choose an activity that will be enjoyable and safe for all involved! OK here are some specific recommendations!
1. Fun Water and Swimming Activities – Creeks, lakes, rivers, beaches, pools, water play mats and a good ol’ fashioned hose and sprinkler. The options are endless, and you can’t enjoy summer without the inclusion of water! And this can be something for everyone! Well, Maybe not the cat. Maryland has dog parks, beaches, river trails and pools (indoor and outdoor) for you and your dog to enjoy! And if your dog doesn’t play well with others, use your own backyard!
2. Dog Parks – Keep that heat in mind but go enjoy some contained time for your pooch to play and run! Some parks in our area even have agility exercises to use for free and there are a few indoor parks as well.
3. Hiking or Camping – Go enjoy some Maryland trails and campgrounds! Depending on you and your dog’s comfort too, include some paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing. I speak from experience here – make sure your dog will STAY in/on your board or boat and maybe include a doggy life vest in your wardrobe!
4. Picnics, Patio Dining and Farmer’s Markets – Picnics for you and your pup OR leash trained cat and the busier, sometimes crowded patio dining and Farmer’s Markets for those that don’t mind the crowd can be a great time out. And yes, all would be fine for your leash trained kitties! Just check ahead to be sure your furry friends are allowed, and of course your cat will enjoy it.
5. Drive-In Movie – Who better to snuggle up with at a drive in than your furry friend? Yes, they still exist too! Bengi’s Drive-In is the only one left in Maryland and they do allow pets! Just check their website for rules and regulations but otherwise share your popcorn and take in a show!
6. Treasure Hunts – For rainy days (we’ve had plenty) or seniors, loners etc. have a treasure hunt in your home or backyard! You can even get the whole family involved. These activities can be considered “nose works” and you hide a desirable treat or toy and encourage your pet to find them. My shepherd mix “Linus” loves the “find your ball” game and he is so proud when he finds it!
Ultimately, stay safe and cool this summer but try something new and fun with your furry children and remember our vets and staff are available 24/7 to answer your questions!