Ideas for summer fun with your dog
With the current restrictions on destination holidays, many of us will be ‘staycationing’ this summer, and enjoying everything our local area has to offer, which is great for your dog. We’ve put together a list of some great ideas for activities to add a summer twist to your dog’s routine, so you can both enjoy the warmer weather, brighter days, and longer evenings.
Imagine paddling up a tranquil river, on a calm summer evening, with your pooch enjoying the sunset. Bliss! Paddleboarding is great exercise and a great way to switch off from life, and just relax. Be sure to get some basic SUP training, and make sure your dog can follow commands such as sit and stay and get them comfortable with the board beforehand. Use a canine flotation device too, as a dog jumping off a tipping paddleboard could get disorientated.
Pro Tip: Be patient. Not all dogs will be natural paddleboarders. If it isn’t clicking, don’t force it.
Have a beach day
A day at the beach gives both you and your dog the perfect opportunity to get some fresh air, and some exercise. From paddling in the sea, digging in the sand, racing up and down the dunes, playing with a ball or frisbee… and that’s just for the humans! The beach is a great place for you and your family to enjoy time with your dog this summer. Here at Christies Direct we’re very fortunate to be based on the Causeway Coast, just 25 mins to some of the best beaches around (we may be biased) so our team and their dogs are regular visitors to the beach!
Grooming Tip: Make sure to rinse the sand and saltwater off your dog, and make sure ears aren’t left full of water. Always clean their paws to remove any sand and dirt.
Pro Tip: Make sure your dog’s collar and ID are secure in case you should lose them on the beach. Make sure you have fresh water for them to drink, and if it’s a hot day make sure there is a shaded area for them to rest. All that fun can be exhausting.
Explore somewhere new
Why not plan a day trip with your dog. Pack a picnic or a travel BBQ and set off to explore somewhere new. Some dogs may be more adventurous than others so make sure you stick to a route they can manage. If your pooch is the canine version of Bear Grylls you could swap your king size bed for a night under canvas.
Grooming Tip: Pack someor to give your dog a clean down and save your water for drinking. A will help remove matts as well as burrs, leaves, or seeds that might get stuck in your dog’s coat while you explore. Don’t forget your !
Pro Tip: No matter where you explore always, always, always bring poo bags and clean up after your pooch! Keep the countryside beautiful for everyone.
One of our favourite pups @skye_withtheears shared some pictures of her latest adventures this time, at Ballymacormick Point in County Down, Northern Ireland. Ballymacormick Point is a breathtaking stretch of coastline looking out on Belfast Lough. This area is maintained by the National Trust and is recognised as an Area of Special Scientific Interest.
It supports a range of water birds including brent geese which visit in the winter from their breeding ground in Arctic Canada. You might also spot an oystercatcher, a shelduck or even a seal lounging on the rocks. Ballymacormick Point can be accessed from either Groomsport Harbour or Ballyholme Bay, by following the North Down Coastal Path/Ulster Way. There are stunning views across Belfast Lough to Carrickfergus and as far as the Mull of Galloway on a clear day. It is a popular route for dog walkers and families but can also be really peaceful. The path be a little uneven underfoot so make sure to wear appropriate footwear when you visit.
Make Some Pupsicles
Many foods we eat are toxic for dogs, but there are lots of dog-safe foods which can be used to make pupsicles to cool your dog down in hot weather. Think of these as giant, flavoured ice cubes that they can lick and chew, and avoid adding wooden or plastic sticks that could be dangerous if ingested. You could use a toy like a Kong, or a cupcake tray or even invest in some fun bone shape silicone moulds.
Next step is to decide what goes in them.
Blitz watermelon, cooked carrot, honey, and some water until smooth and freeze
Mix minced cooked chicken with a low salt chicken stock and freeze.
Combine unsweetened plain Greek yoghurt with pureed apple or banana and blueberries, and freeze.
Mix Peanut Butter and banana with some water until smooth. Make sure the peanut butter does not contain Xylitol as it is toxic for dogs.
Protecting your pet in the sun
While you are out having fun and exploring it is important to keep your dog safe.
A shady retreat - It is important that pets have an area of shade they can retreat to when they are outside, as overexposure to the sun can cause painful sunburn in dogs, especially those with light or white coloured fur which can be more sensitive. Whether a tree in the forest, a parasol on the beach or a shady corner in the garden. Dogs will know their limits and will seek shade so make sure they have somewhere to go.
Avoid the heat of the day – On warm days it is a good idea to avoid being outside at the hottest point of the day so plan your walks for first thing in the morning or later in the evening when the temperatures will be cooler.
Protect their paws – Being outside more and being more exposed to the elements (especially hot pavements) can leave paws cracked and sore. Make sure to clean your dog’s paws after adventures and massage ainto the pads to prevent dryness and cracking.
Keep up regular grooming - While your dog might not be getting as wet and muddy in the sunny weather, it’s still important to maintain a good grooming routine and brushing is an easy activity for you to do at home, and outside, to remove dead hair, and help circulation. For example, to keep Zeppelin’s coat looking in excellent condition, Rhiannon uses a daily to remove any loose dead hair. Doing this also keeps Zeppelin’s longer leg and beard hair from matting. Matting can trap moisture from the humidity in the summer and irritate a dog’s skin. Grooming is a fantastic way to bond with your dog, Zeppelin looks so relaxed.
Watch out for signs of dehydration – The heat will cause dogs to perspire more and if they don’t replace this water, they can end up dehydrated. Some signs of dehydration are the loss of skin elasticity and sticky dry gums. Make sure your dog always has access to fresh, cool water at home and when you are out and about.
NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG ALONE IN A CAR. Temperatures can rise to dangerous levels very quickly even with the windows open. Dogs can suffer brain damage, heatstroke, or suffocation, and increasingly become victims of theft.