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Dog-Friendly Summer Activities and Events for Your Pup

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Dog-Friendly Summer Activities and Events for Your Pup

With warm weather and long days, summer is the perfect time to get out and experience the joy of having new experiences with your furry friend. In addition to enjoyment, engaging in dog activities in the summer brings opportunities for your pooch to benefit from exercise, mental stimulation and social interactions, and there are a wealth of fun, dog-friendly activities that you can participate in. This guide provides ideas for dog activities to do in summer weather with your pet to help you plan for the season. 

Summer Festivals and Fairs for Dogs 

Many cities across the U.S. and Canada host fairs and festivals designed exclusively for dogs and their human companions. These events include Woofstock in Toronto, Ontario; Bluegrass Pugfest in Louisville, Kentucky; Bark by the Bay in University Place, Washington; West Fest in Chicago, Illinois; Bark in the Park summer activities that take place in many U.S. cities and countless others. 

Activities at Festivals 

While the themes of summer festivals for dogs vary, they all have one thing in common: they're packed with fun activities for dogs and people alike. Many feature dog parades, where canine attendees can strut their stuff, and dog costume contests that allow pet parents to get creative and design one-of-a-kind outfits for their pooches.

Other dog-friendly activities you may find at summer dog festivals include interactive games, obstacle courses and dog parks for socializing. 

In addition to activities, most dog festivals attract vendors who specialize in pet-friendly products, such as gourmet foods, handcrafted tools and artsy clothing, collars and leashes. Some even have food trucks that cater to both people and pets. 

Tips for Attending 

To fully enjoy your time traveling to a large summer dog festival, follow these tips: 

  • Plan to stop frequently along your route for potty breaks and exercise if you're driving 
  • Contact your airline to determine the rules for air travel if you're flying 
  • Use travel apps to search for pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals 
  • Be sure that your dog's vaccinations are up-to-date before the big trip 
  • Bring along a travel bowl or teach your dog to drink from a water bottle, so that they can stay hydrated at the festival 
  • Before the event, spend time socializing your dog by taking them to your local dog park 
  • Monitor your dog closely throughout the event, especially if off-leash play is permitted 


Enrichment Activities for Dogs in Summer 

You don't need to wait for a festival to enjoy fun activities for dogs. There are many ways to get your dog exercising their body and mind close to home. 


Outdoor Enrichment Ideas 

Fun dog activities can be a simple as exploring a new outdoor setting together. National, state and local parks provide wide open spaces for running and playing, while public dog-friendly beaches let pooches splash, dig in the sand and enjoy the company of people and other pets. Many parks are home to hiking trails geared toward dogs. These pathways usually cut through shaded areas and are lined with hydration stations where both people and pets can get refreshed with a cool drink of water. 

Water-Based Activities 

Summer is the perfect time for dogs to make a splash. Swimming is a fun way to promote dog fitness, and you can find opportunities for swimming at pet-friendly public pools, lakes, rivers and beaches. Some areas even organize dog paddle competitions that give pooches a chance to socialize while they swim. As you plan for your water-based outings, check out our tips on water safety to protect your pet. 

Creative Summer Activities 

With a little creativity, you can enjoy summer activities with your dog right in your own backyard. Consider constructing a DIY obstacle course for your fur baby to navigate. Grab a Frisbee or other dog-friendly throwing toy and play a game of catch. Add mental stimulation into the outdoor fun with interactive toys and treat puzzle toys. Even simply filling a baby pool with water can and letting your dog splash around can provide hours of enjoyment. 


Dog-Friendly Summer Events in Your Area 

Keep an eye on your community calendars for pet-friendly events in your area. Many towns now host dog-friendly activities during the summer months, such as: 

  • Dog parades 
  • Breed-specific dog play dates 
  • Dog costume contests 
  • Dog obstacle courses 
  • Dog training events 
  • Doggie food festivals 
  • Dog swimming courses 
  • Dog-friendly river and lake cruises 
  • Live music festivals that welcome pets 
  • "Dog and me" hikes and nature walks 
  • Arts and crafts festivals with dog-friendly activities 


Planning Your Visit 

Even if you won't have to travel far to join in the fun of a local dog event, be sure to come prepared. Check to see if the event sells food for dogs, and if not, plan to bring a long a nutritious meal or snack to keep your pup fueled for all the dog activities. Bringing a travel bowl will also allow you to keep them hydrated on the go. Also, take steps to protect your pooch from the sun during the festival with sunscreen, booties and other protective gear. 

Getting Involved 

If your schedule permits, consider joining the planning team for dog-friendly events in your area. By donating your time and talents, you can help contribute to the success of events. In addition, getting involved with planning committees and organizations can give you the opportunity to make friendships with fellow pet owners and dog lovers. In the future, these connections may lead to play dates and outings with other people and pooches that both you and your dog can benefit from. 

Wrapping Up the Dog-Friendly Summer Activities 

As you can see, there's no shortage of fun activities for dogs that you can share with your pooch in your community and your own backyard.

By selecting a few to share in this summer, your dog can exercise, socialize and receive mental stimulation, as you foster an even stronger between the two of you. Start researching activities in your area today and get ready to create some cherished memories all summer long. 


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