Bright sunshine and brisk breezes invite you outdoors to enjoy the summer weather, but as temperatures and humidity levels climb, your pet may find the conditions uncomfortable, and you may have to forgo your plans for the day and play with your pet indoors. But, most days you can include them in many summertime activities. Here are four ways to get out and enjoy the summer season safely with your pet.

#1: Walk and play with your pet during the coolest part of the day

Regular exercise is essential for your pet’s mental and physical wellness, so despite soaring temperatures, your furry pal still needs to get up and get moving. Head outdoors during the coolest part of the day—typically the morning—to increase your heart rate, and avoid the steamy afternoons. Choose shaded spots, and areas covered with grass or dirt instead of pavement, to keep your pet as cool as possible.

#2: Splash safely with your pet in refreshing water

Incorporating water into your pet’s playtime is a great way to stay cool, and water offers tons of fun activities that your four-legged friend can safely enjoy without overheating. Try these pet-friendly water activities this summer:

  • Bobbing for kibble — If your pet is particularly food-motivated, they’ll love “diving” for kibble pieces or treats tossed into a shallow wading pool. Fill the pool with a few inches of water, and throw some snacks—including fresh fruit and veggies—or waterproof, floating toys into the pool. If your pet isn’t keen on the idea of jumping into water to retrieve the toys, they may prefer running through a sprinkler.
  • Doggy paddling — Take your pet to a nearby lake, creek, or pet-friendly beach to swim, or let them splash in your home swimming pool. However, keep in mind that not all pets are naturally good swimmers, so stick to shallow water or make them wear a safety vest. Always provide your pet with fresh water, and do not let them drink from lakes, ponds, or other bodies of water and accidentally ingest bacteria or parasites.
  • Taking a boat ride — If your pet isn’t sure about getting their paws wet, consider a boat ride. Pets who can sit still in a boat, canoe, or kayak without jumping overboard will enjoy the refreshing breeze coming off the water. If your pet is uneasy and cannot remain calm in a boat, leave them safely at home during your boating outing.

#3: Enjoy a late-night campfire with your pet

Sitting around a campfire at night and snacking on s’mores is a wonderful part of summer—one you’ll likely want to share with your four-legged friend. However, unfortunately, campfires spell trouble for curious pets, from venturing too close to the flames, to eating your chocolate and marshmallow stash. Ensure your pet remains leashed at all times, and stay far back from the campfire, not only for safety, but also because the flames will warm your pet more than you. Avoid sharing campfire treats with your pet, and give them a peanut butter-stuffed Kong or other long-lasting pet treat. Also, keep your pet safe from biting insects with veterinary-approved parasiticides—do not spray them with bug repellents that contain DEET or other harmful chemicals. 

#4: Make frozen treats for your pet

Frozen treats are a cool way to enjoy a hot summer’s day. Unfortunately, the sugar and dairy ingredients in ice cream can upset your furry pal’s stomach, so make them their own frozen treats with their favorite foods, including canned food, peanut butter, yogurt, spray cheese, canned tuna, and fruit. If your pet likes a stuffed Kong, simply stuff the Kong with their favorite foods and freeze overnight for a long-lasting “pup-sicle.” Frozen fruit chunks, such as watermelon cubes or banana chunks, and ice cubes made with low-sodium chicken broth or tuna in water, are other easy, cool treats. 

Keeping your pet cool and safe in the California summer heat is no easy feat, although many dangers are avoidable. However, should your furry pal overheat despite your care, contact our Scripps Ranch Veterinary Hospital team for help.