5 ways to make the most of summer with your pet

A pair of dogs have fun playing in a dog park

Summer is the perfect time for backyard cookouts, splashing in the pool, and extra time outdoors just enjoying the long, sunny days. While you may have your summer vacation plans sorted out, making time for your pet should also be on the list; after all, it’s summer vacation for your dog and cat, too! Here are 5 fun things you and your four-legged friend are sure to enjoy:

    1. Dog Park Fun: Take your pooch to the dog park for a good time. In many towns there are beautiful parks where pets can run free and play with other dogs. Getting your dog out and about and playing in a group setting conditions your dog to become comfortable with social interactions with other dogs and other humans, too. If your town doesn’t have a dog park, make one of your own! You can always invite friends and family and their pets over to your own yard, as well. In fact, the next time you are throwing an outdoor party, try inviting the pets too.
    2. Take a Hike: For those lucky enough to live in an area with designated hiking paths, taking your pet along can be rewarding for the both of you. Before heading out, make sure pets are permitted, and keep your dog on a leash. Some hiking paths are heavily wooded, so be sure to keep your pet safe from ticks with a topical flea and tick preventative.
    3. Make a Yummy Snack: Pets love treats and what  better treat in the summer than something cool! “Petsicles” are a delicious and healthy treat that also helps cool off hot cats and dogs. Just like a popsicle, petsicles are frozen treats that your pet will love to lick. You can make petsicles with natural chicken or beef broth. All you have to do is combine the broth of your choice with a little water and pour into an ice cube tray. Add bits of healthy raw fruits and vegetables to the broth for a fun surprise. Place the tray in the freezer for 1-2 hours and voilà, you have a tasty pet treat for hot summer days. Or, try frozen watermelon or banana chunks for an even easier to make treat!
    4. Go Swimming: Most larger dogs (especially labs) love the water, and a hot summer day is the perfect time to take a dip. If you live next to a lake why don’t you let your pet enjoy swimming and splashing around? Playing fetch in the water is especially fun for dogs. Just grab a stick, ball or flying disc and watch your pooch frolic in the water. You may also be fortunate enough to have a dog beach in your area. Pet friendly beaches can be hard to come by, but they’re great spots where your dog can play in the sand and frolic in the water.
    5. Go to the Vet: Lastly, although it may not be as fun as your pet had hoped, it’s important to take your dog or cat to the vet to ensure your pet is in optimal condition for all the fun you have planned. Make an appointment with your vet this summer for a general check-up for your pet.

No matter what activities you have planned to do with your pet this summer, chances are he or she will be spending more time outside. Don’t forget to keep your pet protected from fleas, ticks and other parasites that thrive in the warm weather with proper flea, tick and heartworm protection.

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