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This summer is shaping up to be a hot one; even pets are wilting in the dog days of summer. Even dogs can get bored, cranky and restless in this season of endless heat and no obligations. Create a doggy playdate with other pet parents in the neighborhood for a pawsworthy bash sure to take everyone’s mind off the heat. Whether your pawty is indoors or out, keep the water flowing to prevent heat stroke in dogs. Check out these summer doggy date ideas to make your pet the coolest pup on the block.
1. Pup Pool Party
If you know a pet parent who’ll let the canines cavort in the pool, plan a party! Dogs will be entertained for hours jumping in and out of the water; even lazy pets will enjoy relaxing on a dog-friendly pool float. Place some fluffy towels poolside for pets to dry off in the sun. Whip up a batch of pupsicles for a post-pool treat that keeps the cool coming.
For those of us without pool access, invest in a dog swimming pool and ask other pet parents to bring theirs along. Set up the dog pools in the yard and fill with an ice/water mixture guaranteed to cool off hot dogs. Toss in some rubber toys to keep pets entertained. For a bonus attraction, set up a sprinkler in the yard.
2. Field Day
This doggy playdate is perfect for high energy pups tired of being cooped up in the house. Find a large, open field – preferably grass, to avoid muddy paws or blistering sand – and invite all your dog’s friends to a field day event. Host the event at your local dog park, with permission from the parks department of course.
Inform pet parents it’s BYOT (bring your own toys), then have a free-for-all! Dogs with pent-up energy have room to run, while those who prefer a bout of tug-of-war or fetch can do their own thing. Be sure to provide a shaded area and plenty of water for thirsty pups. Don’t let pets leave empty-handed – DIY some dog treats as a party favor.
3. Take a Hike
Best for small groups of experienced dogs, round up some pups for your favorite dog-friendly hike. Double-check your trail is dog-friendly at BringFido.com or visit the parks department’s website. Always pick up after your pet (and yourself), including doggie bags. Bring along a larger bag to hold waste, or take your pet potty before heading out.
Bring plenty of water – and treats! – to keep Fido’s energy up and avoid heat stroke. Don’t forget the pet first aid kit, which can be a life-saver if you encounter snakes or poisonous plants. If you hit the trails regularly, invest in some dog hiking gear or a canine water bottle to make hydration on-the-go a breeze. Sensitive paws may need protective booties, especially adventurous pups.
4. AC Siesta
For brachycephalic dog breeds – those with short noses and muzzles – the heat can take its toll. Rather than force Fido outdoors, bring the party to him! Dog breeds like pugs, Frenchies, English bulldogs, and Boston terriers can all easily overheat, leading to heatstroke. Host a siesta for the neighborhood dogs in an air-conditioned home; set up fans for added comfort.
But before the siesta comes the refreshments! Peanut butter pupcakes are perfect for midday dessert, or freeze apple slices for a frosty treat. If you’re serving lunch, a simple recipe for homemade dog food uses chopped spinach, carrots and zucchini, tossed with fresh peas, brown rice and chicken. As always, keep the water flowing.
5. Dog-friendly BBQ
While human barbecues can be dangerous for dogs – alcohol, human food, children and fire in one place – throw your pet his own backyard bash. Technically hot dogs and burgers are dog-friendly (in small doses), but only as a special treat; too much of a good thing can lead to pancreatitis in dogs. Hold the seasoning on all meats and cut into pup-sized bites before serving.
Make homemade dog ice cream for dessert – blend bananas, plain or vanilla yogurt, and peanut butter; freeze in muffin cups and serve!