6 Summer Exercise Ideas for Your Dog
Are you looking for a way to bond with your dog this summer while also getting in some fun activity and exercise? Whether it be for your dog alone or the both of you, an active lifestyle is a happy lifestyle! Of course, you always want to keep safety in mind during the hotter months. Have you read our recent blog post about summer safety and ways to keep your dog cool? Find it here! Now, with that in mind, time for some fun summer exercise that might not be possible during the winter!
- Early morning or late evening walks and runs
Since early morning and late evening are the coolest times of day, it’s a great time to get your dog’s daily exercise in. If you have a dog that needs intensity in the form of runs or extra long walks, you can get them out while the temperature is tolerable, and the pavement is not yet too hot for their paws. This is especially great for bonding and can serve as your own daily exercise! Enjoy your dog’s company while less people are out and about and remember to bring water for the both of you regardless of time of day.
- Swimming and water activities
Swimming and time in the water is one of the most popular summer activities for dogs to get their exercise. It provides much-needed relief from the hot temperatures and is a low-impact form of exercise that can be especially beneficial for older dogs. So, if you have a dog who enjoys the water, take plenty of time to get them out to the lake, bay, pool, or even kiddie pool this summer!
You can also play water games to up the level of exercise and fun! Your dog might enjoy a game of fetch in the bay or pool, or maybe some floating treats that they have to swim after.
If you don’t have a larger water source available but you have a sprinkler, you can play fetch with your dog straight through the sprinklers!
- Shady hike enclosed by trees
Even when temperatures are high, shade can bring great reprieve to the heat. If you live in an area or have access to a wooded area enclosed by lots of big trees that cast shade on trails, then definitely utilize them to exercise with your pup in the summer! This way you won’t have to worry about waking up early or waiting until late in the evening to get exercise in, and you don’t have to worry about burnt paws when on a trail. (Though always be on the lookout for other hazards founds in the woods like wildlife, rough terrain, and poisonous plants.) You can go during the day and stay cooler in the shade. And of course, always remember to pack accordingly with water and any other supplies you or your dog will need while out for long periods of time.
- Shaded obstacle courses
Similarly to finding shaded trails for daytime hikes, you can set up an obstacle course for your dog in the shade! Whether it’s in your own yard or you know of a dog park that has one available, obstacle courses are great stimulation for the mind and body. Utilizing objects like ramps, hula hoops, jump bars, and weave poles are excellent ways to practice your dog’s agility and training. As long as there is some shade, a breeze, and water to drink, your dog can put their skills to the test with this fun outdoor activity!
- Brief games of frisbee or fetch
With a high heat index, you never want your dog to overdo it with exercise during peak hours, however, you can still get in some quick bursts of exercise and then give them a chance to cool down indoors directly after. A five- or ten-minute game of frisbee or fetch in the yard, or any other outdoor game they enjoy, is an effective way to get out some of that pent-up energy. Then, once they cool off for a while and rest you can go out for another round!
Frisbee and fetch might be made even better if your dog can run through the sprinkler or kiddie pool to play!
- Indoor training and games
Sometimes, the heat is simply too much for both us and our pets to handle. Your dog might get overheated if they exercise too vigorously during peak hours and high temperatures. Make sure you are aware of the signs of heat exhaustion and how to prevent and treat it. When overheating is a concern, implementing indoor training and games will really benefit your furry friend. And of course, this exercise can be utilized when it’s raining or during inclement weather! Their daily training regimen can be done indoors instead if you usually go outside for training. Practicing their training each day is important mental exercise because your dog needs just as much mental stimulation as they do physical. If you have the space, there are tons of games you can play inside with your pup, whether they be for physical exercise or mental enrichment!
- Tug of war
- Hide and seek- with you or with treats
- Running up and down the stairs together
- Fetch if space allows
- Mind puzzles and nose games
- Meal and treat puzzles for mental exercise
Summer is one of the best times of the year to spend with our dogs, and it’s also one of the most fun times to be active! Beach and lake trips are happening, swimming pools are filled, sprinklers on, and the AC cranked for reprieve when it’s time to cool off. As long as you practice safety in the heat where pets are concerned, get ready to have a blast with your best workout pal this summer! Be sure to read our blog post Keep Your Dog Cool this Summer so you have a guideline on safety and cooling techniques before considering the best ways to exercise. Now, let the dog days of summer commence!
Shay Siegel is a young adult author, freelance writer, and editor from Long Island, NY. She has a BA from Tulane University and an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Always a lover of animals, Shay had several cats growing up. She's now a dog mom to the snuggliest rescue pit bull, Bernie. She enjoys writing on a variety of topics and sharing her love and knowledge of animals with others!