If you’re looking for summer fun with your dog, we’ve got you covered with plenty of activities to do with your pooch in the warmer months. Since most lists cover the basics like swimming and morning walks, we’ll break down warmer weather activities for dogs of all ages, sizes, and activity levels. There’s something on our list from summer day trips to weekend outings and everything in between.
Add a summer twist to your dog’s routine while enjoying brighter days and longer evenings with unique, safe, and fun things to do with dogs in the warmer weather. Has your dog tried paddleboarding? Have the two of you discovered the only pet-friendly amusement park in the United States? We’ll take a deep dive into these warmer weather activities for dogs.
Before engaging in any new activities or outdoor festivities, be sure to know your dog’s limits. You may like swimming, but your dog might hate it. Some dogs will have a hard time adjusting to warm weather if they’ve spent winter and spring as a couch potato. My dog always gets a physical exam and bloodwork in the spring so I know he is ready for summer.
Use your common sense judgment if the weather is too hot, and never put a dog in harm’s way. We’ll share a list of the most common canine dangers of summer, too. Don’t leave a dog in a vehicle, and pay close attention to dog paws, which can be severely burned in 30 seconds or less depending on the temperature.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Water Fun With Dogs In Summer
One of the first places most dog parents consider to help their pup cool off is the water. From guided water adventures to dinner cruises with dogs and even whale watching and canoeing, if the water’s involved, there are waves of activities to do in the summer months.
Many dogs love to swim, but dogs are not natural-born swimmers. If your dog likes to swim and enjoys the water, by all means, have a wet and wild blast. A dog should never be forced to swim. or thrown in a pool, lake, or ocean.
Where a dog swims is as important as if she likes to swim. For dogs who love the water, going for a refreshing swim on a hot day is a treat. Most dogs who enjoy swimming can safely swim in swimming pools, some lakes, and some rivers. Keep a close eye on your dog no matter where she swims as things can get dangerous.
Avoid lakes and ponds with algae on the surface and take note of any warnings or signs posted in the area. Rivers can have a deadly undercurrent. Many dogs frolic in the ocean but don’t let your dog consume the water. Water intoxication, also called hyponatremia, is a rare but potentially fatal condition that affects dogs who love water play and swimming.
Dogs can have fun playing in the ocean as long as the beach is pet friendly. My dog, for example, will walk into the ocean enough to get his paws wet. Never allow your dog to swim into the ocean where the tide can pull her out.
A life jacket can boost a dog’s confidence if she is new to swimming and are a great tool in teaching a dog to swim. Life vests serve an important purpose even if a dog knows how to swim: Dogs get tired, they may get scared, and if the current is getting strong, dogs can be pulled away. Canine life vests save lives, so if your dog is venturing out in the summer to do some swimming, be sure to fit her for a doggy life vest.
We wrote an article all about dog water dangers.
The first time I saw a woman paddleboarding in the summer with her dog, I was fascinated. I was staying at the Westin Lake Las Vegas, and watched the dog and his mom have a blast. Stand-up paddleboarding) involves standing on a large board with your dog while using a paddle to move gently through the water.
The easiest way to get started is to take a beginner SUP class taught by a certified instructor without your dog. Basic commands such as sit and stay are necessary for the dog’s safety. Once your dog is used to standing and sitting on the board on dry land, you can try it on water.
Imagine standing up on a long surfboard, a tranquil day, calm waters and a canine sidekick to take in the beauty of nature’s bounty. Paddleboarding serves as a great form of exercise, allows quiet time to connect with nature and unplug electronically and plug into your dog’s water zen zone. Be sure to use a canine protective flotation device and know what you are doing before going far.
3. Dog Pool Fun in Summer
For the less active or less enthused but likes water dogs, consider a child’s pool, or even better, a dog pool, and fill it with water. The heat relief and fun associated with frolicking in the shallow water is a quick and easy way to keep dogs active and cool at the same time.
If your dog hates bath, she still may like a kiddie pool. Some dogs are completely opposed to any type of water activity, so don’t take it personally if she’s just not into that.
Although there are a bunch of kiddie pools available, a dog pool is designed for durability and longevity since dogs will likely be harder on a pool than kids.
4. Sprinkler In The Yard
Nothing says summer more than running through a sprinkler in the backyard! Lots of dogs love summertime water play. Rotating lawn sprinklers are okay, but sprinklers designed for canine outdoor fun can turn your backyard into a dog water park.
Use supervision during sprinkler play because some dogs may bite at the water or constantly try to drink it, which can lead to water intoxication as mentioned above. Dogs with a shorter snout, such as Boston Terriers and Pugs, may inhale the water and be at higher risk for inhaling water.
5. Whale Watching
Captain Ahab would be proud to know that the Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown, located at the tip of Cape Cod, welcomes well-behaved dogs aboard their whale watching excursions. Dogs must be accustomed to water, leashed or crated, friendly with people, and able to handle a three- to four-hour water tour.
I highly recommend you take something water-resistant and protective for your dog as the open waters and whales await! If you aren’t near Cape Cod, look into local water excursions that welcome dogs. Like some people, some dogs can get seasick, so never make a first water trip a long one. Boats and vessels will not turn around and come back if dogs get sick.
Most kayaks can hold small to medium-sized dogs. Dog trainer Sarah Mairs believes any dog can learn to kayak with their mom or dad if basic training skills are used. Building a dog’s confidence on the water early on is important, as a kayak rocks unpredictably. She recommends on-land training to control the kayak’s movement before adjusting to water.
Kayaking with your dog is a relaxing way to enjoy the water and spend quality time with your dog in the summer months. Patient training, acclimation, and a life jacket are all essential to see if your dog enjoys kayaking. Like all the summer activities on this list, never force a dog to do something that makes her upset, anxious, or afraid.
Here are a few items to take with you on a kayak trip with your dog: Life jacket, bottled water, collapsible water and food bowl, doggy first aid kit, waterproof phone case, towel, life jacket, and sunscreen.
Pro tip: The company S’well makes my favorite insulated water bottle.
Most often, dogs who love car rides wind up loving canoeing. Most experts recommend a non-aluminum canoe since aluminum is both noisy and hot. Be certain you are adept at canoeing before adding your dog to the boat.
Dogs should wear a life jacket, and train your dog to know the basics. Once a dog is comfortable with being in a canoe, she will happily sit by your side or behind you.
Dogs should not be barking while canoeing or kayaking, as it annoys others and may scare local wildlife. Plus, if anyone is fishing in the area, they won’t be too happy.
8. Dog Friendly Beaches For Summer Fun
There are many beaches across the country that welcome pets, some in off hours, and others at specific times of the year. Always use a pet-friendly sunscreen and keep a close eye on your dog at the beach. Obey leash laws, too.
If you live or visit out west, the majority of Carmel, California businesses strongly embrace the canine set. In fact, Carmel has more dog-friendly businesses per capita than any other community in California—possibly in the entire United States.
9. Dog Diving
If your dog loves to retrieve things like a ball, stick, or frisbee, dog diving is the ultimate summer activity. The American Kennel Club says dog diving involves throwing your dog’s favorite toy into a poll while he waits on a dock that measures 40 feet long.
You give the command to “go” and the dog run, leaps into the air off the dock, lands in the water, and fetches his favorite toy. The one with the longest measured jump is declared the winner. Jumps can be as short as two feet for newcomers to the sport and up to 30 feet for more experienced canines.
I’ve been to dog diving competitions, and I can assure you they are fun, wet, wild, and enjoyable events. Dogs of all sizes and breeds took part, but the ones who seemed to do the best in terms of winning were the larger dogs with the wider strides. If your dog loves to swim and will do anything for his favorite toy, consider dog diving.
Why hang ten when you hang ten plus four paws?! Surf dog competitions are extremely popular. Dog surfing is the perfect summer pastime. Dogs should love the water and be proficient swimmers whether you compete or not.
The human-animal bond is such a strong one that dogs who love the water are often the perfect candidates to surf with their owners. Our canine pal, Surf Dog Ricochet, has won many dog surfing competitions, but she also surfs with a purpose for fundraisers.
Whether you want to take part in the surf or watch from the sidelines, learn more from the Surf Dog Championships.
Summer Fun With Your Dog On Land
Not everyone loves water sports and some dogs despise doing things in the water. My Cocker Spaniel likes to get his feet wet and maybe walk into the water, but he’s not into swimming. Sometimes it’s nice to take a day off and do something outdoorsy in the warmer months while sticking to dry land.
11. Drive In Movies
We highly recommend seeing if there are any drive-in movies near your town that allowed well-behaved dogs. This is a fun, affordable way to spend a night with your pooch.
We always have a good time as a family, away from all technology, a night under the stars, seeing lots of dogs and people, and watching movies (and the snacks are fun, too). Be sure to follow all mask, social distancing, and dog behavior rules.
Find a list of drive-in movie theaters for summertime fun with the Drive In Movie Finder .
12. Dog Friendly Wineries and Breweries
We love sitting in the socially distanced air conditioned comfort or breezy outdoor seating at many wineries that welcome pets.
Some of our east coast favorite pet-friendly wineries include Working Dog Winery in New Jersey, Barrel Oak Winery in Virginia (near Washington D.C), and Robibero Winery in New York. We prefer lawn seating and recommend a weekday during the warmer months. There are fewer people, you can hang out under an umbrella, and enjoy a glass of Pinot and puppies!
Not everyone loves wine or perhaps you want to mix things up. Pet-friendly breweries are all the rage and show no signs of slowing down. While dog moms and dads enjoy craft beer, dogs can take in the sights and sounds in a fun environment.
Our pal Bryn Nowell blogs about dogs and the adult beverage industry over at A Dog Walks Into a Bar.
13. Plan A Picnic In The Shade
I love day trips with my dog, and one of our frequent things to do as a family includes picnicking! No matter where we go during the summer months, we make sure to keep the dog cool and hydrated at all times.
Provide a place for your dog to be out of the sun. We like to take a beach blanket and a doggie tent so my pooch always has a cool area out of the sunshine. Pack a picnic basket full of your favorite snacks or sandwiches, and be sure to take your dog’s food and snacks along, too.
In addition to a blanket and pup tent, cool water, and food, be sure to bring sunscreen, pet-safe pest repellant, and a first aid kit. I am never without a tick key just in case. For under $5 bucks, ticks are not hitching a ride home on my dog!
Check with local and state parks for pet-friendly rules and regulations. Some of the best dog photos I’ve taken over the years have been during day trips in the summer with my family. Outdoor lighting is everything and dogs are so happy and relaxed!
14. Go Glamping With Your Dog
Glamping is a growing, hot trendy way to seek refuge in the great outdoors without having to completely “ruff” it. A combination of the words glamorous and camping, glamping’s origins are deeply seeded in countries such as Africa, yet its popularity in the states and Europe is on the rise.
You and your dog simply show up to a luxurious yurt or tent and not worry about having to pitch your own. Glamping is for folks like me who prefer to have some luxury while in the great outdoors. I tend to get the heebie-jeebies when I think about the bugs and the great outdoors. Glamping is camping with an oh-so-glammed up twist.
Since the onset of the pandemic, more and more people have brought a dog into their lives, so glamping is a fun way to get outdoors, socially distance, and still have fun.
Glamping Hub is a website that shares thousands of dog-friendly glamping getaways. Always call ahead to ensure the site is still pet-friendly before booking accommodations.
15. Dog Mountain And Dog Chapel
Dogs are welcome with their parents to visit Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Our visit to Dog Mountain was surreal and a must-do for any dog lover. Set on 150 acres of mountaintop, this glorious land is perfect for reflecting and hiking, Dog Mountain is a dog parent’s dream come true.
Dogs can hike, run, play, attend a dog party, listen to music on the mountain, visit the gallery to shop, and pay tribute to dogs we’ve loved and lost in the Dog Chapel. Dog Mountain and The Dog Chapel are free and open to the public.
If you are a dog lover, add this destination to your must-visit bucket list for both you AND your dog(s) in the spring, summer, or fall. By the way, there are miracles on this property: I witnessed not one, not two, but three miracles on Dog Mountain.
16. Go Fishing
Dogs who are into the great outdoors and love to be by their pack will enjoy a shady day of fishing fun. Like picnicking with your pooch, be sure your dog has plenty of shade, cool water, pet-safe pest repellant, and someone to watch over her.
Avoid hooks getting stuck in your dog’s paws by keeping the tackle box closed. Whether on boat or on land, be sure your dog is enjoying herself and not just basking in the heat. Experienced fishing dogs know to stay out of the way of the pole and tackle, but newer pups will need positive reinforcement training.
The last thing you want is for a dog to bark at the fish, other dogs, or people, as fishing is a quiet sport, and people and pets do not shout or yell. The fish will get scared away if there is noise.
Life jackets are a must-have for any water sport, whether on the water, near the water, or in the water. Many cottages throughout the United States and Canada are pet friendly, which makes for a nice weekend fishing getaway.
17. Dog Friendly Baseball Games
Often called “Bark in the Park,” bringing your dog to a summer baseball game has caught on. Pandemic restrictions may be in place depending on when and where you go, but as ballparks start to reopen, this is a fun way to make memories with your dog.
Some major league baseball teams sponsor a dog day at the ballpark in conjunction with a pet adoption event. Dogs are allowed with their parents in special seating and in most cases, must provide proof of good health and/or vaccinations.
Many baseball teams have more than one bark in the park day, so check ahead for the teams who play in your city.
18. Make And Share Dog-Safe Ice Cream Treats
The dog days of summer are made for doggy ice cream and cool treats. We take our dog for doggie ice cream or allow him a very small cup of vanilla ice cream with a doggie biscuit, as some local ice cream parlors do.
A favorite and totally easy-to-use frozen treat maker that I adore is made by Yonanas. I love frozen bananas and banana treats, and many dogs love bananas, too. Bananas are okay for dogs in moderation, since they are a fruit with a high sugar content.
Learn more about healthy desserts people can share with their dogs.
If making your own ice cream or dog-safe frozen treats sounds fun, check these easy recipes out:
19. Indoor Summer Games For Dogs
Sometimes it’s just too hot to go outside, and it can be dangerous for dogs in the hot weather. Much like the games you play during rainy and cold days, indoor play lends itself well during warm weather days.
We made an extensive list of 101 things to do indoors with your dog. Indoor fun doesn’t mean less fun than outdoor activities with dogs. We divided the 101 things into 10 easy categories so dog parents can choose the ones that are best for their dog. These include:
- Dog Brain Games
- Dog Indoor Exercises
- 10 Touches To Do With Dogs Indoors
- Tricks For Dog Treats
- Puppy Indoor Activities
- Good Old Fashioned Canine Fun Activities
- Canine Arts & Crafts
- Canine Health & Hygiene
- Group Games For Dogs
- Other Things To Do Indoors With Your Dog
20. Go Biking Together
Nowadays, there are bicycle trailers designed for folks who want to take a dog along with them. This will take some getting used to so that your dog does not freak out or become startled.
If you invest in a bike trailer, be sure your dog is okay and comfortable with it. Allow her to sit in it before even hooking it up to the bike. Make it a happy zone, and be sure the dog is safely secured/harnessed so she can’t jump out.
A dog bike trailer attaches to the back of a bike and is towed along. A dog wagon or trailer should be roomy enough. for a dog to stand, sit, turn around, and lie down. Make sure the trailer has a cover to protect your dog in any kind of weather.
Some people allow their dog to run by their side while they bicycle, but for puppies, older dogs, or dogs with medical conditions such as arthritis, a bike trailer is a great piece of equipment for summer fun.
21. Historic Tours With Dogs
In looking for things to do during warmer months that are both pet welcoming and fun, find the history in your town or surrounding areas. If you love to learn new things, many historical areas in the United States welcome well-behaved dogs.
For example, we enjoy visiting the Valley Forge National Park in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Valley Forge National Historical Park is nationally significant as the location of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General George Washington.
As weather and the pandemic permit, consider something like the ultimate pet friendly American road trip. Maybe some of the stops are near your town or within driving distance.
22. Dog Friendly Amusement Park
Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania is one of my favorite places to visit. Knoebels allows well-behaved dogs, so if your dog doesn’t like kids, this might not be the place to go with your pooch. Because it is located in my area, I’ve been there dozens of times and even hosted pet-friendly fundraisers there!
Make sure it isn’t too hot when you go, but be sure to take all the basics with you (water, food, paw safety products, etc). Knoebels is a free-admission amusement park that features rides, old-fashioned food, and plenty of games and entertainment. It feels like the simple amusement parks of my childhood without all the glam and glitz of something like Disneyland.
23. Shop With Your Dog
Grab a leash and a credit card, as shopping has gone to the dogs. For example, the aptly named Stony Point Fashion Park in Richmond, Virginia boasts over 90 stores, many which allow dogs inside. There are no breed, weight, or size limits, and all stores that welcome dogs have a sticker indicating so in their front window. Try a Google search on “dog-friendly malls” and see what turns up in your area.
Some chain stores allow well-behaved dogs inside, and sometimes they must be in a cart. As of this writing, I know Home Goods allows my dog indoors in a cart, which he loves. Be sure to put a doggie bed or comfortable blanket down in the cart first.
Pro tip: Some dogs get tired or prefer to go shopping and sightseeing in a doggy stroller. We take our doggy stroller on summer outings or if we take long walks, go outdoor mall shopping, or plan to be on our feet for a while. It also doubles as a great place to carry your water and supplies.
24. Geocaching Fun
A dog’s nose knows, and if you like outdoor fun that will help your dog use her amazing sniffer, geocaching is a great outdoor activity. Geocaching has been around for a long time, but it seems like the people who really love it are the people actually doing it.
People who geocache spend their time looking for a “cache,” which is a mixture of items secured into a watertight container. The container houses a variety of items including a notebook, stamp, and items from previous finders.
All cache movement gets recorded alongside the other participant’s adventures, and there are many imaginative places caches are hidden. With your dog by your side and a GPS system or smartphone ready to go, geocaching is a unique, off-the-beaten-path activity to do with your dog for summer fun and all year round!
25. Have Your Dog Become a Pup Scout
Similar to the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts organization, PupScouts is strictly for dogs and their parents. The dogs earn badges for things such as swimming, hiking, beach clean-up, arts and crafts, and more.
When COVID suspensions are lifted, there will be more in-person meetings and group fun, but members can participate and earn badges through an on troop. Dexter is a PupScout and has earned many badges over the years.
For more about joining, visit PupScouts.org.
Summer Warnings For Dogs
The last thing anyone wants during a fun summer outing with their dog is to have an accident or injury. Here are our favorite tips to keep dogs safe all summer long:
- Early Morning or Late Day Walks: Temperatures tend to be cooler in the early morning hours, so take any walks in the early or late parts of the day.
- Keep Paws Protected: There’s a way to treat dog feet aka paws and a multitude of dog paw problems that can ensue if you don’t.
- Avoid Certain Household Items: There are specific items lurking in your home right now that have the chance or harming your pet. Get to know these 10 summer household items that can kill or harm dogs.
- Avoid Dangerous Chemicals: From chemicals sprayed on lawns to chemically-based flea and tick preventatives, some of the biggest summer dangers to dogs are the ones we can’t see. Here are our recommendations for safer non-chemical flea and tick preventatives.
- Heatstroke Can Happen Fast: Don’t exercise on hot days. When a dog’s body temperature rises too high, she may pant excessively, and heatstroke can be deadly.
- Watch the Humidity: If the humidity is too high, dogs will be unable to cool themselves and their temperature can soar to dangerously high levels. Use a cooling mat for dogs while in the shade.
- Water Intoxication: When dogs swallow too much water during swimming or playing with a hose or sprinkler, they can die from water intoxication.
- Drowning: Not all dogs can swim but even avid canine swimmers can drown. Treat dogs like children, and let them swim IF they like it but supervise closely.
- Fleas and Ticks: Do a thorough check of your dog whenever she spends time outside. I check my dog daily for fleas and ticks. A tick nearly killed my dog.
- Parked Cars: Never leave your dog alone in a car. They are subject to theft, but also temperatures can rise to dangerous levels in a matter of minutes. Never leave a dog in a car alone.
- Sunburn: Like people, dogs who spend time outside are susceptible to sunburn. Areas without fur (the nose, stomach, and ears) may show overexposure before areas covered in fur. Stay in shady areas as much as possible, and choose a dog sunscreen formulated for your pooch.
- Thirst: Dogs should have access to cool, clean water at all times. Take water with you when you head out on a walk. Here’s how to get your dog to drink more water.
- Fireworks and Thunderstorms: Loud noises from thunderstorms and fireworks can cause a dog to have anxiety and fear. Keep pets calm and secure using time-tested methods and your vet’s recommendations.
What are your favorite things to do in the summertime with your dogs? Do tell in the comment box below and stay safe out there!