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25 Things to Do With Your Dog in Summer Weather

The temperature is rising and your dog wants to go outside. When the thermometer is on the upswing and heat is an issue, what is a doting dog mom or dog dad to do? Here are 25 things to do with your dog in summer weather.

Note: Always get clearance on your dog’s state of health before embarking (pun intended) on any sort of physical activity, but especially ones that involve being outside in warm to hot climates.  Use your common sense judgment if the weather is TOO hot: Never put a danger in danger, 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.

Summer dog activities

In or On Water

Summer means outdoor day trip trekking for Fido and his pack. From guided water adventures to dinner cruises with dogs and even whale watching and canoeing, if water’s involved, there are waves of dog-friendly activities in which to partake.

Paddleboarding: 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. Paddle boarding serves as a great form of exercise, allows quiet time to connect with nature and unplug electronically and plug in to your dog’s water zen zone. Be sure to use a protective flotation device and know what you are doing before going far.

Choose to Chance the Rapids and Dare to Dance the Tides: Garth Brooks wrote that, but if you and your dog are ultra water savvy, consider whitewater rafting, kayaking, fishing, canoeing, sailing, and/or surfing.

Swimming: Dogs are not natural born swimmers. Some swim, some don’t, and dogs should never be forced to swim or engage in water behavior they don’t enjoy and/or that can scare or harm them.

Dog by the ocean

CLICK THIS: Dog Water Dangers No One Talks About

Canoeing: Canoeing in a clear, shallow river provides good water play for dogs if he or she likes it. Your pooch can frolic in the water for a refreshing dip.

Kayaking: Pet and irresistible blogger, Aimee Beltran, kayaks with her dog, Chuy, who loves it and is a pro! See? Must Have Gear for Kayaking with a Chihuahua

Kiddie Pool Fun: For the less active or less enthused but likes water dogs, consider a child’s 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.

Safety Alert: Water intoxication happens when the body takes in more water than it can handle. The result is often fatal. How is it possible dogs can take in too much water?

  • Swimming and swallowing water
  • Playing with the hose
  • Frolicking in the ocean and taking in water

beach safety

Whale Watching: Captain Ahab would be proud to know that the Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown, located at the tip of Cape Cod, welcomes most 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 ride. Pack essentials, sunblock, camera and something warm and water-resistant/protective for Rover as the open waters and whales await! If you aren’t near Cape Cod, look into local water excursions that welcome dogs. One must ensure that Fido does not get sea sick, so never make a first water trip a long one. Boats and vessels will not turn around and come back if dogs get sick.

Dog Friendly Beaches: 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.  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.

dog beach

On Dry Land Outdoors

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.

CLICK THIS: Dog Paws Need Protection

Dog Friendly Baseball Games: Bark in the Park is something more and more baseball franchises are catching on to, and scoring a home run in doing so. Here’s a list of 2016 Dog Friendly Major League Baseball Games from the folks at

Valley Forge Historic Park: In looking for things to do during these sweltery summer months that are both pet welcoming and fun, it is with great pride that we share a recent historical find with you: 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. Learn about Valley Forge Historic Park.

Valley Forge National Park

Drive-In Movies: We highly recommend seeing if there are any drive-in movies near your town. Here’s the link for finding them: Drive In Movie Finder . This is a fun, affordable way to spend a night together.  We always have a good time as a family, away from all technology, a night under the stars, meeting lots of dogs and people, and watching movies (and the snacks are fun, too).

Side Bark: We recently saw The Secret Life of Pets at the drive-in.  < ===== Read our review!

Pet-Friendly Wineries: We love sitting in the air conditioned comfort or breezy outdoor seating at many wineries that welcome pets. Some of our favorites include Working Dog Winery in New Jersey and Barrel Oak Winery in Virginia. In fact, you can make a weekend of it with Arlington National Cemetery and neighboring Barrel Oak Winery.

Dog Mountain and Dog Chapel: Dogs are welcome with their parents to visit Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury. Housed on this glorious land are 400 acres of nature for hiking, and the famous Dog Chapel. Atop the white steeple, a Labrador Retriever points his wings to the wind as if beckoning to visitors. We visited in 2015 and plan to go back.  If you love dogs, this place is a must visit.

Click This: Dog Mountain and Dog Chapel

dog chapel with my dog
With my dog at the entrance to Dog Chapel.

Go Glamping:  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 are on the rise

Open Air Trolley (ABQ Trolley): Albuquerque, New Mexico:  Since Fidose of Reality prides itself on finding dog-friendly things to do and we are mega fans of the show, Breaking Bad, we had to get our paws on tickets for the ABQ Trolley Co. Breaking Bad tour. There are also general town trolley tours and the ABQ Trolley is generally very pet friendly.

pet friendly trolley
Mi familia

Make and Share Ice Cream 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. If making your own ice cream or dog-safe frozen treats sounds fun, check these easy recipes out:

Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats

DIY Pupsicles

Fido al Fresco: Bring your dog to a restaurant with a patio that allows well-behaved dogs and chill out under the shade with your bestie.

dog clothes

Biking Together: Nowadays, there are bicycle trailers designed for folks who want to take Fido biking along with them. This will take a some getting used to so that your dog does not freak out or get startled. If you invest in a bike trailer, be sure your dog is okay and comfortable with it. Allow him to sit in it before even hooking it up to the bike. Make it a happy zone. Be sure the dog is safely secured/harnessed so he or she can’t jump out.

Plan a Shaded Picnic: Plan the route and pit stops with a fun picnic basket–style lunch for ravenous road warriors. Save on fast food costs and carry pooch snacks, cool water and a “paw-nik” basket of sandwiches, fruits and beverages of the human variety.

Marshalls / TJ Maxx / Home Goods:  Always call ahead, but it has been our experience to be welcomed with open paws at these stores. We love Home Goods. Always be sure to ask first and to have a soft pillow or blanket for your dog to sit/lay on while he or she is carted around the housewares!

dog talk

Malls: Grab a leash and a credit card, as shopping is going to the dogs, quite literally. The aptly named Stony Point Fashion Park in Richmond, Virginia boasts over 90 stores, many which allow dogs inside. Get a bargain and shop with your dog: Talk about retail therapy. There is 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.

Indoor Games: Much like the games you play during rainy and cold days, indoor play lends itself well during hotter temperatures.

Click This: Indoor Games for Dogs

Canine Coffeehouse: Do you like to get together with friends for lunch or perhaps get caught up on work in a quiet environment? Coffee hounds can unite where dogs are welcome and embrace the chill out and enjoy the moment attitude as Fido kicks back with you. When in doubt, make a call to your local coffee house and inquire about their dog welcoming policy.

pup scout

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. For more about joining, visit

What is your favorite summertime activity to do with your dog(s)?



A dog lover of the highest order is how Gayle King introduced Carol Bryant, when she appeared with her Cocker Spaniel on Oprah Radio’s Gayle King show to dish dogs. Carol created and owns the trademark, My Heart Beats Dog® and lives that mantra. A 30-year veteran of the dog world, she is President of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and the 2020 DWAA winner for Best Dog Blog.


  1. Alli says

    I didn’t realize there was so many fun things to do with my dog during the summer weather. That first pic of the dog at the beach is adorable. All of the dog pics are so cute!

  2. Shirley Wood says

    What a fun post to read! Now I want to go to the drive-in movies for sure. We have 2 big dogs who live outside most of the year. One of them prefers to be a house dog during the heat of the summer,the other wouldn’t dream of giving up his guard post in the yard. So many fun ideas of ways to enjoy a pooch!

  3. Nichole says

    Thank you for such a fabulous list of ideas! I had no idea that Arlington National Cemetery was pet friendly. There are truly a lot of things to do with dogs if you just ask and look around, however. Sophie’s fave summer activity is lounging on her deck (she prefers the comfort of her own home), Teutul loves car rides, and Penny loves going to the race track for her Daddy’s legend car races.

    • Carol Bryant says

      Yes indeed, Arlington allows well behaved doggies to come. We visit and do hikes when it isn’t too hot. The races sound fun!

  4. Pam says

    Our dogs love their kiddie pool. They don’t love swimming but they’ll spend all day splashing in their pool.

  5. FiveSibesMom says

    What a great and informative post! Sharing over on FiveSibes social media, too! With Huskies, summer activities surround anything cool – so splashing in their kiddie pool and running through the sprinkler mist gets top billing, and then and snoozing and playing in door games in the a/c follows (like right now as I’m typing this with my Sibes asleep all around me in the cool house!) Happy Summer!

  6. Dolly the Doxie says

    You left out stay indoors with the AC on full blast while laying on the couch with mom.
    Here’s some suggestions for your list, Chicago has a dog friendly beach, Montrose Dog Beach, and a dog friendly mall, The Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue downtown, Nordstrom’s is it’s anchor store. Love Dolly

  7. Sarah says

    Does sleeping count as a favorite activity with my dog? haha! These are all fun activities to do with dogs in the Summer season.

    • Carol Bryant says

      Oh yes, there is nothing quite as refreshing as an air conditioned nap with your dog on a hot summer day!

  8. Cathy Armato says

    Wonderful ideas Carol thanks! My big Summer goals are to take my dogs to a dog friendly winery and to go on a boat with one of them, Phoebe will be easier for starters I think. One of my favorite warm weather activities is bike riding with my Husky, Icy. I got a bike Leash last year & it’s so awesome!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  9. Jeanine says

    I love this! would love to do some of these with my doggies. i have 3 of them and they always look so bored just chilling out in the sun, or playing…

  10. Renz says

    I definitely need to take my dog out more. Love the idea of taking them to the drive in. We are always there, will def do that the next time we go.

  11. Jenn @ EngineerMommy says

    My family is so excited to get a dog soon. You have some really cute ideas here. We’re definitely looking at a breed that would love all those water activities. My husband has been dying for a labrador forever!

    • Carol Bryant says

      Oh gosh you have got to share pics if you get that Labrador. I grew up with Labs and love them!

  12. Talent Hounds says

    What a great list of things to do. We have a heat alert on here so Kilo and I are relaxing by fan/aircon. Unfortunately lots of our restaurants, malls and stores are not dog-friendly I have discovered, even if we did wish to get out and about. Researching more locally now inspired.

  13. adriana says

    Great tips! I don’t have a dog, but my neighbors do and they let their pups swim so much – it’s so cute!!

  14. Christine Caplan says

    There are so many tips in this post that made me smile. We try to do once weekly ice cream trips to DQ. Also on the list is SUPing, as I’ve seen some folks with doxies on their boards so I want to try it! We also plan to get to a drive in movie too! Looks like I need to find one close by and I can bring the doxies I think! Such a fun post.

    • Carol Bryant says

      OOOH yes those are good ideas. I love a drive in movie. We arrive early so we can walk, explore, and meet other pet parents and their doggies.

  15. The Daily Pip says

    Ruby came with us on a trip to the Atlantic Ocean last summer. I was so excited because our previous dog, Pip, loved water so much, but we never had a chance to take him to the ocean. I was sure Ruby would just love it …but unfortunately, she was completely underwhelmed and kind of acted like we were torturing her when we tried to get her to put her paws in the water. She prefers the woods to the beach.

    One really cool thing we have here in Chicago is a dog cruise. Every Saturday and Sunday in July and August Mercury Cruises offers a boat ride on the Chicago River and then out into Lake Michigan for people and their dogs. It’s really fun. We took Pip a couple of times and plan to take Ruby this summer. Here’s the link (scroll down on page)

  16. Bella says

    My dog is my second half so she always comes places with me. We go to the drive in theatre all the time in the summer and take her too.

    • Carol Bryant says

      Awww love that – second half and I can totally relate. That is great that you have a drive in nearby. Aren’t they special places to go with the dog? YAY!

  17. Liz Mays says

    These are some really fun ideas. It’s great to include the dogs in the summer fun. A visit to Dog Mountain would be fun. I’d love to do some glamping with the pets too.

  18. The DIY Dog Mom says

    Swimming and kayaking are two of our favorite things to do! We need to try paddle boarding next!

  19. Dawn McAlexander says

    This post is cuteness overload! I just love looking at all the dogs having fun with their humans. That’s the best thing ever!

  20. Amanda Love says

    Beautiful ideas! I make sure I keep my dog active during the summer as well and it’s nice to be able to do things with them along with the whole family. I really appreciate these ideas because we still have a long way to go before the summer ends!

  21. Beth says

    What a comprehensive list of summer fun ideas! I always knew Carmel was a place I wanted to live, but I had no idea it was so dog friendly. (I haven’t been there since I was a teenager.)

  22. Heather Lawrence says

    Our neighbourhood has a lot of dogs so most mornings and later at night the path behind our house is busy with owners taking their fur babies for a walk. We don’t have a dog so most of your list was a complete surprise to me. Never thought to take a dog canoeing!

  23. Rosey says

    The pictures are cute. I didn’t think of the drive-in, but that’s the perfect place to bring your pooch, it’s all outside!

  24. Christina Aliperti says

    These are all so much fun! My dog is lazy though, he prefers the couch and the air conditioner over going out in the heat lol.

  25. Laura says

    We like to take our dogs hiking a lot during the summer. We also like to bring our lab down to the beach. She LOVES it down there (although my other dog doesn’t care for it). We also like to take them out to eat on restaurant patios. There’s a great one by the beach that always brings a big bowl of water out for them. All the waiters always stop by the table and give them dog treats. So spoiled!

  26. Silke says

    So many exciting ideas. we love anything outdoors. You could add gardening to the list – works great for us. Didn’t know and looked already up paddleboarding. Just hope I can stay on but it looks pretty stable.

  27. Cathy Armato says

    Hiking, the Beach, and Biking with our dogs are always on the Summer docket for us! For the past few years I’ve wanted to get the dogs out on a boat somewhere – maybe this will be the year! Great outdoor safety tips!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Digs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  28. Barx Parx says

    In Las Vegas as with many warmer climates, playing outside isn’t possible in the summertime. We decided to embrace that and open an indoor dog park & bar. Check us out!

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