Summer is here!
Let playtime begin! Whether you have a cat or a dog, or are the lucky person with both, you can engage your pet with lots of summer activities that will have them purring, tail-wagging, and basking in the fun. If you’re outdoors, make sure to provide pets with shade and sunscreen when necessary and pay attention for signs of heatstroke.
When the sun is shining and your dog is giving you that look of longing that says, “Can we please do something together?” it’s time to break out the activities. In all instances, make sure to keep it fun by providing a lot of rewards such as treats, praise, and toys to help make experiences positive. And remember to watch your dog’s body language (such as ears back, low-tucked tail, tense posture) and to remove them from situations they may find uncomfortable.
- If you have a dog who enjoys getting wet, turn on sprinklers and introduce a game of fetch. Note that while some dogs like playing in water, others prefer to steer clear of it; so pay attention to how your dog chooses to interact with sprinklers or other water sources.
- Let your dog enjoy a dip in the pool (that is, if they have already learned how to swim). If swimming is new to your pet, you can familiarize them to water with a small standalone pool filled with just a few inches of water. You can also purchase a life jacket for them to use under your supervision.
Games & Sports
- Seeking out a treat that’s hidden in a Kong toy or in a snuffle mat (you can make this at home) offer surefire entertainment. Or, let them chase a Frisbee or practice agility skills such as jumping through hoops or weaving between poles to get them moving. You can make your own or purchase a kit.
- Dogs of any age can gain valuable training skills at virtual workshops with the help of our partners at Prime Paw! Check out their positive-reinforcement courses such as Loose Leash Walking and Puppy First Steps for more info.
- Head out on a group walk, which allows for easy social distancing between people (stay six feet apart and wear a mask), while letting dogs walk a little closer than six feet.
- Visit a large (currently open) dog park like Fort Funston that is friendly to off-leash dogs and leaves space for pet guardians to stay socially distanced.
- Before heading into the Great Outdoors, ensure that your dog has received flea/tick prevention because if bitten, they are at risk of developing anemia, Lyme disease, hot spots, tapeworm, and other diseases.
- Make sure you have a water bowl and cool water on hand. In addition to drinking water, use this to dip their paws in or dab some on their stomach with a cool towel when it’s hot.
It’s true that cats love to nap. In fact, cats may sleep up to 16 hours a day! But when they are up and about, you can stimulate their minds and help them stay fit without much effort. Play twice a day for 10-15 minutes and make sure to put toys away when playtime has ended.
- Give them a chance to swat or drink from a running water source, which provides an opportunity to play, stay hydrated, and even wash their paws.
Exercise & Engagement
- Paper grocery bags, toilet paper rolls, and tissue paper make entertaining games for felines, and you can create DIY fun with these simple ideas. Another fantastic option is a snuffle mat, which you can fill with food or treats for an enriching activity.
- You can imitate the movement of prey with fishing pole-like toys. Don’t just dangle it in front of them; instead use subtle movements and twitching to catch your cat’s eye.
- Offer multiple climbing options such as perches and window hammocks, and give your cat ongoing entertainment by making it possible to look out the window (the outside world is filled with excitement).
- If you’re going to bring your cat on a summer trip, practice having them go in and out of their carrier beforehand by offering lots of treats and plenty of praise.You can also drive them around the block to get used to short trips first. Spraying a stress-reducing pheromone product such as Feliway in the carrier will provide reassurance and comfort.
- Plan to bring a water bowl, a spare collar with an ID tag, paper towels, and some favorite treats.
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