Whether temperatures are soaring or cooling down in your area, you don’t want to leave your senior dog out of the summertime activities. He may not be as active as he used to be and even more sensitive to high temperatures, but there are still some ways that you can have summer fun with your old dog that both of you will enjoy!
- Make a Refreshing Doggie Treat – If you are like most humans, you have a favorite go-to frozen treat or chilled drink that helps you cool off on those hot days. Your pup will probably enjoy some healthy homemade treats to help him cool off as well. Use a mini muffin and some low-sodium, fat-free beef or chicken broth to make custom surprise treats. Start by filling the tin half-full and letting it freeze just enough to support a piece of dog food, a spoonful of peanut butter, or your dog’s favorite treat. Place the treat in the center and then cover the rest of the way with the remaining broth. Freeze until solid. Another option is to fill a treat toy and then put it in the freezer.
- Check Out the Local Businesses That are Dog-Friendly – You might be surprised to learn that you have the option to take your dog on a shopping spree where he can help you pick out some new toys. A number of restaurants have begun to allow dogs so that you and your pal can enjoy dining al fresco. Just make sure you check out the menu before you go so you only order dog-friendly items for your old dog. Also, see if there are dog-friendly pools in your area. Swimming is one of the best ways to have fun in the summer with your old dog even if you don’t own a pool of your own.
- Spend a Day at the Lake – You don’t have to live in a coastal area to enjoy a day at the water with your dog. Natural lakes and man-made ones alike are great places to enjoy time in the water. Swimming is a great way for your old dog to keep cool and it will help him get some low-impact exercise that will keep him mobile and aid in weight maintenance. Some lakes even have man-made beaches with designated areas where you can take your dog. Just keep a close eye on him during the activities to make sure he doesn’t get over-fatigued or injured. If your dog isn’t a natural water-lover, consider investing in a doggie life jacket to keep him afloat.
- Have a Backyard Dog Party – Sometimes having friends around is the best way to boost an old dog’s energy and make him enjoy activities he has lost interest in. Limit the guest list to dogs similar in age and with the right temperament to make them a good playmate for your dog. Also, make sure there are plenty of senior-friendly toys to go around. Soft Frisbees, squeaky balls, and plush animals are some suggestions. Make sure there is a ready supply of cool water nearby for your dog and all of his guests.
- Buy a Sprinkler – If you don’t have one, you may not know if your dog is one of the many who just love to play in the spray of water. Join in the cooling fun or just stand by with the camera for some great entertainment. It’s a great alternative if you don’t have a swimming pool and may even be his favorite activity if you do!
- Go for a Picnic in the Park – You don’t have to worry about your pooch’s table manners if you pack your own lunch and you can even get in some play time. Dogs love to get out and smell new places, especially where there may be rabbits and squirrels hanging around.
- Take Him to the Drive-In – Drive-in theaters are few and far between these days; but if your dog enjoys watching TV with you, it may be worth the effort to find a big screen he can go along for. Some drive-ins are recognizing the increasing number of people who bring their dogs to the movies and are even providing “dog patches” for necessary bathroom breaks. Popcorn doesn’t make the best snack for dogs, especially for seniors, so you may want to take along some appropriate doggie treats for him to enjoy.
- Take a Road Trip – This is a great way to have fun in the summer with your old dog – if he does well with car rides. Some dogs are ready at the first jingle of the keys while others are homebodies who prefer to spend their time in their own beds. Check ahead for pet-friendly hotels and restaurants and plan your trip accordingly. Find out which hotels allow dogs in the pool area and dining areas and not just in the rooms. Don’t overdo. Just a weekend may be enough for your old dog. Take along his bed and some of his toys so he can enjoy new things without losing the comfort of what is familiar to him.
There are many ways to have fun in the summer with your old dog but all dogs are not the same. Know your dog’s temperamentand what he is and isn’t comfortable with. The idea is to find new ways to entertain him without pushing him too far.
Work outdoor activities around the hottest part of the day and avoid keeping your old dog out in the heat and direct sunlight. Even if temperatures are beginning to drop, your aging dog is more susceptible to heat than he used to be. Always have water available even if you have to carry it with you in a portable drinking dish. Maintain his diet and allow new treats only when you make sure they are appropriate for dogs and, particularly, for seniors.