There’s just something special about summer, isn’t there? From balmy nights spent outdoors to the rejuvenating long weekend vacations, summer has a laid-back, cool vibe that feels like freedom. Now that the season is upon us, it’s time to make the most of those carefree feels by planning adventures — of both the everyday and epic variety — for you and your furry bestie. There’s no better time to plan fun things to do with your dog.
Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with our Summer of Puppy Love, a summer camp-inspired itinerary of big adventures and fun, smaller outings that’ll keep you and your dog active and entertained all season long. Some ideas take little to no planning and can be enjoyed on a lazy afternoon, while others require a bit more preparation. Either way, trust that the bonding time between you and your dog is well worth any effort.
Keep reading for a complete summer calendar filled with fun things to do with your dog. And don’t forget to snap pics along the way!
Click the buttons to jump to each section:
8 Unique Adventures to Have with Your Dog This Summer
Make lasting summertime memories with these fun things to do with your dog that break up the typical routine in the best way possible. Whether you haven’t ventured out of your comfort zone with your pet just yet, or you’re used to planning excursions together but are looking for some new creative ideas, these unique experiences will bring you both closer.
Whether you’re a craft beer aficionado or the self-trained sommelier of your friend group, hitting up a brewery or winery during the summer is one of the best ways to spend some downtime with your dog. Both types of venues are generally dog-friendly—in fact, many produce dog-friendly brews or vintages just for their furry clientele! Just call ahead to confirm that your pup is welcome.
It’s a smart idea to find a shady spot to hang, if you’ll be spending time in the heat or outdoors. If you’ll be inside, take along a foldable cushion to serve as a designated place for your dog to rest instead of wandering around unsettled. (BTW, here’s how to train your dog to settle on a mat.) Pack a long-lasting treat such as a bully stick or a dental chew for a way to occupy your dog and allow them to release any pent-up energy or nerves—you may find noise, crowds or even other pets to be easy distractions for your dog, so this activity is for well-socialized pups only. (Find out more about dog socialization.)
Baseball games are a quintessential summer pastime, and many teams welcome dogs on special game days throughout their season. Check the schedule of your local major and minor league teams for bring-your-dog days. Then, kick back as you watch for foul balls— but, fair warning, your pup may think it’s the ultimate game of fetch! If you’ll be attending a daytime game, you and your dog might be exposed to bright sun and hot temperatures, so aim to find a seat with shade, take necessary breaks to cool off, and don’t forget the sunscreen (for you both).
You’ll also want to be mindful of everything that can be on the ground at the stadium—things like peanut shells, chip bags, spilled beer, all of which can be unhealthy for dogs to consume. Ahead of the game, it’s a good idea to brush up on your “leave it” training, and keep dog treats on hand as a distraction.
For a classic summertime activity that is fairly easy to experience with your dog, you can’t go wrong with a drive-in movie on a cool summer evening. Set yourself up for success by being sure to give your dog ample activity ahead of the show, so they’re ready to chill.
You’ll also want to bring along a blanket for inside or out of the car — folding the back seat down and creating a cozy corner for you both is a nice option if space and view of the big screen will allow. Food or chews and water are a must, too. Consider parking toward the back or side of the lot, so you can make swift exits for potty breaks or to stretch your legs as needed without disturbing others.
We’ve all seen influencers and their adorable dogs cruising the open water atop a kayak or stand-up paddle board. If your dog is comfortable around water, you could join their ranks! It takes some training, starting with getting your pup comfortable on your SUP or kayak inside, keeping them calm as you paddle, then staging a test run at your nearest body of water. But with patience and perseverence, your dog might just come to love floating across calm waters with you.
Again, remember that not all dogs will take to the water with the same enthusiasm as, say, most Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, a known water-lover. As with anything you do with your dog this summer, make sure it’s enjoyable for you both.
Spoiler: Just about every effortlessly cool “candid” picture you see on Instagram is, in fact, entirely planned. But, hey, a mini-photoshoot never hurt anyone—certainly not if it includes you and your dog in a picturesque field of flowers, no less! A quick Google search should lead you to a nearby farm or garden in bloom, whether it’s lavender, daisies, and sunflowers, which each bloom in parts of the summer season. (If there’s not one near you, you can always plan a road trip!)
Grab a tripod stand or selfie stick for your phone, head out with some water and treats, and consider a new bandana, harness, or leash for them. (Bonus points if it coordinates with your own warm-weather outfit.)
Seasonal summer produce is just as fleeting as summer’s warm temps. Make the most of the season by indulging in the freshest fruits and veggies available. Berry-picking is a lovely thing to do with your dog this summer—it’s a safe, fun way for you to spend some time outdoors together with the bonus of being able to take home some delicious fruit you both can enjoy. Most farms are dog-friendly; just make sure to call ahead to confirm.
So, what berries are safe for dogs? Lots of summer staples, including:
- Blueberries, a naturally sweet treat that’s loaded with antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that damage cells and can contribute to aging and disease risk
- Strawberries, which are high in immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin C, B1, B6 and K, and even contain an enzyme that can whiten their teeth
- Blackberries, a healthy treat that’s high in fiber and low in calories
As a friendly reminder, it’s best to wash all produce before consuming, and even the healthiest of foods should be given in moderation to your pet.
Whether you are an experienced runner or are eager to lace-up for your first fun run, signing up for a low-stakes, short-distance, dog-friendly 5K can be a great way to spend a weekend afternoon with your dog this summer.
Before you fork over the registration fee, it’s important to make sure your dog is physically able to walk, trot or even run this distance safely. Not all dogs are cut out for—or frankly, will even enjoy—that much exercise, so be sure to take into account your dog’s breed, age, or any physical limitations first. If you have a reactive dog who may struggle with all the distractions of a 5K, you may want to sit this one out, too. It’s a great idea to check in with your vet before you begin training.
Often, at the end of the summer season, waterparks and public pools open their doors to pet parents who want to bring their dogs for a fun outing. It offers a chance for pups who love to swim—or just splash around the water’s edge—to do so surrounded by other four-legged friends. What could be cuter than a summer pool day with dozens of dogs?
But before you get too excited, remember: Just because you want your dog to enjoy an activity, doesn’t mean they necessarily will. If you’re not sure whether your dog likes the water, try playing with them in a smaller, more controlled setting, like a kiddie pool in your backyard. Only plan a waterpark adventure if they’ve shown you they love to swim and splash. While at the waterpark, pay close attention to your dog’s body language and pull them from the park or pool if they seem agitated or stressed.
Easy Summer Activities With Your Dog
Looking for more everyday things to do with your dog this summer? Add these activities to your calendar for more unique chances to connect:
- Start 5K training with your pup: Planning that 5K? Begin to build your and your dog’s endurance with longer walks or jogs. Be sure to increase the distance or pace slowly and incrementally as to avoid injury to either of you. This training plan especially for dogs can be your guide.
- Plan doggy play dates with neighborhood pets: Play matchmaker by arranging playdates between your dog and nearby pups of a similar size, age and energy level, and who have similar play interests—i.e. does your dog want a running companion or a wrestling partner?
- Have a picnic in the backyard: Find a shaded area in your yard or nearby park for a weekend picnic with your pup. Bring dog food or treats, water and their favorite frozen Kong for a long-lasting enrichment experience that will cool them off (and keep them out of your food).
- Play bobbing for toys in a kiddie pool: Dog water toys, such as these floating skipping stones, make for a fun backyard game in the summer. Just take an empty kiddie pool and toss a few training treats in the middle to get your pup used to being in it. Add water and some toys and see your pup enjoy the cooldown.
- Take a drive with the windows down: When the stress of the day gets to you and your dog can sense it, grab your keys and head out for a drive. Strap them into their dog car seat, crack the windows, and let them sniff the warm summer air as you cruise. Pretty soon you’ll both feel better.
- Chill outside on a cooling mat: When temperatures rise, a great way to cool down your pup while outdoors is with a cooling mat. Use it as a way to train your dog to settle on a mat with the added bonus of (literally) chilling out together.
- Set up an obstacle course in your backyard: Turn your dog’s activity needs into a game and a training session by building a makeshift obstacle course in your backyard. You can use items you have lying around the house, such as cardboard boxes or hula hoops, or stock up on agility equipment made for exactly this!
- Play in the sprinkler in your backyard: Set up a kid-friendly sprinkler (aka the kind made for summer fun, not to water your lawn) in the yard, and watch your dog go nuts. Have a dog who loves to bite at water? Just be sure they aren’t gulping down water too fast, as that could upset their stomach.
- Enjoy an ice cream outing together: Going out for ice cream is a must during summer heat waves. While there’s some delicious, dog-friendly ice cream available that you can bring for your dog to munch on while you enjoy your cone, you can also make your own icy treat by freezing plain yogurt and blueberries (maybe those you picked earlier).