Keeping Cool: Summer Boredom Busters for Pets

As temperatures rise and the sun shines bright, pet owners face the challenge of keeping their four-legged friends entertained and cool during the scorching summer months. The warm weather brings opportunities for outdoor adventures, but also poses risks of heatstroke and dehydration for your fur-coat-wearing pet. Read on for some engaging summer boredom busters to keep your pet happy, healthy, and cool.

1: Build a backyard splash zone for your pet

Create a backyard oasis for your pet to beat the heat. First, choose a large, sturdy, shallow wading pool where your pet can comfortably wade and play, ensuring the pool has rounded edges to prevent accidental scratches or injuries. Place the pool in a shaded area to keep the water cooler for longer.

Fill the pool with clean, cool water, ensuring an appropriate, not too deep, water level for your pet’s size. Refresh the water as needed to keep the pool clean and free from debris, especially if you toss in treats.

Enhance the splash zone experience with a variety of floating toys and treats to entertain your pet. Choose toys that are designed specifically for water play, such as buoyant balls or floating rings. You can also toss in floating treats or freeze-dried snacks for an added incentive to explore the pool.

If your pet is not interested in wading or swimming, a sprinkler may be more their speed. Set up a standard lawn sprinkler or a children’s sprinkler and let your pet frolic in the spray.

2: Swim with your pet

Swimming can be a fantastic way for pets to cool off and exercise, but requires a safe and responsible approach. Here are some tips for swimming with your pet:

  • Introduce your pet to water gradually — Not all pets are natural swimmers, so introduce the water gradually, at your pet’s pace. Start with a shallow wading pool or calm, shallow body of water. Encourage positive associations with water by using treats and praise to reward calm and confident behavior.
  • Invest in a pet life jacket — Although your pet may be a strong swimmer, invest in a properly fitted pet life jacket for added safety. Choose a jacket with adjustable straps and a handle on the back for easy retrieval in case of emergencies.
  • Choose safe swimming locations — Select a swimming spot for your pet with calm waters, minimal currents, and no sharp rocks or debris. Avoid fast-moving rivers, strong waves, or steep drop-offs, which can put your pet at risk.
  • Supervise your pet at all times — Never leave your pet unattended while swimming, even if they’re wearing a life jacket. Watch them closely and be prepared to intervene if they seem fatigued or distressed.

3: Whip up a batch of frozen treats for your pet

Treat your pet to refreshing homemade frozen treats. For dogs, freeze low-sodium chicken or beef broth in ice cube trays or make peanut butter and yogurt concoctions in pet-friendly popsicle molds. Similarly, freeze small portions of meat-based baby food or canned tuna for your feline friend. Many pets also enjoy frozen fruits. Slice up pet-safe fruits (e.g., watermelon, strawberries, or bananas) and freeze them on a baking sheet for cool and tasty snacks. These treats are not only hydrating, but also provide essential vitamins and nutrients.

Do not share ice cream with your pet, as most pets are lactose-intolerant and will suffer gastrointestinal issues if they consume dairy products. Ice cream also tends to be high in fat and sugar content, which is not beneficial for any species.

4: Freeze toys for your pet

DIY frozen toys will keep your pet entertained and cool. Freeze pet-safe toys like rubber chew bones in a bowl of water, and then thaw them slightly for a cool playtime experience. Or, a rope toy soaked in water and frozen makes a refreshing chew toy.

You can also set up a frozen treasure hunt. Freeze your pet’s favorite toy or treats in a large block of ice—your pet will have a blast trying to dig them out. Use a plastic container or a bundt cake mold to create a block of ice with toys and treats frozen inside to mentally stimulate your pet and help them stay cool as they retrieve their treasures.

These fun summer boredom busters and cooling strategies can ensure that your pet stays safe, happy, and comfortable during the hottest months of the year. Whether indoors or out, these engaging activities will keep your furry friend entertained while beating the heat.

Is your pet ready for summer? Contact your AAHA-accredited veterinarian to schedule a wellness visit, update your pet’s vaccines and parasite preventives, or have them microchipped.



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