Hot Weather Activities for Dogs

by Ragtimelil

How to have fun with your dog in the heat of the summer, safely. Here are some ideas for games and activities that you both can enjoy while keeping as cool as possible.

The hot summer months can be a hard time to find things to do with your dog. It's hot and muggy in my part of Texas this time of year. Still, my dogs and I need some fun and exercise. I've had to be a bit creative to give them some fun time without causing distress from the heat.
Some dogs overheat easily and can suffer heat prostration. One of the best things to do even before that happens is to get your dog into water.
I exercise my dogs in the morning by playing frisbee with them. We're right on the lake so when my young dog gets hot and tired, he jumps in.

Dog Pools

Wading Pool for Dogs

Many dogs love a wading pool. They can splash and lie in the cool water. Even if they just get their feet wet, it will help them to cool down. Once in a while we get to visit a friend with sheep and the dogs get to practice herding. We always have a wading pool handy so they can cool off. Children's wading pools are readily available in early summer. A small livestock water trough works well too and will last a lot longer.

Lakes and Streams

 Swimming is a great activity especially for the older dogs who may have some arthritis in their joints. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not instinctively know how to swim. They may splash around but they use all their energy trying to stay above the water. They have to learn how to stretch out and swim forward.  If you can go in with them, you can encourage them to move a short distance to you.

Another method is to play with them and throw something for them to retrieve. Hunting dogs are trained to retrieve using a rubber log-like article called a bumper that floats in water. They come in a few colors but the dark and orange ones are hard for a dog to see. Young dogs are given white bumpers so that they can spot it in the water or on land.
I don't recommend throwing it too far at first. You might be the one retrieving it if the dog isn't too sure about swimming. Just throw it a bit beyond where the dog can touch the bottom. As he becomes more confident, he'll start to actually swim out for the bumper.
Safety tip: Only put a single cord, a short length knotted at both ends through the hole for throwing. A loop can get caught on something. The dog should not be wearing a collar either if at all possible especially if the dog likes to dive under water.

Games and Tricks

I do a game of frisbee with my dogs in the morning and a sedate walk in the cooler evening, but sometimes my dogs want to do more. We do some simple trick training indoors in the air conditioning. The old dog has some arthritis so he does mostly nose work. I hide some treats around the room and he gets to sniff them out. He loves the game. The younger dog has learned to sit up, play dead, roll over, weave between my legs, jump into my arms and is working on covering his eyes and crossing his paws. He thinks this is a great fun.
If you take a look on YouTube, there are dozens of videos on teaching your dog tricks.

Dog Clubs

If you look around, you might find some dog club activities nearby that you and your dog might enjoy, and they just might be in an air conditioned room. Many people enjoy agility, flyball or obedience with their dogs. Now there is a fairly new competition called Rally Obedience that is not as rigid as formal obedience. 


Wet towels or wet-down coats can come in handy if there are no pools or lakes available. I have an article on how to make your own out of old towels here.


MossSummer is a great time to get out there and enjoy the outdoors, but do keep an eye on your canine friend. And always remember to take some drinking water too.


Updated: 07/19/2013, Ragtimelil
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What do you do with your dog in the summer?

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Ragtimelil on 07/22/2013

Thank you. My old dog doesn't care for wading pools either. He will grudgingly step his feet in it but that's it. All my other dogs have loved to lie in cool water. He does better if we go to the lake and I throw something for him to fetch. He'll actually wade in and get wet.
I have heard of frozen treats and there are recipes out there for making them.

VictoriaLynn on 07/22/2013

We stay inside, mostly, unless we get a cool break where we can take a walk. Weird, but my little guy does NOT like water. I bought a little pool for him at a garage sale, but he won't use it. Oh, silly dog. Great article, though! I'm thinking about trying those frozen treats I can make for him. Heard of those? :-)

Ragtimelil on 07/20/2013

You are absolutely right. I did forget to mention that. I've used this trick when we are somewhere where the dogs are in their crates too. It can shade and cool at the same time. Thanks for reminding me.
Another thing I try to always do when driving a van or similar vehicle to a dog activity is to carry dog crates, park in the shade, open all the doors and the dogs can hang out in their crates safely. Sometimes there's even a great breeze.

Ragtimelil on 07/20/2013

@Dustytoes, those troughs are great. They are the perfect size and don't get holes in them. Some dogs like to "dig" in the water and their nails would destroy a thin pool.

Ragtimelil on 07/20/2013

@WriterArtist, yeah, dogs that hate baths sometimes love wading and splashing. Go figure -

dustytoes on 07/20/2013

I like that large animal watering trough as a pool. I don't have a dog, but these are "cool" tips for dog owners. I used to walk my neighbor's lab who loved to go for a swim.

WriterArtist on 07/19/2013

I remember my pet dog hating bathing time but the wading pool is worth trying.

Ragtimelil on 07/19/2013

If they don't like it, you can turn it into a flower bed - lol.

Lilysnape on 07/19/2013

Stay indoors more, play with toys inside but I like the idea of paddling pool, worth a try

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