School’s out, and kids are home. For parents of pets and kids, this can be quite the drastic shift from those quiet days at home with your dog during the school year!
A more rambunctious household can feel overwhelming, but more time at home together means more opportunities for quality time. Keep reading for some of our favorite tips for keeping your kids and your dog occupied and entertained during those long summer days.
Helping Your Dog Adjust to Summer Changes in Routine
For pet parents with children, summer routines can range from slow and leisurely to fast-paced and hectic. Perhaps everyone is home all day looking for ways to beat boredom; perhaps you’re constantly dropping off and picking up your kids from various summer activities.
Either way, your dog is going to deal with some significant changes to his regular schedule when school is out of session.
Dogs are creatures of habit—they love predictability. With kids and visitors coming in and out of your home throughout the summer, it’s important to maintain consistency whenever possible. Keep taking Fido for his daily walks and feeding him at his usual meal times, for example.
If your family’s summertime activities require changes in meal times, make this a gradual transition for your dog if possible. It’s better to feed him consistently earlier or later, rather than on an unpredictable, back-and-forth schedule.
For pups who are used to quiet days alone at home, a suddenly full household is sure to be an adjustment. Make sure Fido has a safe space for quality alone time when he needs a break from the chaos by giving him a spot in the house—a crate, or even his own room—that’s off-limits from disruptions.
If the summertime schedule changes are stressful for your dog, try Pet Honesty’s Premium Hemp Calming Chews. These vet-recommended chews are a gentle, non-sedating way to calm and soothe an anxious dog and make stressful situations more enjoyable.
Summer Activities for Dogs and Kids to Enjoy Together
With kids and a dog at home this summer, things may feel a bit more chaotic than usual. Keep your kids and your dog occupied and entertained with some of our favorite summer activities for the whole family.
Involve the Kids in Pet Care
Summer is a great time to get your kids more involved in caring for your dog. Teach them about Fido’s schedule, encouraging them to take part in the day-to-day tasks such as feeding and poop scooping.
If your kids are old enough, have them take Fido for his walks from time to time. Otherwise, encourage them to tag along and learn about leash training and picking up after the dog.
Of course, your kids can also give the family dog plenty of treats—just be sure to teach them about proper portion sizes!
Build a Backyard Agility Course
Get creative by looking for items you already have in your house or garage, such as pool noodles, hula hoops, and cardboard boxes. You can also make a trip to the hardware store for PVC pipes or planks of wood if you want a more intensive project.
Just be sure that everything is safe and secure before you send your dog (or kids) running and jumping through the new obstacle course.
Splash Around in the Sprinkler
Swimming is a classic summer activity, but who doesn’t love the simplicity of running through the sprinkler on a hot summer day?
You can also fill a kiddie pool for some low-key lounging, or have a fun squirt gun fight! We advise against water balloons, though, since you don’t want your dog swallowing any of those rubber pieces.
Teach Fido New Tricks
Assuming your dog already has a handle on basic commands, encourage your kids to spend time teaching him some newer, more elaborate tricks.
Maybe it’s as simple as teaching him to “roll over;” maybe they want to teach him how to jump through a hula hoop. Either way, dog training is a fun way to spend quality time together and build trust. Plus, the results can be rewarding!
Go on a Pet-Friendly Family Vacation
Nothing says “summer” like a fun family vacation—furry friends included! Just make sure to do plenty of planning and research before setting off on your adventure in order to ensure safe, happy travels.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of summer activities for dogs and children. You can also try a modified version of hide-and-seek, make healthy homemade dog treats, or create some dog-friendly crafts, for example. If you’re running low on ideas, talk to your kids! You never know what kind of creative ideas are hiding in the minds of children. Just make sure each activity is safe for everyone involved.