Best summer activities for you and your dog

Summer is a great time to take your dog swimming.We're not the only ones who look forward to the fresh air, sunshine and recreational activities that summertime brings. Our dogs love getting out and enjoying the great outdoors as well. Including them in our family's outdoor fun can be enjoyable and rewarding for all. So the next time you're planning that special summer outing, be sure to include Fido in your agenda. You'll both be glad you did!

Backyard Swimming - I'm lucky enough to live in the Southwest where temperatures make outdoor swimming possible for at least six months of the year. Even with that, my dogs and I can't wait until the sun's rays warm up the pool enough to jump in and have some summertime fun. I have a pug that is sensitive to the brutal desert heat, so for her, taking a dip is one of her favorite all-time activities. We race each other back and forth across the length of the pool, and even with her life jacket on, she wins the races as often as I do!

A Trip to the Park - Even though I spend a lot of outdoor time with my dogs in our backyard, they love getting out and exploring new territory. My husband and I take our dogs to a different park each time so it's a new experience for us as well as our dogs. Occasionally, we will even take them to a fenced in, off-leash dog park where they can run and play freely without the constraints of a leash. They absolutely love the freedom, and it provides them with a ton of healthy exercise.

Day Hiking - My family has always been into hiking, and bringing along the dogs is a great way to make the trip more enjoyable. They even have their own backpacks so they can share the load by carrying their own dish, water, and sunscreen!

Weekend Camping - We love to camp, and I wouldn't dream of leaving my dogs at home with a sitter while we are out enjoying the wilderness. Our tent is plenty big for the whole family, and our dogs help keep watch against unwelcome critters like skunks and raccoons in our campsite.

A Day at the Beach - We live close to several beaches, so summertime for us means lots of sun and sand. Luckily, we have a few dog-friendly beaches nearby where we can all go to enjoy a day in the surf. My dogs love running along the water's edge and get a lot of great exercise chasing the waves.

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