Green Activities for You and Your Dog to Do This Summer
If you love the planet, want to see it thrive, and want a faithful companion to enjoy it with you, get a dog. By adopting a pup, you can get outside and enjoy some green activities, many of which are in your town. Dogs don’t need long car rides or sit in an overly-heated house all day. They’re perfectly happy going outside to enjoy the fresh air and do things that don’t require burning fossil fuels or producing unnecessary waste.
Since summer is upon us, it’s the perfect time to get outside and enjoy some green activities that will keep you engaged and benefit the health of yourself, your pet, and the planet.
Take A Hike!
When you’re looking for a green activity that produces very little waste, and gives you and your pup the adventure of a lifetime, all you need to do is research local hiking trails. While you get to walk through the glory of nature and get some fresh air, your dog will have a blast sniffing all the plants, spotting wild animals and being by your side. Hiking trails will have various difficulty levels, so research ahead of time and ensure it won’t be too hard on your dog. If you know the path is easy for a while but has a steep difficulty curve, plan to turn around at that spot.
Even though you’re not burning electricity during your hike, you still need to make intelligent decisions along the way to keep your dedication to preserving the planet alive. So, bring baggies on the trip so you can pick up after your dog when they go to the bathroom. If you don’t, the rainwater could wash the excrement into lakes and rivers and cause contamination. Also, although your pooch may be excited to get off the beaten trail and explore, try to resist the urge to do so. This will eliminate the possibility of stepping on any endangered species.
Before you head out of the day, it’s necessary to prepare yourself and your pup for the trail and make the proper safety considerations. See how long the hike will take and bring enough food and water to keep yourself and your dog hydrated, and bring food for extra fuel on longer trails.
You’ll also want to prepare for the possibility of outdoor bugs. Dress appropriately in pants and long sleeves so the bugs can’t get you, and stick to the path so you don’t accidentally walk into an infested area. Also, look into environmentally friendly bug repellents, which avoid DEET in favor of natural ingredients like lemon eucalyptus. It’s okay to spray your dog with insect repellent, but read the label to ensure it’s safe and recommended for pets, so they don’t have a negative reaction.
Go on a bike ride
Like hikes and walks, bike rides are fun activities many dogs will jump into whole-hog. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your pup is in the right shape for this type of strenuous activity. Additionally, make sure to go in the early morning or late evening when it’s cool, as our furry friends can’t quite regulate heat in the same way we do and also might burn their paws on the hot concrete and asphalt.
If your dog isn’t able to run along side you as you ride along, or it’s too hot for them to do so on the hot pavement, consider taking them in a dog carrier. Smaller dogs can often ride in a front carrier or basket, while larger dogs can go in a pull behind trailer. Either way, being able to ride with your dog can be a fun, green adventure.
visit a local dog park
There’s an allure to driving far away to other states to try and find the perfect adventure for you and your dog, but if you drive a gas-powered vehicle, you’re using and burning fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions that pollute the environment. Plus, you’d need to pack belongings for you and your dog, which would weigh down your car and limit fuel efficiency, so you need to buy and burn even more gas.
This isn’t to say you should never take a road trip, but remember you and your dog can enjoy many green activities without leaving your city. Start by taking a walk to the local dog park where your pup can frolic and play to their heart’s content. Dogs can be awfully social and, while they may be content playing with you and only you for most of their lives, getting them to spend time with other dogs can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
If you’ve done that, then meet up with friends or search online for a meetup group of other pet owners and connect and have fun with them. Have you explored every park in your city? If not, you should. Every park offers its own charm, and there’s always something new, so you may even find something you’ll enjoy as well. Just remember to bring a doggy bag in case you need to pick up after your furry friend.
Go on a picnic
Some restaurants, bars and pubs offer outdoor, dog-friendly seating. However, if you and your dog prefer to pack your own food and sit in the park, a picnic is a fantastic option. Remember to pack dog-friendly foods. If you’re not sure whether it’s ok for your dog to eat, it’s worth looking it up just to be safe. Be sure to pack enough food for both you and your dog, but not so much that you overeat and become miserable.
Lastly, a picnic might be more manageable following a walk or other high-energy activity, after your dog is ready to wind down and rest a little bit.
GO TO THE BEACH
When the temperatures rise, another green adventure for you and your furry friend could be a trip to the local beach, as long as dogs are permitted. You can both play in the sand, run along the shore and do some light swimming. There’s nothing more refreshing than hopping into cool water on a hot day, especially if you’re completely covered in fur.
You also need to be safe when taking your dog to the beach. Be aware of the signs of heatstroke, which may include:
- Excessive panting
- Heavy drooling
- Sudden lethargy or incoordination.
If you notice these signs, get them out of the heat immediately and get them some water. Also, never allow your dog to eat sand because it can block their intestines and cause impaction.
Don’t live near a beach? Consider taking your dog swimming at a local lake, stream or river. Many dogs like to play in the water. If your dog is one of those, then taking them to a place where they can wade in the water, swim or just do a little exploring could make their day. Do your research ahead of time, however, to ensure there are no blue-green algae blooms or other potentially harmful conditions for you and your pet.
Some cities even offer dog-friendly pools, if you think that’s more of your dog’s speed. Worried about your dog’s safety? Get them a life jacket, so they can enjoy the water without you having to worry about their safety.
Take Your Dog Camping
What better time to enjoy the great outdoors then when it’s warm and sunny? Taking your dog camping is a great way to end a hike, day at the beach or even to tack on to the end of a picnic. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re camping in a dog-friendly site. You will also want to ensure you plan ahead so you have a crate and leash so your pup doesn’t wander off. You’ll need to bring sufficient food, water, a dog first aid kit, poop bags, toys and more.
If you’re not sure whether your dog would do well camping, consider doing a backyard camping adventure as a trial run. This way you can see how your dog does staying on leash, in the tent and more.
Do some dog training classes
Whether you’re dealing with a puppy or an older dog, there’s no better way to do obedience training than in a large, open, sunny space. While you may have heard the old adage about old dogs and new tricks, it’s not true; all dogs, young and old, have the ability to bond with their owners over training classes.
You can do a variety of classes including obedience training, agility training, socialization, behavior training and more. Whatever you feel your dog would benefit from, this is a green activity you can do together. You can also learn how to use positive reinforcement or relationship-based training to improve your relationship with your dog.
Create An Eco-Friendly Environment At Home
Even if you spend most of the summer playing with your dog in the backyard, it’s still necessary to have an eco-friendly home now and during the rest of the year. When you’re looking for toys to play with in the yard, try to play with toys made out of sustainable materials, like natural fibers. Doing so reduces the risk of hurting your dog with harmful chemicals or synthetic fibers. Also, if you throw non-sustainable toys away, they end up in a landfill. The toys then sit there and the chemicals can end up in the soil and water supply.
Think about what you feed your pet, too, and decide if a vegan diet will satisfy their appetite. Go to the pet food store and search for foods made with yeast and fungi because they’re rich in amino acids and other healthy nutrients that encourage positive tissue growth and boost immunity. Meat products require the slaughter of animals, and they’re often low quality for dogs and often contain a lot of salt and fat that can make your dog sick.
Dog-Friendly, GREEN Activities
Whether you’re visiting the great outdoors, enjoying the urban environment or facilitating an eco-friendly staycation, there are plenty of green activities you can do with your dog in the summer. Research local activities and fun groups in your town and make it a summer to remember.