Beat the Heat: Summer Activities for Dogs

brindle foster dog with tongue out in Virginia Beach

Labradoodle at Waverly Park in PortsmouthHighlights

  • Summertime is an ideal time to dive into new activities with your dog, which is good for their physical health and promotes overall well-being.
  • When warm weather invites us outside, picnics in the park and strolls through nature serve as a great way to strengthen your bond with your furry companion.
  • For fun in the water, dog-friendly beaches and shallow pools offer an excellent spot for your pet to cool off while having loads of splashing fun.
  • On hotter days when staying indoors seems best, setting up agility courses inside or treasure hunts can keep your dog amused. Don’t forget about frozen dog treats that can help beat the heat!
  • Exploring trails in nature together or joining sessions where you do yoga alongside your pooch—and even arranging meet-ups with other pets—provides another great way to ensure your dog gets enough social interaction and exercise during summertime.


Summer is the ideal season to dive into outdoor activities with your dog. Whether it’s hitting the beach or going on a doggy treasure hunt, there are so many ways to enjoy your dog’s company and keep them moving. In warm weather, making sure your furry pal stays cool and hydrated becomes crucial. Ensuring they have plenty of water while engaging in fun things, you can fully embrace summer while looking after your dog’s health. Let’s take a look at some great summer activities that will make these months unforgettable for both you and your canine friend!

Summer Fun: Top Activities for Dogs

During the summer, make the most of the sunny days! Starting off with walks in the early morning or in the later evening can help avoid the hottest weather. For a bit of adventure, why not check out some beaches that welcome dogs for a good splash around? Engaging in water games enhances bonding between you and you dog. If staying close to home sounds better, setting up a small backyard kiddie pool just for your pup could be plenty of excitement. Exploring nature trails together is another great way to spend quality time.

Indoor activities like agility courses or creating an indoor doggy treasure hunt can keep your dog’s tail wagging. Treating your dog to some frozen dog treats will also help keep them cool and happy.  For something different and relaxing, attending a doggy yoga session might be fit the bill. Organizing indoor or outdoor playdates in shady areas is also fantastic options for socialization and fun times all round.

Read on for our tips about diving into summer activities; from friendly beaches where your dog can splash around to enjoying special dog treats under the sun – it’s all about making unforgettable memories with your four-legged friend.

Australian Cattle Dog at Brigadoon Pines Park in Virginia Beach dog training1. Early Morning or Late Evening Walks

Walking early in the morning or later at night is a great way to beat the summer heat. During these times, it’s cooler, which means there’s less risk of your dog overheating. It’s not just about escaping the hot sun; this timing also protects your dog’s paws from getting too hot on the pavement. Plus, taking walks when it’s cool outside makes for a comfortable and enjoyable time for both of you. In addition, mornings are especially good because dogs get to use their strong sense of smell more actively as they explore new scents, making each walk an adventure filled with discovery.

2. Visit Dog-Friendly Beaches

At dog-friendly beaches, your furry buddy can really enjoy the summer warmth. Swimming and running along the beach provides a lot of good exercise. Remember to bring a life jacket for their safety and make sure there’s always fresh water around for your dog to drink. These places are awesome because they help dogs use all their senses and get better at making new friends, which is great for their social skills. Spending time in the water with your pup is a fantastic way to bond. Introduce them to other dogs (safely!) so they can make new friends, let them splash, and soak up the nice warm weather together.

Dog-friendly Beaches in Virginia Beach

  1. First Landing State Park: Dogs are allowed on the beach and trails but must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet.
  2. Virginia Beach Public Beaches: Dogs are permitted on the beaches before 10:00 AM and after 6:00 PM from Memorial Day to Labor Day. During the off-season, dogs are allowed on the beach at all times but must be leashed.
  3. Cape Henry Beach: A quieter option where dogs are allowed, especially popular during the off-season.

Dog-friendly Parks in Chesapeake

  1. Chesapeake Arboretum: Not a beach, but there are shaded walking trails through the woods and open areas where leashed dogs are welcome.
  2. Oak Grove Lake Park: Offers a nice lakeside experience where dogs on leashes can enjoy the water views and trails.

Dog-friendly Spots in Norfolk

  1. Ocean View Beach Park: Dogs are allowed on the beach during the off-season (from Labor Day to Memorial Day) but must be on a leash.
  2. Community Beach Park: Similar rules apply here as Ocean View Beach Park, where dogs are allowed during the off-season and must be leashed.
  3. Norfolk Botanical Garden: Has special Dog Days events where you can bring your pet to enjoy the grounds and occasional “Barks & Brews” events.

Try planning outings for early mornings or evenings when it’s not quite as hot outside. Since dogs can get overheated pretty easily, this can help to ensure your pet has a good time safely. Also, always remember to keep your dog on a leash and clean up after them to keep parks and beaches enjoyable for everyone. Additionally, check local ordinances and specific beach rules, as they can change.

3. Set Up a Puppy Pool

Setting up a kiddie pool for your puppy is an awesome idea to help them stay cool when it’s really hot outside. Puppies love playing in cool water, and this kind of pool is just right for letting your pup have some fun while cooling down. To make things even more fun, you can throw in their favorite toys or some treats they can go after. While your furry buddy enjoys the water, keep an eye on them to make sure they’re safe and avoid any accidents. It’s not only enjoyable but also a way for you and your dog to spend quality time together during those warm summer days.

4. Try Indoor Agility Courses

When the summer heat makes it too hot to play outside, setting up a DIY agility course inside can be a great way to keep your pooch active and happy. By using things you’ve got around the house, like chairs for them to weave through and broomsticks they can jump over, you’re not just giving them a good physical workout; you’re also helping their mind stay sharp. Teaching your dog how to tackle different obstacles improves their coordination and agility skills big time. Plus, working on these courses together doesn’t just make your dog more confident and obedient—it’s also an awesome way for both of you to strengthen your bond as they have fun figuring out each new challenge. Agility training is perfect for letting dogs use up all that energy in a smart way indoors.

Freak On A Leash offers a variety of fun classes for you and your dog in an air conditioned facility, including agility. Check out our classes here.

5. Create a Doggy Treasure Hunt

Make your dog super happy with a cool treasure hunt that’s both fun and gets them thinking. By using their amazing sense of smell, you can hide snacks in your yard or at a familiar park near by. This game is great for getting your dog to move around and think as they search for their treats. It’s also a fantastic way to spend quality time together and tap into your dog’s natural hunting skills. To spice things up, throw in some of their beloved toys or set up hints for them to follow. A treasure hunt like this is just perfect for keeping your four-legged buddy busy and happy during summer days.

6. Enjoy Frozen Dog Treats Together

During the summer heat, there’s nothing like frozen dog treats to cool down your furry friend. Dogs just love these icy snacks, and they’re super simple to make right in your kitchen. With some peanut butter or a handful of fresh fruit, you can create these treats easily. Just pour them into ice cube trays or any mold you have and pop them in the freezer. These treats are perfect for keeping the heat at bay while giving your pet something fun and tasty to enjoy. Plus, sharing these chilly delights with your dog is a great way to strengthen your bond.

Or if you prefer, find some yummy frozen treats near you:

Virginia Beach

  1. Salty Paws: This dog-friendly ice cream shop offers a variety of frozen treats specially made for dogs.
  2. Bruster’s Real Ice Cream: They have dog-friendly ice cream options and will often provide a free doggie sundae with a dog bone treat.
  3. Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant: Known to offer dog-friendly frozen treats on their patio.


  1. Dairy Queen: Many locations, including the one in Chesapeake, offer “Pup Cups,” which are small portions of vanilla ice cream topped with a dog biscuit.
  2. Pelican’s SnoBalls: Certain locations offer dog-friendly snoballs, a shaved ice treat that your furry friend will love.
  3. Kookie’s: This ice-cream shop is dog friendly and serves pupcakes.


  1. Doumar’s Cones and BBQ: A historic spot that offers dog-friendly ice cream treats.
  2. Hank’s Filling Station: Offers dog-friendly options, including frozen treats for your pup, especially on their outdoor patio.
  3. Gangsta Dog: Offers a variety of homemade dog treats and doggy ice cream.

brindle foster dog with tongue out in Virginia Beach7. Explore Nature Trails

Going on nature walks with your dog is a great way to get some exercise and keep their minds active. With all the novel things your dog will see, hear, and smell, it’s like an adventure for their senses. Their sharp sense of smell gets a workout as they investigate new scents, which also provides a physical workout. On top of that, some of these trails can be safe places where your pooch can wander without a leash, giving them a feeling of freedom and excitement. It’s an excellent chance to make your bond with your canine buddy even stronger.

Check out parks near you that offer shaded areas and trails perfect for walks with your dog.

Shaded Parks in Virginia Beach

  1. First Landing State Park: Features more than 19 miles of shaded trails through coastal environments, great for walks with your dog.
  2. Bayville Farms Park: Offers shaded areas and trails, making it a great spot for a relaxing walk with your dog.
  3. Red Wing Park: Offers shaded trails and a beautiful garden area, perfect for a relaxing, shady walk.

Shaded Parks in Chesapeake

  1. Oak Grove Lake Park: Offers a shaded 1.5-mile trail around the lake, excellent for a comfortable walk with your dog.
  2. Chesapeake Arboretum: Features over three miles of shaded trails through a 48-acre wooded environment.
  3. Northwest River Park: Provides various shaded trails and areas, making it a cool place for a long walk.

Parks with Shade in Norfolk

  1. Norfolk Botanical Garden: Although known for its gardens, there are shaded walking areas accessible during their Dog Days events.
  2. Lafayette Park: Offers ample shade and paths for a comfortable walk amid trees and greenery.
  3. Elmwood Park: Known for its large, old trees providing lots of shade, making it a great spot for a shaded walk.

Remember to bring water for both you and your dog, especially on warmer days!

9. Experiment with Water Games

Looking for a fun way to keep your dog cool this summer? Try out some water games! Many dogs love to play in the water, especially when it’s hot outside. With a kiddie pool or sprinkler set up in your backyard, you can have lots of interactive fun together. Throw a ball for them to fetch in the water or just let them splash around and enjoy themselves. Just remember, always watch over them closely and take all necessary safety steps to ensure they’re having a good time safely. We also love Splash Pads for our dogs in the summer, you can find a variety of options on Amazon.

Keeping Your Dog Cool and Safe

Picking the right time for activities and always making sure your dog has access to fresh water is key to safe summer fun. It’s important to watch out for signs that your dog might be getting too hot, which could lead to heat stroke. Always have a first aid kit ready and put a life jacket on your dog if you’re going near water. Remembering heat safety is super important during summer days so you and your best friend can engage in outdoor activities without any worries. By being careful, both of you will stay safe while enjoying summer days.

Ensure Constant Access to Fresh Water

In the summer, it can be easy for dogs to get dehydrated, especially when it’s super hot outside. Making sure your dog always has access to fresh water is critical. When you’re hanging out outdoors with your pup, always bring along a portable bowl and some fresh water. It’s good practice to offer them water often, particularly if you have been running around or playing hard. Dogs don’t cool down as easily as we do and can get overheated easily; they need panting and lots of hydration help stay at a comfy temperature.

Without enough water, dogs can face some big health problems like heat stroke. Heat stroke is no joke—it happens when a dog gets way too hot and their body temperature shoots up dangerously high. If your dog starts panting like crazy, drooling more than usual or seems really tired all of sudden or even collapses—that might mean heat stroke. In situations like this time matters—a lot! You should quickly move them somewhere cooler where there’s shade, provide plenty of water for drinking, and gently wet their fur using cool (make sure it’s not cold) water while getting on the phone with your vet right away for what steps to take next.

Recognize Signs of Overheating

It’s important for dog owners to recognize the signs of overheating in their furry friends. Dogs are more prone to heat stroke than humans, as they are unable to sweat through their skin and can only cool themselves by panting.

Here are some common signs that your dog may be overheated:

Signs of Overheating

– Excessive panting

– Lethargy or weakness

– Excessive thirst

– Loss of appetite

– Bright red tongue or gums

– Vomiting or diarrhea

– Collapse or seizures

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is crucial to take immediate action to cool your dog down. Move your dog to a shaded area, offer them cool (not cold) water to drink, and wet their fur with cool water. Applying a cold compress to their paws and the back of their neck can also help. It’s important to avoid using ice or extremely cold water, as this can cause a sudden drop in body temperature.

If your dog’s condition worsens or if you’re unsure about how to handle the situation, contact your veterinarian for further guidance. It’s also a good idea to have a first aid kit specifically for your dog on hand, which should include items such as a rectal thermometer, hydrogen peroxide (for inducing vomiting if instructed by a veterinarian), and contact information for your vet.


During the summer, it’s all about having a great time, and that includes your pets too! Take your dog out for some fun activities such as trips to the beach, walks on nature trails, or even doggy yoga classes. To keep your dog safe in the heat, make sure they have plenty of water to drink and watch out for signs of overheating. It can be best to plan outings when it’s not so hot outside, such as mornings or evenings. If you’re wondering whether there are any special sunscreens for dogs or how much water they should be drinking during these months, our FAQ section has you covered. By following these tips, you can ensure your furry friend enjoys their summer safely while staying happy and healthy!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Exercise My Dog in Hot Weather Without Going Outside?

When it’s really hot outside, finding ways to keep your dog active indoors is a great idea so they don’t get too hot. You can make an agility course inside using pillows for them to jump over and blankets you can shape into tunnels. This is not only fun, it also keeps their mind and body working without getting overheated. For another cool activity, try making DIY puzzle toys like filling a Kong toy with peanut butter or freezing some beef or chicken broth inside it. This will definitely keep your furry friend busy and happy.

What Are Some Signs That My Dog Is Overheated?

If you see your dog panting a lot, acting really tired or weak, drinking more water than usual, not wanting to eat, having a very red tongue or gums, throwing up or having diarrhea, and even collapsing or getting seizures, it means they might be too hot. When this happens, you should quickly help them cool off and call your vet right away for advice on what to do next.

Are There Any Dog-Specific Sunscreens?

Indeed, you can find sunscreens made just for dogs. These products are created with our canine pals in mind, ensuring they’re safe to use on them. Before slathering any sunscreen on your dog, it’s wise to have a chat with your vet though. They’ll point you towards the right product tailored for your dog’s unique requirements.

How Often Should I Give My Dog Water During Summer Activities?

During summer activities, it’s crucial to make sure your dog stays hydrated. With the summer heat turning up, always offer your dog fresh water, particularly on those super hot days or when they’re getting their exercise in. To keep dehydration at bay and ensure they’re feeling good despite the warmth, dogs need to have water available at all times.

Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream or Other Human Frozen Treats?

Even though you might want to give your dog some of your ice cream or other cold snacks, it’s best to think twice. A lot of the frozen stuff we enjoy contains ingredients that aren’t good for dogs, like chocolate or artificial sweeteners. So instead of sharing yours, why not go for treats made just for dogs? You can even make them yourself with safe ingredients like peanut butter and fruit.

What Are the Best Times of Day for Outdoor Activities with My Dog in the Summer?

During the summer, if you’re planning to spend some time outside with your dog, try doing it early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s quite not as hot. This way, you avoid overheating and ensure both of you have a good time. Always keep an eye on how warm it is and change your plans if needed to stay cool during outdoor activities.

How Can I Make Homemade Frozen Dog Treats?

Whipping up some frozen dog treats at home is both simple and enjoyable, a perfect way to help your furry friend stay cool and amused when it’s hot out. By freezing just plain water or getting creative with stuff like peanut butter, yogurt, or various fruits in an ice cube tray, you can make something special for them. With loads of recipes out there on the internet that guide you through each step, making tasty frozen goodies for your dog is super easy.

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