It’s the middle of summer, and it feels like we’re melting when we go outside! Humans can find relief from blistering temperatures with a dip in the apartment pool, but your dog may not appreciate the heat and humidity at all. When it’s already too hot to take a walk by 7:30 am, keep Fluffy entertained and get some exercise indoors! Our guide to indoor summer fun will make your dog happy that it’s too hot to go out.
There are lots of fun ways to keep your dog busy inside your apartment. Play a game of Hidden Treasure by hiding some of your dog’s favorite goodies under a pillow, in her bed, or under your own bed, and tell Fluffy to “find it”. Dogs also love playing Hide and Seek – hide from your dog and call her, making her look for you. Make sure to have her favorite treat ready when she finds you, and show her how happy you are when she does.
Indoor days provide a great time to brush up on obedience skills. Practice telling your dog to sit and stay by asking Fluffy to wait while you go into another room. Return with a treat to reward her. Or try some indoor agility training! Collect a few pillows, a shoebox, maybe a stack of books (be creative with your obstacles for extra challenge and fun) to create an obstacle course in your living room and teach your dog to move around, over, under, or through your “obstacles” for a treat.
When it’s time for a break from fitness, offer Fluffy a food puzzle to keep her busy and engaged. Kong toys are tough rubber with an empty middle where you can hide treats so that your dog has to work to get the goodies out. Try stuffing them with pumpkin or peanut butter and freezing the Kong to give Fluffy a long-lasting treat that is perfect for a hot day.
Treat puzzles make your dog learn how to open compartments to find a treat. Check out some of the best interactive dog toys of the moment at This Dog’s Life. You can even create your own food puzzles! Collect your old worn-out tennis balls and a muffin tin. Place treats in the muffin cups, and put tennis balls in some of the cups so that your dog has to take out the ball to find the treat. Not only do puzzles keep Fluffy busy, but they also help improve her problem-solving skills.
Canine Ice Cream
Humans love ice cream in the summer and so can dogs, so experiment with some flavors just for Fluffy! Regular ice cream often contains ingredients that can be harmful to our pets, but you can make dog-safe ice cream in just ten minutes right in your Charlottesville apartment!
Try freezing your ice cream in an ice tray to provide quick, individual serving sizes for your dog. Try all four fun flavors!
The following recipes are tasty enough for humans and make 12 servings; adjust the quantities below to suit your personal tastes.
Pumpkin Peanut Butter
• 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
• 2 tbsp peanut butter (no sugar added)
• 2 tbsp honey
• 1 32-ounce container of plain yogurt
1. Use a large mixing bowl; add pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and honey. Whisk ingredients until smoothly textured. Melt the peanut butter first to keep it from being too sticky!
2. Fold in yogurt.
3. Place in the freezer to chill for two hours.
• Plain yogurt
• Pureed sweet potato
• Peanut butter
1. Place ingredients in a food processor or whisk all ingredients together.
2. Chill in the freezer for two hours or until ready to serve.
Some dogs may have difficulty digesting yogurt. Banana blueberry ice cream includes only two ingredients for sensitive tummies.
• 2 bananas
• 1/2 cup blueberries
1. Peel, slice, and freeze the bananas.
2. Once the bananas are frozen, process with the blueberries in a blender or food processor until the mixture is creamy like ice cream.
3. Serve immediately as a yummy soft serve, or chill in the freezer to allow the ice cream to harden.
Recipes originally appeared in the AMLI blog.