6 Outdoor Activity Ideas for Pets

By Animal Planet

A breath of fresh air can do wonders for both you and your pet. Outdoor activities not only provide exercise and mental stimulation, but also help curb bad behaviors by giving your furry friend a chance to release excess energy. So set aside the remote, step outside with your pet, and have some fun al fresco style – we’ve got plenty of ideas to get you started!

Organize a Play Date
Play dates are a great way for dogs to keep their socialization skills sharp. Find a dog park in your area to meet and greet with other pups, or if you have your own fenced-in yard, invite friends or family members over with their pets for an afternoon of backyard fun. Make sure to have plenty of water on hand, along with bags to clean up after any messes, and keep a close eye on the group to make sure everyone plays nice. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Ning can also be a great resource for finding a doggie meet-up in your area, even ones based on specific breeds.

Get Active With an Activity
Whether it’s in your own back yard or at a local dog park, you can up the outdoor ante with a game of Frisbee or fetch. Most dogs love to hunt and retrieve, and you can also use these types of games for training opportunities as well. If you don’t have access to a confined space, consider biking with your pup. There are a number of leashes made specifically to attach safely to a bicycle – never try this by holding the leash in your hands while steering, as this practice is an accident waiting to happen. Start slowly and teach your dog to keep pace with a steady trot, and build up the distance gradually as well. You can also search for canine biking classes in your area.

Take a Hike
Even if you take your dog on regular walks in your neighborhood, hitting the hiking trail can provide a challenging, refreshing change of scenery. You can vary between a leisurely or more intense pace and even mix up the length of your outings, from short stints to an all-day excursion. Before you head out, make sure your pup has adequate protection from ticks and fleas, pack enough water for both of you, and don’t forget a collapsible bowl and a few treats for your pup. Need tips on tracking down a trail? Check out Hike With Your Dog for the most dog-friendly locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Visit an Outdoor Café
Pet-friendly dining is becoming more and more popular with establishments that offer outdoor seating, from coffeehouses to full-fledged restaurants. If you have a well-behaved pooch, it can be a great opportunity to relax and bond. Make sure your dog relieves itself before settling in, and keep extra bags on hand just in case. Keep your pup out of the way of other diners and the wait staff, and attach the lease to your chair, not the table – your weight makes a much better anchor than plates can provide. Speaking of plates, feeding your pooch from your own is a big no-no – keep treats on hand instead. Dog Friendly provides a list of restaurants across the U.S. that welcome four-legged friends, but it’s always a good idea to call ahead first and double check.

Test the Waters
Water sports can be a great way to cool off your pup on a hot day. Though many dogs are natural swimmers, getting a Coast Guard-approved pet life preserver is worth the investment to play it safe, whether you’re in your own pool or a nearby lake or stream. There are a number of waterproof, buoyant toys available as well that can make splish-splash time even more enjoyable. If you live near a beach and you’re an experienced surfer, why not take your dog along for the ride? Make sure your pup is comfortable in not just calm waters but waves as well, and consider a foam surfboard for starters, as this will provide an adequate amount of standing room and grip. Also consider taking your furry friend along for a canoe or kayak ride, but make sure you’re both outfitted in the necessary safety gear.

Here, Kitty Kitty
Contrary to popular belief, outdoor fun isn’t just for dogs. With the right preparation, cats can get in on the action, too, even if you have a cat that primarily spends time indoors. If you have a yard with a high fence, you can take your kitty out for some supervised exploring. Also, fence-type, portable kennels made for dogs work just as well for cats, and many offer adjustable shelves and ramps to enhance playtime. While most cats don’t take to a leash naturally, some will with a bit of training, or you can explore the stroller option, which gives kitty a moving but safe view of outside sights and sounds.

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Roney W.
Past Member 4 years ago

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Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ

Good ideas,thanks for sharing

Joy Jin
Joy Jin7 years ago

Love taking hikes and having picnics with my doggie. :)

Monique D.
Mon D7 years ago

Thanks for the ideas

Magdalena K.
Past Member 7 years ago


KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B7 years ago

Noted with thanks.

heather g.
heather g7 years ago

Where I live in the Wild West, many people are thoughtless about the treatment of their pets. Dogs will do virtually anything for their owners - but why do their owners not carry water when they take them biking for 2 hours? They would also suffer less harm if they were kept on leashes - long or not.
Then there's the business of leaving dogs in overheated vehicles, no window sunscreens and sometimes no open windows. I despair ..........

Laura S.
Laura S7 years ago

My cats have a window that looks directly out on a small grove of large trees. The sill is large enough for two to sit or lie comfortably. When I open the window, nothing separates them from the outdoors but the screen. They watch the birds, and the family of red squirrels that run rampant over the tree limbs and rooftops, for hours on end.

That's as close to the outdoors as they need to get. They don't need to encounter the stray cats that live in the neighborhood, or the skunk that tries to get into my compost bin. They don't need to come home with fleas and ticks and thistle burs stuck n their fur. And I certainly don't want to find any birds, or bunnies, or the red squirrels (or assorted parts thereof) on my front steps. They can content themselves with any intruders that find their way past the perimeter.

Caitlin A.
Caitlin A7 years ago

cats scare easily and can get over a fence as fast as you can go in and out doors. does no matter the height. they have special tops for fences to keep your cat in the yard, but i have seen cats get over them too. best thing is to keep your can inside or cage like object if you insist on bringing your cat out. ive seen cats open cages too so when in doubt, secure like there is no tomorrow.they have those kitty walk systems, tunnels made from netting for you cat, supervise your cat. cats are smart, quick, and can easily get killed. i let my cats on my back porch when the weather is nice. they are fine with that.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener7 years ago

Love the fact that animals are an integral part of human life here on care2! Keep it up!