Playtime is an essential part of your dog's daily routine. Regular exercise helps your dog manage their weight, cardio health and keeps their joints and muscles strong. The exact amount of exercise your dog needs depends on a few factors — including their age, breed and overall health — but a good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 30 minutes of intentional physical activity each day. Worried about your dog getting dirty, cold or wet during outdoor playtime? DIY dog clothes will keep your pet comfortable and mess-free.
For a happy dog, incorporate a balance of indoor and outdoor playtime. Indoor play is great for keeping your dog busy and distracted throughout the day, while outdoor play is ideal for letting your dog soak up the sunshine and fresh air without space restrictions. As the weather gets warmer, here are a few outdoor dog toys that your dog will enjoy.
Balls and Ball Launchers
Fetch is a playtime classic and a great way for you to stay active alongside your pet. Depending on what your dog enjoys, choose one or more of the following:
- Tennis balls: Tennis balls are ideal for fetch due to their durability, bounciness and size. Their bright colors also make tennis balls easy to spot in your yard when playtime is over.
- Footballs: If your dog seems bored with his current fetch toy, a dog football may be just the thing he needs. Thanks to its unique shape and size, your dog will enjoy the challenge of retrieving it.
- Kickballs: Lightweight kickballs and other large balls can be a lot of fun for small or senior dogs who cannot fully participate in traditional fetch. Instead, let them push a kickball around in the grass with their nose.
If you struggle with the repetitive motions of playing fetch with your dog, consider purchasing a ball launcher. There are multiple different types of ball launchers available, including:
- Manual launchers: Manual ball launchers are intended to take the strain off of pet owners with shoulder or joint pain, and they keep your hands free of dog slobber. Manual launchers can also throw balls further than the average person.
- Ball guns: Ball guns are similar to those popular dart launchers you often see in toy aisles, and the purpose is the same: to see how far you can launch your dog's ball across the yard.
- Automatic fetch machines: Once you load an automatic fetch machine with tennis balls and your dog activates the motion sensor, the device will automatically throw the balls for you.
Frisbees and Flying Disks
If your dog loves to jump and catch, frisbees are the perfect outdoor toy. Tossing a frisbee with your dog is a good way for both of you to get exercise while spending quality bonding time together. Classic frisbees are solid plastic and easy to throw long distances. To change things up with your dog, incorporate other kinds of flying disks, including ones made of flexible material and disks that glow in the dark.
Dog Sprinklers and Pools
Think about those hot summer days you spent as a child — was there anything better than running through the sprinklers or playing with the garden hose? Dog sprinklers and pools are the perfect way to help your dog stay cool and hydrated while they exercise in the summer heat. When choosing a puppy pool for your backyard, follow these tips:
- Choose the right size for your pup — a pool that is too big may overwhelm your dog, while a tiny pool may not be engaging enough.
- Choose a pool specifically designed with dogs in mind. They are usually constructed out of more durable materials than your average kiddie pool.
- For large breed water dogs or households with multiple pets, consider a pool large enough for all your dogs to swim and play together.
Tug-of-war is one way to provide your dog with an outlet for their natural canine instincts and can be an opportunity to teach and train. Rope toys are ideal for playing both fetch and tug-of-war with your dog. For outdoor rope toys, choose ones made of durable, tightly woven material. For a hands-free tug-of-war, consider investing in a tethered rope toy. Tethered rope toys can be installed directly in the ground and are strong and flexible, so they can stand up to plenty of playtime.
Outdoor play tunnels are designed to teach your dog agility skills and can either be a standalone toy or one component of an entire agility course. Whether you are training your dog for competitive challenges or just want to keep them mentally and physically healthy, agility tunnels are a great way to do so. Play tunnels are typically constructed out of synthetic materials, making them ideal for outdoor play. They can also be easily folded up and stored during bad weather.
Playtime Is a Bonding Experience
Remember, the most important thing is that you and your dog are having fun and staying active together. No matter which outdoor toys you choose, you are sure to create lasting memories with your favorite friend.