This post is sponsored by the J.M. Smucker Company. All opinions are my own.
Fun Ways to Treat Your Dog this Fall
As summer draws to a close and carefree summer schedules give way to routine, I find myself looking for ways to keep the best bits of summer alive all year long.
One of the best parts of summer is how much time Ella and Luna spend together – they are inseparable!
Whether Ella goes for a swim, does a craft project, or treats herself to a snack, Luna is right there beside her, keeping her company and cleaning up any edible messes. (She’s better than a vacuum.) Their absolute favorite thing to do together these days is play hide and seek – Luna is terrible at hiding but a great seeker!
When school and extra-curriculars start back up, they will go from spending nearly every waking minute together to only a handful of hours a day, and for both of their sakes, I want to ensure that that precious time together is special. Their bond is so precious, it deserves the effort.
I came up with 10 fun ways to “treat” Luna, things that were feasible to fit into our busy fall schedules while maintaining their close relationship that has really blossomed over the summer.
But the biggest thing of all is looking for opportunities to spend time together. Once I started thinking creatively, I realized there are so many opportunities to include Luna that I never thought of! For example, Luna loves car rides so why not bring her to pick up Ella from school? They can then enjoy an extra 25 minutes together that Ella would usually be alone in the backseat for and Luna would be alone at home. Win-win.
Fun Ways to Spoil Your Dog
Take Them On Outings
Like the school run idea, there are so many errands and family excursions that you can take the dogs along on!
For example, many outdoor farmer’s markets allow well-behaved pets. Also, we were so excited to find that there is a private dog beach close to our home – there is a fee to visit, but the option to bring Luna along is totally worth it!
Set up a Doggy Pool
I’ve never met a dog who doesn’t love to crash the kiddie pool, so why not set up one just for them?
A small paddling pool (which you can buy at Walmart) is the perfect size for pups to lay down in to cool off. We set ours up on the deck beside the pool so Luna can watch Ella swimming from her very own pool.
Treat Them to a Snack
Luna is always by Ella’s side – especially when we’re having a family movie night (the only couch she is allowed to jump on!)
So, naturally while Ella is having her movie treats, we like to break out the Pup-Peroni® Jerky Bites which combine the real pork (or beef) indulgence dogs love about Pup-Peroni® with the Premium ingredients pet parents want. You won’t find grain, meat by-products, fillers or artificial flavors in these snacks! The snacks are also easy for dogs to chew and can be easily torn by little hands for doling out in small amounts.
Ella loves back and leg massages and we’ve also learned that Luna does, too!
Some dogs love light circular motions, starting at their neck and working your way down their backs. Some dogs love belly rubs – and others just like a good old-fashioned ear scratch. I taught Ella the basics of “dog massage” and Luna is loving it!
(While there are more vigorous forms of dog massage, I think those are best not left to 7 year olds!)
Teach Her A Trick
Not only can she receive a special treat (like Pup-Peroni Jerky Bites) for learning a new trick, teaching your dog a new trick is a great way to encourage bonding through trust and positive reinforcement. Luna loves when Ella teaches her a new trick, and funny enough will often refuse to perform the trick with anyone else – it is strictly “their thing.”
From local stay-cations to dog-friendly hotels, there are so many ways to bring your dog along on your vacation plans. We’ve booked a pet-friendly cabin for the winter and have found a local pet-friendly hotel that would be perfect for a mid-winter staycation.
Dog Parks and Trails
We’ve found a couple leash-free dog parks and dog-friendly trails in our area that are perfect when we want something a bit more special than a quick jaunt around the neighborhood but are on a school night time frame. It’s not the beach, but it will do 😉
We also treated Luna to some hiking gear which she loves – she’ll actually go get the cooling vest from the closet to tell us that she wants to go for a hike. For the cooler weather, I’ll be looking into getting some booties to keep her paws from getting too cold.
Luna loves being brushed and we recently discovered that olive oil and coconut oil are great for massaging onto dog’s skin (and can reduce dander). Ella and I already have regular at-home spa nights, so we’ll definitely be including Luna. You can even buy nail polish formulated specifically for dogs, but I think we’re going to skip that – ha!
Set up a Special Backyard Area
This fun faux-creek is actually at my parent’s house, but seeing how much the girls both love it, we’ve decided to slowly start building a fun place in the backyard that Ella and Luna can explore. For now, we’ll stick to impromptu obstacle courses for Luna and Ella to run together – and probably a leaf pile or two!
DIY a Doggy Toy
I found so many fun DIY Dog Toy Ideas that I’m going to have to create a separate post listing them all, but suffice to say there are plenty of easy and safe toys that kids can help make for their dogs.
If you have a more adventurous DIY in mind – like a dog house or dog bed – kids can still help decorate.
What are your favorite ways to treat your dog?