Summer Activities with Your Furry Family Members

We all like spending time outdoors during our cooler months, but in the summer, Las Vegas can be a challenge with our blistering heat. Even though our furry family members live primarily indoors, they still want to have fun, but we need to be extra attentive in keeping them safe and cool. So what can you do this summer?

Mount Charleston is a great place to get out of the heat. If you and your pup are hiking companions, you can have a fun day exploring the trails it offers. Make sure to bring plenty of water for both of you. When my husband and I hiked, he always told me that by the time you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated. Collapsible water bowls and travel bottles where the lid flips out into a bowl are easy to pack when you’re on the go. I also recommend always having one in the car because you never know when you might have car trouble or traffic delays.

Anytime you’re outside with your dog make sure to keep them cool as they don’t sweat like we do. Dogs regulate body temperature primarily through their paws and panting. Get a bandanna for both of you and wet it down and keep an extra iced one in a freezer bag.

We don’t have an ocean, but you’ll find lakes with beaches you can enjoy. Lake Las Vegas and Lake Mojave offer boating for you and your pets. Make sure to have a life vest for both of you.

Want to take a swim? Head over to Lake Mead or Lake Mojave. You’ll find sandy beaches for a day in the sand and water play. There are also trails where you can enjoy taking in the spectacular scenery.

If you don’t mind a short ride, Valley of Fire Park is beautiful. It’s amazing how many Vegas people I meet who have never been there.

You wouldn’t think of going out without sun protection and neither should your dog. Yes, they make UV-blocking clothes for dogs and sunscreen specifically for their delicate noses. Never use human sunscreen as many contain zinc oxide which is toxic to dogs, and salicylate which is toxic to cats. Make sure to do a little research before applying.

Park rules can always change so check before heading out to make sure your pups are still allowed. Also, no matter where you go make sure they have booties to protect their sensitive paws. I say it every year: if it’s hot for you it’s hot for them.

If hikes and lakes are not your thing, create your own water park at home. Sprinklers can be fun for your pet to run through especially if joined by you and your kiddos. A pond less fountain or planter fountain water feature is also something to consider. They’ll have fun trying to catch the water while you enjoy watching them. Las Vegas is a water crisis area so don’t run it all day and only when you’re home.

If your dog loves to play and sit in water, get them a doggie pool. Whether it’s a play pool or an in- ground pool always make sure they’re supervised. Be careful especially if your dog is a puppy or a senior dog because they could be unsteady on their paws and unsure of the water.

One last thing I want to share is safety when they’re outside alone. If you have a doggie door, make sure they have plenty of sun coverage and water, especially if you leave it open when you’re not home. Trees and patio covers are great, but not every yard has them. Portable sun shades, shaded pet beds, and pop-up canopies are great for creating shade in yards. Cots are also a good option as they provide extra cooling and air circulation since they are elevated off of the ground. There are even some products that combine the shade of a pop-up canopy with the cooling effect of a misting system. Place it on a timer to come on during the hottest time of the day. You may need to take some time to train them to take cover, but worth it to ensure their safety.

Most dogs can be healthy and active in the heat provided they have easy access to fresh drinking water and shade. Enjoy a fun, safe and cool summer with your furry family member.

Gail Mayhugh, the owner of GMJ Interior Design, has been designing in Las Vegas for over 25 years. She also supports animal rescues and shelters through her non-profit,