It has long been established that the UK is a nation of pet lovers. Over 50% of UK adults own at least one pet, with 27% choosing a dog as their pet companion. In 2022, it is believed that there are 10.2 million dogs in the UK kept as pets.
Over the pond, the pet dog population just keeps growing. 2 decades ago, there were 68 million domestic dogs in the US, by 2017 this had risen to 90 million. Around 40% of US households have a pet dog, and Covid saw a huge rise in pet ownership.
In both Britain and the US, many individuals and families chose to take on a first, or an extra pet after Covid arrived. More than 23 million American households, and 3.2 million in the UK, adopted a pet during the pandemic.
The absolute majority of these pets remain in their new homes today. Figures showed that 90% of dogs and 85% of cats that were adopted during Covid stayed with their new families.
Why should you make a list of activities for your dog?
Pets come with many responsibilities, and one of them is to provide them with your time. A dog can live on average 13 years, so that is a lot of affection and playtime you will need to give.
It is true that some dogs can be left alone all day, but when your career is getting in the way, it may be even more important to provide stimulation for your puppy or dog. Perhaps what you need is a bucket list of things that you and your pet can do together and build treasured memories.
Here are some amazing activities that you can share with your dog. Some may require some nerve, while others are simply about taking pleasure in your surroundings with your furry friend.
Walking on the beach at sunset
Sunsets are in the title, so they had to be included in the article. There are few more enjoyable places to take a dog for a walk than by the sea at sunset. The sun worshippers have packed up and gone home, and you can largely have sand and sea to yourselves.
Sadly, this activity comes with some restrictions. In the UK dogs are often not welcome in the summer months, so check with local authorities or search online for dog-friendly beaches. The good news is there are lots to choose from, and your dog won’t mind if your walk is in the off-season, even if you need to wrap up.
Take your dog on a kayaking trip
It may take some time to get your dog to adjust to being around water or in a kayak, but this can be a very rewarding experience for you both. Taking your dog kayaking can lead to adventures that neither of you would normally have had.
You should consider getting your dog a life vest just as you would wear to make your trips safer. Once your dog is used to being in a kayak, you can start to plan longer trips that incorporate other activities.
While you don’t need to kayak to a campsite, you could certainly combine the two activities. Regardless of your mode of transport, taking your dog camping is a great way to share time together. Plus your dog will add security while you sleep.
There are many dog-friendly campsites around the country including Old Oaks in Somerset and The Meadows in Cornwall.
Go hiking together
While you’re camping, why not go for a hike or two? Your dog will love the exercise and the chance to spend more time together. You will appreciate how much your companion means to you as you explore new areas, and sit down to take in the beautiful scenery that the UK has to offer.
Go surfing with your dog
The headline does say the ultimate bucket list so you can’t expect to just take your dog for a long walk and play frisbee, although that is included too.
If the UK seas don’t appeal, or you don’t think surfing is really your pup’s thing, then you can always just watch a dog surf competition instead.
Stay at a pet-friendly hotel
Take your furry companion on a trip with the comfort involved. No hiking or camping this time. The American Kennel Club lists pet-friendly hotels across the states, while TripAdvisor and Booking.com can help for the UK.
Enter a dog show together
Don’t worry, you don’t need to reach the standards expected at Crufts. But, entering a local dog show can be fun, and the time leading up to it will mean you spend a lot of time with your puppy or dog teaching and training them.
Visit a nursing home together
All of the activities on this list generally benefit you and your dog. They are about creating memories, spending time together, and appreciating how much your dog means to you.
Taking your pet to a nursing home could instead help other people, and give a small but welcome emotional lift. It has been proven that animals can help to ease symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. As long as your breed has a good temperament and loves to be around people, visiting a nursing home could be very beneficial, and a positive way to spend an afternoon.
Visit a dog spa
After all the action your dog has seen, maybe it’s time for some pampering. Believe it or not, there are spas where dogs and humans can go, and both of you can even have a massage together.
Have your dog trimmed and groomed so he or she looks their best for the next activity.
Take a portrait together
A professional photography session can provide you with something to last a lifetime. A photographer can capture just what it is that makes your relationship with your dog special.
Teach your dog to swim
You may wonder if all dogs can swim. Can a Jack Russell swim and can a Pomeranian swim? Time to find out.
Some dogs are better at swimming than others, but with some patience, and perhaps a flotation device, you should be able to help your pup navigate shallow waters with no concern.
Play all the games you can think of
Your dog loves mental and physical stimulation. Playtime isn’t just a good way to exercise, it’s always just plain fun. Try and enjoy as much time as possible playing different games to connect with your dog.
Hide and seek, frisbee, catch, and tug of war, are all great games for dogs of all ages.
While it isn’t advisable to subject nervous dogs to anything too strenuous, many dog owners have taken their pets skydiving. Not only this, but they have reported that their dog visibly enjoyed the experience.
Your relationship with your dog will hopefully be a long and very enjoyable one packed with activities and fun moments. While there are many more things you can do with your dog, these are just some ideas that might appeal.
If skydiving and surfing are a bit too out there, then kayaking gently across open water might be more your style. If not, then why not go on a road trip and stay at dog-friendly hotels instead where you can both enjoy some comfort?