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10 things to do with your pets this summer

Make sure you take plenty of pictures.
(Ross May / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

There’s one good thing about this quarantine: More time with our pets. Here’s how to extend the fun this summer.

What dog doesn’t love a hike?
(Los Angeles Times)

1. Hike to a bath

Your dog is going to love/hate us for this one. Take your dog on an early-morning hike — on the way to a bath. You’ll beat the heat. Your dog will be too tired to fight the groomer, and you won’t bring home any ticks. This is a great way to celebrate the reopening of trails across Southern California.

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2. Kitty TV

Finding ways to keep your cat active and entertained helps curb behavioral problems, according to petfinder.com. One suggestion offered by the site: Hang a bird feeder outside your window and give your cat something to fixate on. (Just make sure there’s no chance your pet can get to the birds or get hurt trying.)

Runyon Canyon reopens with limits on the number of people allowed in, a one-way hiking trail and cameras and electric counters to monitor crowds.

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“Animal-style hamburgers” for dogs at the Dog Bakery in Mar Vista.
(Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times)

3. Two biscuits, please!

Strap in your pup and explore. Find a doggie bakery in a part of L.A. where you haven’t been in a while and hit the road. We like the Dog Bakery, with locations in Old Town Pasadena, Belmont Shore in Long Beach, Mar Vista and the L.A. Farmers Market. While you’re on the road, check out a new dog park. A resource we like to consult when traveling is bringfido.com. And we just have to say this: Never leave your dog in a hot car — no matter what.

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Furry fun at Huntington Beach's famed dog beach.
(Foster Snell)

4. Head to dog beach

If you have a well-behaved dog you can trust off leash, the stretch of dog beach at Huntington Beach is for you. (Note that technically dogs must remain leashed, according to dogbeach.org.) However, many dogs there do run off leash. This is a treasured place for many dog owners, so clean up after your pooch, play nicely with others and consider making a donation to the volunteers who keep it all running. Another place to consider is Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach.

If beaches and businesses are reopening, does that mean I can visit my friends and family now? The new rules on socializing during social distancing.

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5. Teach your pet a new trick

You’ve got the time, so teach your cat how to high five or walk on a leash. Or teach your dog to “speak.” Just be super patient, and dole out plenty of treats for a job well done. Your pet will be the star of your next Zoom meeting.

6. Serve up some ice cream

You’re not the only one who wants to chase away the summer heat with something cool. You might already be familiar with ice cream for dogs. After all, you can typically find some in the ice cream aisle at a well-stocked grocery store. (Our dog tried the peanut butter Frosty Paws, and there’s also the banana, apple and carrot iced treat by Billy + Margo, designed for lapping right out of the tub.) Not to be overlooked, there’s also cat ice cream. Petwinery.com’s Screaming Bonito flavor is made of powdered goat milk and bonito flakes. You mix it with water, freeze it and serve it up.

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7. Make tuna ice pops

You also could just make ice pops for your cat using the leftover liquid from your lunchtime tuna. Just water it down a bit, pour into ice pop holders and freeze. No, we are not making this up. If the YouTube video from Blue Cross for Pets is any indication, kitties apparently go wild for it.

8. A cool place in the shade

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Here’s an equation worth figuring out. Kiddie pool + bags of ice + your dog = Who knows? Will your pet run away? Plop down and chill? Just remember to take video. (And, for safety’s sake, don’t leave your dog unattended around his or her new pool.)

Instagram star
The dapper Geordi La Corgi has nearly half a million followers on Instagram @lacorgi.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

9. Do it for the ‘Gram

Make your pet Insta-famous. It’s almost a cliché, but your lil’ buddy needs a platform to shine, and Instagram is it. Keep it private if you’d like, but you’ll never regret having a record of your pet’s life. Plus, you’ll have endless fun challenging yourself to learn about photography, lighting and social media — and figuring out how to get your pet to smile for the camera. And, if you happen to have the next IG blockbuster pet such as @this_girl_is_a_squirrel, all the better.

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10. License and registration, please

Arguably the most important thing you can do for your pet this summer is to make sure he or she is microchipped, wearing an ID collar/tag at all times and licensed as your community requires. Sorry to be preachy, but many of us have lost beloved pets because of our failure to do the above. And summertime, particularly around the Fourth of July, when fireworks can spook pets, is a peak time for runaways. We want to spare you that heartache.


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