3 ways to bond with your pet this summer
Hello, summer! Many people’s favourite season is here and with it comes extra time to connect with beloved furry friends. The warm weather treats us to more time outside, often more time off, and more ways for pet parents to bond with their animals.
Post-pandemic, our pets are learning to cope with us being back at work and spending more time apart. Spending time bonding with our pets can help them feel more secure — as in, our pets realize that when we leave home to go to work, it is temporary and we will eventually return for more play time.
“This is probably one of the most common issues that I see these days is dogs that have separation anxiety where they just cannot be left alone,” says veterinarian Dr. Garrett Schuilenberg. “It is a big, big problem. We've got pets who got accustomed to being with their owner all the time [during COVID] and now they're back at work. They remember how fun and how positive it was to have them home all the time. They got to go for walks in the middle of the day and those types of things. Now they don't have that.”
To help our pets understand that our time together matters (and will still be a regular part of their lives), we asked our experts about some of the different ways we can strengthen our bonds with our animals while taking advantage of the summer season.
Your local Pet Valu has got you covered when it comes to providing a wide selection of toys that you and your pet can play with together — because play time = bonding time.
Fetch remains a perennial favourite among pets, but if your BFF doesn’t quite get the concept of repeatedly returning an item to you that you keep throwing away, there are other options.
“Tug of war ropes are great,” says Pet Valu’s Director of Merchandising Corey D’Mello, “because that's a good way that you and your pet get to interact.” D’Mello (and his pug) are also big fans of cooling accessories and toys.
Like Ice vests and cooling bandanas that will keep pets comfortable on hot days. Or a fun floating frisbee, which allows everyone to stay cool while spending time together and bonding over a game of fetch in water.
For pets who prefer to beat the heat by staying inside and close to the A/C, playing together where it’s nice and cool still meets the bonding time criteria. Toys like this summer-themed Kong butterfly teaser will entertain both you and your cats all season long.
Ice cream, popsicles, and fresh-off-the-grill cheeseburgers are some of the culinary treats we look forward to every summer. Of course, pet parents know this type of food isn’t ideal for their animal. But there are other ways to make them feel included when we’re hosting a BBQ or running outside to flag down the ice cream truck.
“We've focused on bringing that humanization to the pet world,” says D’Mello.
“So anything that resonates with us: a burger, a hot dog, or chicken wings in a pet treat format is something that just brings that little bit more fun and excitement to the everyday. It's building that interaction between what you're doing outside and your pet — you might be barbecuing and you're giving a barbecue-type treat to your pet. And they might not know the difference, but they still enjoy it.”
Road trips and pet travel
When it comes to bonding time, says D’Mello. “I love to travel with my dog. In the summertime, any chance we get to go out, we definitely do.”
Pet Valu, he adds, has a number of amazing travel products that focus on comfort, convenience, and safety. Your pet travel checklist should include a harness or carrier for the car, an extra leash, treats and toys to keep your BFF entertained.
“The thing that I always highly recommend is a water bottle,” says D’Mello. “Sometimes that’s the easiest one that we forget for our pets. It's something important, especially in the middle of summer, and bottles with collapsible bowls make it convenient.”