With Memorial Day around the corner, many of us are thinking about ways to maximize the time off and enjoy a little relaxation with both our canine and human companions.  The holiday is dedicated to remembering those who lost their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy, and what better way is there to celebrate, than living life to the fullest with our loved ones?  Here are some creative ways to make Memorial Day with your dog a significant and exciting event.

Fun Memorial Day Activities

Plan a picnic in the park:  Holidays are about friends and family (that includes dogs) and spending quality time together. Relish this end-of-May day by laying large blankets out on grassy areas where you and your friends can barbeque, play board games, have cold drinks, and spend time together.  Make it a doggy date!  Tell your pals to bring their pups too so your dog can have buddies to play with.

Play puppy games: This might sound like an obvious idea, which is why you have that Frisbee sitting in your car trunk. But why not change it up and engage your dog with new challenges? Buy some beef jerky and stuff pieces in treat-hiding toys that you can bring to the park, or wherever you are celebrating.  Get out the old rubber balls, or rope chew toy and get ready for a good game of fetch.  Who knows what other dogs in the park might join in, and who you might meet in the process!

Now, that's a decked-out neck!

Now, that’s a decked-out neck!

Deck the neck:   Since it is an American holiday, you might consider putting a bandana of the United States’ flag around your dog’s neck. This will make your adorable pooch look even more endearing and patriotic.  Then commemorate the occasion with a classic “puppy-and-me” picture with your best pal.

Rehydrate with a special treat:  Depending on your location, Memorial Weekend might feel more like the 4th of July with all those long hours of sweltering sunlight. Plan ahead so your pup has a delicious treat to help him not only stay cool, but also re-hydrate his body.  Freeze chicken broth in ice cube molds the day before. Put them in a bowl, so that when you are at the park, or having dinner at the in-laws, your fur-baby will be able to lap up some refreshing chicken broth and all the healthy electrolytes with it!

Stay chill:  If your pooch is particularly excitement-prone, and you want to keep him steady and relaxed before an exciting romp with his friends,  consider putting his calming collar on for a few minutes before heading out.  This will mellow your dog out and will keep his tendency toward rambunctious behavior tempered down. Another spin on “staying chill”:  bring a small kiddie pool with you if they day is set to be a scorcher.  That way the dog will have a few inches of water to cool off in at the park or in the backyard.

Hike a new trail:  There is nothing like forging new territory with a devoted dog at your heels. If you are hoping to spend some time solo on this contemplative weekend, plan a hike! Find a unique trail and charge up the path to gain a little perspective. Looking over a valley, out to sea, or across beautiful landscapes with that adorable pooch by your side, is a great way to pause on Memorial Day weekend.

Go swimming with your dog: Whether you are near a lake or the ocean as the temperatures increase, a spontaneous swim session may be in order this holiday. After running, playing or wrestling with your dog, head for the waters and splash around together.  Be careful though- not every dog is a solid swimmer. Basset hounds and Bulldog breeds tend to have trouble; keep a close eye so that they don’t just go diving in!

Go to a yard sale and meet your neighbors: Community bonding promotes good health and positivity in both humans and pups. Hunt around for yard sales this Memorial Weekend, and bring your trusty dog along.  Not only may you find some great steals and new chew-toys for your dog, but you will get to meet some of your fellow Americans and maybe even a new friend!

Memorial walk: If there is a Memorial Center or a veteran’s cemetery near your home, take your pup there on your daily walk.  Meditate on the sacrifice of the great men and women (and war-hero canines!) of our country, as an important part of Memorial Day weekend. If you just want to sit on a bench in the cemetery and reflect for a few moments, you can bet your loyal friend will be sitting right by your side.

NOTE: If you plan to spend the holiday in a crowded public area such as a beach, park or hiking trail, instead of a private residence, be sure to put your dog’s ID collar on and keep your leash close by.  You wouldn’t want future Memorial Days to signify the loss of your pup, so keep an eye on your buddy wherever you go.