There are as many different ways to enjoy the fall season as there are colors on the trees – and we know you don’t want to leave your best furiend behind!
Whether you’ve got a puppy who is experiencing the wonder of autumn for the first time, a dog who loves to explore, or an ever-curious kitty by your side, there’s a variety of fall activities to do with your pet that you can enjoy with your furry friend this season.
1. Celebrate the Harvest Season
Picking the perfect pumpkin is a job for the whole family, so don’t forget to get official feline approval!
Many classic autumn activities that you already know and love represent the perfect opportunity to get your best buddy involved in the spirit of the season. The sights and smells of a food-focused fall destination — like a pumpkin patch, apple orchard, or harvest festival — will definitely be fascinating for your furry friend, and fun for you to experience alongside them.
Check out dog-friendly farms and festivals in your area, and don’t be afraid to call and ask if it’s not specified on their website. Many events will welcome well-behaved pets. If your kitty does well on a leash or in a cat-friendly bag, and you think they’d enjoy the experience without stress, you may want to consider taking Mr. Tibbles, too!
2. Become a Ghostbuster
Or, if you’re looking for something a little spookier, why not brave a pet-friendly ghost tour, corn maze or haunted hayride? Maybe Scout’s sniffer can help you navigate out of the corn, or even pick up the trail of a friendly ghost! Only you know your pet best, however; if you think a man in a hockey mask might alarm your pet, it may be best to leave them in the comfort of your home.
But if you do have a courageous canine who wouldn’t be bothered by Halloween’s witches, ghosts, and goblins, make sure to pack plenty of poop bags and your pal’s favorite Vital Essentials freeze-dried dog treats. Their tantalizing scent and mouth-watering taste will keep Skippy’s focus on you — so he won’t be tempted to go off on a spooky adventure of his own!
3. Attend a Tailgate or Cookout
For many, autumn only means one thing: Gameday. The “boys of fall” are out tossing the pigskin, and that means fans and rivals will be gathering for a cookout or some tailgating. Pets may not understand why their humans are celebrating (or why none of the players chew on the ball? Isn’t that the point??) but they DO understand food, friends and fun!
The next time you’re meeting up with friends or enemies to flip some burgers and trash-talk the other team (in the friendliest way, of course), consider taking your most loyal teammate along. They’ll enjoy the atmosphere and can even represent the team colors with a fashionable jersey or collar.
If you really want to impress the neighbors, why not teach Rover to help you out with yard games, like ring toss or cornhole? Teach your dog to retrieve a stray bean bag — or, even better, get them to score your team some points! Either way, you’ll win serious bragging rights for your clever canine. Don’t forget to reward them with a few Vital Essentials dog training treats for their hard work!
4. Play a Doggy Autumn Sport
Speaking of sports, they aren’t just for those with two legs! The cool, crisp weather of fall is the perfect time to meet up with fellow pet parents for a playdate. Doggy football gives your fuzzy athlete the chance to “go long” and be a star receiver. Just remember to crack down on any unnecessary ruff-ness between the players, and always clean up any fouls on the field.
If you think your little champion’s got what it takes to go for gold — or if you’re simply in the market for a new game to play with your best pal — we encourage you to get involved in organized doggy sports in your area! There are way more canine competitions out there than most people realize, from the classics like agility, obedience and disc catching to more unique skills like dock diving, barn hunting or even doggy dancing. All of them are fun ways for you and your buddy to learn a new skill together, and many can be done indoors so you both can stay active even through the winter.
The best part? Win or lose, you’ll have a great time together.
5. Dress the Part
Many pets enjoy wearing a Halloween costume, especially when it comes with TREATS!
Halloween costume parties or a night of trick-or-treating are excellent ways to spend time with your pet. But before you get too carried away searching for creative costume inspiration and wondering if Fletcher is more of a zombie or a werewolf, remember that the most important thing is your pet’s well-being. You never want them to feel stressed about being in costume. Some pets will never be comfortable with it, and that’s okay! A jazzy Halloween collar may be all the dressing-up your fur-baby needs to get into the spooky spirit.
Even if you know your pet won’t be bothered by wearing a costume, purchase their Halloween outfit well in advance and introduce it to them slowly. Always let your pet sniff it and examine something new to them until they’re satisfied. To build positive associations with the costume, reward them with tasty treats like freeze-dried minnows or their favorite toy.
Then, let your pet wear their spooktacular apparel multiple times before any party or trick-or-treating. That way, they’ll learn to be comfortable in it or even to enjoy it — plus, it’s just adorable to have a pirate pug or vampire cat running around the house now and then!
6. Take a Hike to Admire the Fall Colors
Getting outside and active with your pet is always a great choice; you’ll both get the health benefits of good exercise, and have fun doing it. This is especially true in the fall, as the changing leaves result in gorgeous vistas. To find the prime color-spotting time in your neck of the woods, check out the official autumn leaf tracker and plan your hiking day-trip for peak viewing. Make sure to pack your water and snacks (both for humans and pets). We recommend taking along some of your dog’s favorite VE RAW BAR Snacks. Duck heads, turkey necks and bully sticks are rich in protein to keep your pup’s energy up during the long hike and even last them until dinner time.
Even your kitty may appreciate this adventure, if they’re harness-trained or can ride in a cat-friendly backpack with a viewing window. Leaves rustling on the ground will give them something interesting to pounce on and play with, and you know they’ll enjoy birdwatching. (Just don’t let Whiskers catch one!)
7. Arrange an Autumn Photoshoot
Speaking of gorgeous fall views, autumn is the best time to snap some shots of you and your furry pal that you’ll look back on and treasure for many years.
Even if you have an amazing selfie game, hiring a photographer or enlisting a buddy with a good camera opens up a world of possibilities for a fun fall photoshoot. A forest trail, an old barn, or even your own backyard could be the perfect spot to make some memories. Maybe even stop by a coffee shop to treat yourself to a pumpkin spice latte and a puppuccino for Rex and pose for some fun-filled photos! While you’re picking your setting, make sure that you have a squeaky toy or treats to get your pet’s attention so that you can snap that perfect shot.
Both dogs and kitties make for excellent autumnal models. In fact, if you have a black cat, you are contractually obliged to take a Halloween photo of them next to a pumpkin or jack-o-lantern. (Look, we don’t make the rules).
8. Enjoy Some Backyard Fun
Is there any autumn sound more satisfying than the rustle and crunch of a big pile of leaves? We didn’t think so.
Adventuring out and about is exciting, but sometimes you just can’t beat your own backyard. If you want to enjoy some autumn activities right where you are, why not fill up a tub and try bobbing for apples — canine-style? Apples are safe sweet treats for dogs, as long as you supervise the munching and don’t let them swallow the core. If you have a water-loving hound, they’ll enjoy retrieving apples from the water and may even splash around or blow a few bubbles!
Then there’s the most classic fall activity of all — jumping in leaves! Rake up your yard, toss a ball into the pile, and watch your enthusiastic pooch make a flying leap into a leafy landing. Yes, you’ll have to rake the leaves up all over again…but when you see your best buddy’s joyful expression, isn’t it all worth it? To cherish the day forever, you could even snap a few photos of your dog ‘in flight’ or emerging from the pile with a mouth full of leaves.
9. Carve a Pet-Inspired Jack-o-Lantern
If you’re the creative type, you might try your skills at carving a pet-themed design on this year’s Jack-o-Lantern! A kitty or doggy face would make for a unique and adorable design, or you could stick with the classic paw print.
While you’re carving, if Scout or Tilly is nearby licking their lips, you may wonder if the inside of the pumpkin (the “pumpkin guts”, if you will) is safe for doggies or kitties. The answer is yes, as long as it’s fresh, not seasoned, and you don’t give them too much. Even if your hungry Lab would be happy to eat every bite of pumpkin goo, that may make for a very unhappy tummy later — so don’t let the puppy eyes sway you!
Once your masterpiece is complete and you’re ready to display it, remember pet safety around open candles and place your creation somewhere the pets can’t reach. Or, you could simply use a flickering tea light instead. Also remember to toss your pumpkin once it’s past its prime — a moldering jack-o-lantern doesn’t have the same charm, and can make your fur-babies sick if consumed.
10. Host a Scary Movie Night
Last but not least, after a long day of fall frolicking, there’s nothing like curling up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and your furry friend. Put on a scary movie and hold tight to your brave pooch for protection when you’re nervous…unless they get scared, too. Then you can huddle under the blankets together!
There’s plenty of Halloween feel-good films featuring canine companions, like Scooby-Doo, Frankenweenie or The Nightmare Before Christmas. For feline aficionados, there’s many cat classics, like Hocus Pocus or Sabrina — but personally, we recommend Alien. Scary monsters, heart-thumping thrills and most importantly: a smart woman who loves her cat. That’s a 10/10 from us.
Of course, if you’re a horror connoisseur and in the mood to really scare your socks off, there’s also pet-centered thrillers like Cujo or Pet Sematary…as long as they don’t leave you giving your faithful friend the side-eye!
10 Fall Activities To Do With Your Pet
Whether you’re looking for relaxed and casual or a little bit more thrills and chills, there’s tons of autumnal fun to be had with your dog or cat by your side. These are some of our favorite fall activities to do with your pet, but please let us know if you enjoy any other fall activities with your fur-kids that we should add!
We love seeing pet parents and their fuzzy pals having a safe and happy fall season. Try something new this year, and you may just start a new tradition for you and Champ to enjoy for many autumns to come.