Sure, the calendar says "September," but Wisconsin residents know some of our warmest days can still be ahead of us this month.

That means those fabled “dog days of summer” have only begun.

At our house, actually, every summer day is a "dog day of summer," with walks at the lakefront, romps in Petrifying Springs Park (where our greyhounds, Seamus and Ruby, tolerate my feeding the squirrels and birds) and car rides in the cool night air.

Before summer moves ever more firmly into fall, take some time to grab your own late-season fun with your canine buddy.

There are several dog parks found in Kenosha County:

  • Petrifying Springs Park, 4907 Seventh St. (across from the dog-friendly Biergarten in “Pets”)
  • Ingram Park, 5726 93rd St.
  • Anderson Park, 8730 22nd Ave.
  • KD Park, 356 89th St. in Twin Lakes
  • Old Settlers Park, 24100 75th St. in Paddock Lake

Always read — and follow! — the rules at each dog park. And ALWAYS pick up after your dog!

When you’re looking to get out of town for a family trip, check the state’s official website, www.travelwisconsin.com, which lists pet-friendly places in our state.

Door County in particular has several canine-friendly venues, from places to stay (the Country House Resort in Sister Bay welcomes dogs with their own goody bags) and eat. Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard in Fish Creek offers free cones to visiting dogs.

At the Harbor Fish Market and Grille in Baileys Harbor, your pup can choose dinner offer a special menu that includes Bentley’s Hot Diggity Dog (hot dog with kibble) and Stately’s Meaty Scramble (scrambled eggs with ham and kibble).

After those treats, your dog can enjoy a kayak outing (on calm, days) with Door County Kayak Tours and visit the Simon Creek Vineyard and Winery in Jacksonport and Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery in Fish Creek.

At night, dog are welcome at the Skyway Drive-In Theatre in Fish Creek. You can snuggle with your buddy while enjoying a film — and sharing bittersweet memories of Kenosha’s now gone drive-in theaters.

You can also find many, many websites that list travel destinations that welcome dogs, meaning you can say yes to those pleading eyes the next time you head out the door for a quick road trip. Enjoy!

Safety tips

Here are some safety tips to remember when taking your dog out for some summer fun:

  • Not all dogs can swim. That’s right, the doggie paddle does not come naturally to every dog. Never throw your dog in the water and expect him to swim.
  • At the beach or anywhere on a warm day, have plenty of fresh water available for your dog.
  • Dogs can get sunburn, especially short-haired dogs and ones with pink skin and white hair. Limit your dog’s exposure when the sun is unusually strong and apply sunblock to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Have some cover available. The sun and the sand are fun, but it’s nice to have a place to take a break in the shade, like a beach umbrella.
  • Don’t overdo it. Running on sand is strenuous, so don’t expect your dog to be able to fetch as long as he might at the dog park.
  • Cold water can hurt. If your dog has arthritis or other joint issues, swimming in cold water (re: Lake Michigan) can irritate the condition.
  • Beware of insect bites. If your dog is bitten or stung, remove the stinger and watch the site for an allergic reaction. If a reaction occurs or there have been multiple wasp, bee or mosquito bites, take the animal to the vet.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about flea and tick prevention medications.
  • Lawn and garden products may be hazardous. Make sure that plants and fertilizers within the dog’s reach are not toxic.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in direct sunlight. Heatstroke can occur and lead to brain damage or death. (Signs of heatstroke are panting, drooling, rapid pulse and fever. Immediately immerse the dog in cool water and seek emergency veterinary assistance.)
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a hot, parked car. When it’s only 80 degrees outside, the inside of a car can heat up to more than 120 degrees in just minutes. Leaving the windows partially rolled down will not help. Your dog is susceptible to heat stroke and possible death in these conditions.
  • Keep your dog on a leash to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Try to avoid strenuous exercise with your dog on extremely hot days and refrain from physical activity when the sun’s heat is most intense.

Coming up ...

Upcoming pet-friendly events include:

  • Old Settlers Oktoberfest: Sept. 14 at Old Settlers Park in Paddock Lake. This popular outdoor event includes the Dachshund Dash, along with food, music, polka danceing and fireworks. Admission is free.
  • Petrifying Springs Biergarten Oktoberfest: Sept. 20-22 in Petrifying Springs Park, 5555 Seventh St. The Biergarten is pet-friendly all the time. Oktoberfest brings out huge crowds and plenty of German music, food and, oh year, beer. Admission is free.
  • Milwaukee’s PetFest: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Summerfest Grounds (Henry Maier Festival Park), downtown on Milwaukee’s lakefront. This event features an agility course, two lure courses, pet products vendors, muic, food, dock diving, “doggie dash” time trials, a felines-only “Kitty City” area, a beer garden, a fenced-in dog park and costume contests. Admission and parking are free. For more details, log on at petfestmke.com.
  • Barktoberfest: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 21 in Cambridge’s Westside Park. This event features dog rescue groups, foodm raffles, a lure course and costume contests (the categories are Kids and Dogs, Most Original and Best Theme). Admission is free. After the festival, a “yappy hour” is 3 to 5 p.m. For more details, call 608-345-8821.
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