Dogs don't need much to be happy - a loving family, a bowl full of kibble, and the squeaky toy he's sure he buried in the backyard (and is now in the process of digging trenches through your flower garden to find when it's really just behind the porch steps). Yes, not much.
It may not be a mandatory purchase, but you absolutely have to get your old pooch a wading pool. It just might be the best decision you'll ever make.
1. Test the Waters Before Taking the Plunge
Contrary to popular wisdom, the first time you take your dog swimming, you shouldn't just toss her overboard in the middle of Lake Erie. The animal cruelty people might have something to say about that. When you've got a kiddie pool out back, Fluffy can dip her toes in the shallow end without fear of the tide pulling her into the Pacific Ocean. That's a lesson saved for at least day two.
2. Beat the Dog Days of Summer
The mercury keeps rising, your margarita is melting, and the incessant drool from the corner of your St. Bernard's mouth is evaporating before it even hits the pavement. Your panting pooch needs some relief from the summer heat and a wading pool is one of the best ways to keep your dog cool during the summer. He can splash in it, or treat it like the doggie equivalent of a Venti Caramel Frapp from Starbucks. Hold the whip.
3. Scrub Those Dirty Paws
You know what's great about taking Bella for a spirited jog through a wooded trail? The two of you can bond as a pack, enjoying the great outdoors together. You know what's not so great? When Bella brings the muddy trail back with her and scampers right onto your bed. Before heading inside, give those dirty paws a good cleaning in the wading pool first. You should probably clean Bella's feet too...
4. Teach a Dog to Fish and...
Have you ever seen videos of dogs leaping off the ends of docks, splashing into the water, and doggy-paddling their way back with a largemouth bass in their mouths? They didn't start out doing that. Convince Rocky that it's a good idea to play fetch, even when the item being fetched has been thrown into the water of your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wading pool, and take it from there. Cowabunga, dude!
5. Dogs Take Cat Naps Too
Have you ever tried standing barefoot on the asphalt after the sun has been beaming down on it all day? It's hot enough to fry up a steak and you don't want to turn your dachshund into a BBQ'd Oscar Meyer Weiner. Throw a couple of towels in a small plastic kiddie pool, and you've got yourself a makeshift doggie daybed for your hot dog, no bun. And that'll leave plenty of sidewalk for your steak-grilling hobby.
6. An Appropriate Outlet for Digging
After your unfortunately-named terrier, Digger, has converted your yard into a Jackson Pollock where the canvas is a dirty brown with only a couple random specks of green, it's time to look to alternatives. No one said the wading pool had to be filled with water. Bury some of Digger's favorite toys in his new wading pool-shaped sandbox and hopefully he'll stop carving up your lawn like a demolition site.
7. The Inexpensive Decoy
Just as a dirt or sand-filled wading pool can distract Buster from digging up your lawn and garden, a suitably entertaining water-filled wading pool might be enough to keep him away from wrecking the expensive new fountain you just bought as well. Populate it with cheeky, anatomically correct cherubs and your neighbors will love it.
8. A More Organized Toy Story
Dogs and toddlers have a lot in common. They drool. They can still have "accidents" when you think you've got them trained. And they leave their toys everywhere for you to trip over. If you've got a small wading pool in the backyard, it can be used to gather up all these toys and keep them in one place. And yes, that includes the actual wading pool toys too.
9. Post Pepé Le Pew Protocol
Well, that's just wonderful. Your canine companion got herself sprayed and now she reeks worse than the dumpster behind the dive bar on unlimited taco night. Follow the recipe for de-skunking a dog. Keep that stench outside by using a wading pool instead of the same bathtub you use to bathe your family.
10. Bonding Time for Pups and Tots
If you don't want your kids to terrorize your house all summer long, it's in your best interest to keep them occupied. Toss your littles into the wading pool and let them engage in water-filled antics with Rubble and Rocky. As an added bonus, they'll tire each other out and everyone can just nap.
Splish Splash for Not Much Cash
Many pups enjoy splashing about in the water, but you don't have to dig a 10-foot-deep hole in your yard to build (and maintain) an expensive pool. Cheap kiddie pools are a dime a dozen. So when Fido decides that the wading pool serves much better as an overgrown chew toy than as a vessel for water, it's pretty painless to buy another one.