Dog Bucket List for All Life Stages

Are there things you have always wanted to try with your dog? If so, this might be the perfect time to create a doggy bucket list.

Unfortunately, dogs have a much shorter lifespan than us. Creating a bucket list for your dog is a fun way to help you prioritize different activities and experiences you’d like to share with your best friend to make the most of your time together. 

Bucket List Ideas For All

Sometimes pet owners decide to make a bucket list for their dog after they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, or because their dog is a senior. Bucket lists can be a great way to make sure that your dog’s final months, weeks, or days are as enriching as possible. However, you don’t have to wait until you’re grappling with your senior dog’s mortality to start a bucket list adventure for them.

You can start a bucket list for your dog at any time – even if you bring home a small puppy.

Bucket lists are just a way to help you brainstorm, organize, and keep track of the kind of events and fun activities you want to do with your dog. Then, use that to help you with planning to make the bucket list items happen. 

You don’t have to wait until you’re grappling with your senior dog’s mortality to start a bucket list adventure for them.

Try Something New

dog water sports

When developing a bucket list for your dog consider going outside of your comfort zone! Don’t be afraid to try new things. Part of the joy of a bucket list is to get you out of your comfort zone and explore new experiences together.

Looking for ideas? Ask fellow pet parents what some of their favorite things to do with their dogs have been. You can also look at dog-centric accounts on social media for ideas of different activities to do with your pooch.

Think about if there’s always something you’ve always wanted to do with your dog at your side. Consider trying an activity like signing up for a canine sport, or something more low-key like finding a photo booth to take selfie-style photos with your dog in. 

Finding Dog Events

When building your dog’s bucket list get creative and look for dog events you and your dog might not have done before.

If your dog is healthy consider signing up for an introduction to a new to you sport like agility, or scent work. Many local dog clubs, dog parks, humane societies, or training centers organize fun dog days, which can be a great opportunity to try out different sports to get an idea of what your dog might like.

Also check out local listings for dog-centered benefit walks, fun runs, and other activities that you and your dog might enjoy. 

Travel Together

dog travel accessories TO BRING ON A ROAD TRIP WITH A DOG

As you put the bucket list together, consider ways you and your dog can go and explore more of the world. If you enjoy traveling, consider adding some vacations near (or far!) to your dog’s bucket list. Go camping if that’s your thing!

When planning your dog-centered vacation or road trip don’t forget to plan activities for you and your dog for while you are there. Many pet-friendly hotels will have lists of dog-friendly activities, dog beaches, or national parks nearby that you can explore, or you can plan your own activities.

From dog-friendly shops or a spa day for a doggy massage to more active outings like hiking or renting a kayak or paddle board from a dog-friendly boat rental, there are plenty of ways you and your dog can bond while exploring new places together.

Shopping Spree

dog in a mall

Not up for getting out of town with your furry friend? You can create a bucket-list-worthy day of outings for your dog closer to home.

It can be fun to spoil your dog so consider taking them on a little shopping spree at a local pet store. Set a budget for yourself but let your dog pick out their own toys and treats by purchasing everything your dog touches or expresses interest in. 

DIY Activities

a happy dog with a stick

Building a bucket list for your dog doesn’t require spending money. Consider ways that you can spend quality time close to home, like teaching new tricks or starting a DIY project.

For example, you and your dog can make a stick library for your yard to share with other dogs in the neighborhood. To do this, use a crate or box, add a sign saying that the sticks inside are for dogs, and then go stick collecting with your dog to find ones to put into the “library.”

Other DIY activities include using paw-safe ink pads or washable paint and doing some paw painting with your dog. Or go to a local fabric store (dog owners: check ahead, but most large national chain fabric and craft stores are dog friendly) to find some fabric to make your dog its own bandanas that match your outfits. Dress up and have a family photo shoot wearing them!

Tasty Dog Treats 

dog with bone

Don’t forget the special treats when creating a bucket list for your dog. For foodie pups, bring your dog along to dog-friendly restaurants or ice cream shops near you. Especially since the pandemic, many restaurants have added patio dining, and most restaurants with outdoor seating allow dogs to join their owners on the patio.

Some restaurants even have dog-specific menus where you can order your dog their own specially cooked meal so you can eat together.

Check for any dog bakeries or pet shops with bakery counters for picking up special cookies, cupcakes, or other treats specifically made for dogs. If all these dog adventures have you tired and you stop to get a coffee, most coffee shops will give you a free “pup cup/puppuccino”, which is just a small cup of whipped cream with your order. 

Your Dog Comes First

human cuddling with dog

When creating a bucket list for your dog don’t forget to take your individual dog’s temperament and preferences into account when selecting the activities to include.

For example, if you have a dog who is uncomfortable with new people, avoid putting activities on the bucket list that involve being around crowds or busy cities like New York.

Similarly, if your dog is reactive or uncomfortable with other dogs, stick to events where you can create space between your dog and others. The goal of a bucket list is to do things that will be fun for both of you, not to increase the level of stress in your lives. 

Life is busy, and it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stresses of work and other commitments. One of the primary benefits of creating a bucket list for your dog is that it can provide structure and organization to fun things you want to do with them.

Instead of continuing to put things off, a bucket list can help inspire you to stop procrastinating and put some intentional focus on making time to do new things with your dog before its final days.

Bucket lists can be as elaborate as you want, but they can also be small and simple activities you and your dog can enjoy together near home like a nice long cuddle, taking extra-long walks on the weekend, or making a point to play fetch every day.

At the end of the day, our dogs are happiest when they are with the people they love. Whether your dog’s bucket list is long or short, the most important thing is that you’re spending quality time together.

Dog Bucket List Ideas: Summary

  • Dog sports
  • Photoshoot
  • Benefit walks and fun runs
  • Road trip
  • Dog beach
  • Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP)
  • Kayaking/boating
  • DIY activities
    • Painting
    • Making a stick “library”
  • Pet store shopping spree
  • Dog bakery visit
  • Dog-friendly restaurant