It’s about that time when the weather starts to clear up, the sun comes out, and we can’t wait for all the spring festivals that DFW has to offer. With so many of these events being dog-friendly, it’s important to review some spring festing tips so that everyone has fun and stays safe.
1. Know your dog.
Do not bring out a highly fearful or reactive dog to a huge event like the St. Patty’s Day parade or Easter in the Park. The crowds are really big and can be overwhelming for a dog that’s not highly social. If you want to practice your dog’s socialization skills, start at a smaller scale, like a pooch-friendly patio.
2. Watch your dog at all times.
Think of your dog as a toddler that can get loose or into something they shouldn’t in the blink of an eye. At these events, particularly when alcohol is present, there is a lot of social interaction between humans, and we tend to get distracted easily. Keep a close eye on your dog to make sure that he’s right by your side, and not being poked in the eye by a toddler, or eating food that he shouldn’t.
3. Clean up after your pet!
This tip goes along with keeping a close eye on your pet. Dogs can poop and pee (even on other partygoers!) very quickly and you need to be armed with poop bags, handiwipes, and hand sanitizer.
4. Leave the flexi-leashes at home.
Use fixed leads only at a big event. I know many people like the freedom that flexi-leashes provide, but save those for your daily walks. At a crowded event, flexi-leashes can be dangerous. They can cut into a child’s hands and legs faster than you can say “Woof!”
5. DO NOT bring puppies that have not had all their puppy boosters.
I’ve seen people bring pups that are way too young for these events. Puppies are not immune to common diseases like parvo, distemper, and kennel cough until they’ve had all three rounds of puppy booster vaccinations.
Puppy boosters usually start at 6 weeks of age and given every 3 to 4 weeks until the third round is complete, generally at 12-16 weeks of age. If they haven’t finished their vaccines, putting that puppy on the ground where these parasites live is putting your dog’s life in danger.
6. Pick up your very small dog in very big crowds.
Seriously. I’m begging you. I’ve seen too many tiny dogs and puppies in fear for their life, trying to wade through the sea of legs and other bigger dogs. Don’t let them walk on the ground through a huge crowd where they can be stepped on. Also, scared little dogs have the propensity to bite their way out of a crisis. Pick up your dog.
7. When your pup is too tired or hot to walk any more, go home.
Unfortunately I’ve seen more than one dog death due to overexertion and overheating. It’s not worth it. And don’t even think about putting your dog in the car while you continue to party. If you don’t think you’ll want to go home when your pup is ready, then leave Fido at home.
Bonus Tip: This goes without saying, but it bears repeating. Always have a bottle of water and a bowl with you when you take your dog on any outing. I know many people remember treats, but often forget the water.
So there you have it! My seven tips for having a safe, fun time at the upcoming spring festivals. Do you have any additional tips that you’d like to share? Please comment below and let us know!