Cool temperatures and fun holidays make the fall a great time for dog-friendly festivals! Here are some tips to make sure you and your pet have a safe and enjoyable time.
1. Know your dog. Do not bring out a highly fearful or reactive dog to a huge event. Big crowds 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. While many people like the freedom that flexi-leashes provide, it’s best to 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. Pups younger than 3 months of age are too young for these events. They are not yet 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. We’ve all seen it: tiny dogs and puppies in fear for their lives, trying to wade through the sea of human 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. Sadly, dogs die every year 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. While the temps might be lower in the fall, they can still heat up quickly in a locked car. If you don’t think you’ll want to go home when your pup is ready, then leave Fido at home.
8. Always have a bottle of water and a bowl with you when you take your dog on any outing. Many people remember treats, but often forget the water. During the summer, many events have water bowls out for the dogs but in cooler weather this important step is often overlooked.