Festivals can be a great way to get out and enjoy everything summer has to offer. Naturally, you’ll want to have your best friend by your side. Many festivals welcome four-legged visitors as openly as they do their two-legged parents. But before you head out to take in a festival, check to see that it is a dog-friendly event. And remember, even if your pooch is well-trained, the distractions of a festival can present quite a challenge. So follow these handy tips to have a safer, happier festival experience with your dog.
1. Always, always keep your dog leashed.
Most festivals require that your dog be leashed. Leashing your pooch keeps her safe from wandering off and following all the tempting sights, sounds and smells at a festival. It will also keep her safe from other dogs. We recommend using a standard leash, not a retractable, for public gatherings. A harness can be a more comfortable option if your dog tends to tug while walking.
2. Hydrate often. It’s often very hot at outdoor summer events.
Some dog-friendly festivals have watering stations, but sharing water bowls can pass along some illnesses. To be safe, bring your own bottled water and a small bowl you can pour it into to keep your dog hydrated.
3. Careful around the food.
Most festival food isn’t recommended for dogs. Feed your dog before you attend the festival, so she will be less distracted by all the food smells. Take along plenty of Bil-Jac treats to keep your dog’s appetite at bay and reward her for good behavior. And make sure she doesn’t pick up discarded food left on the ground.
4. Scope out a shady spot.
Find a nice shaded area where you and your dog can escape the sun’s heat. Escape to it frequently. And keep an eye out for signs of heatstroke, which can include excessive panting and salivating.
5. Take along some comforting toys.
While you’re resting in the shade, pull out some toys your pooch can relax with. Festivals are fun, but fun can create its own sort of stress. A brief playtime with some familiar toys can keep your dog calm and happy. Toys can also keep your dog busy if you take a break to socialize with friends.
6. Keep It Clean.
Be sure to bring along some waste bags for when the need arises. Being a responsible dog festival attendee will help to keep the grounds clean for everyone to enjoy and hopefully keep the event dog-friendly again next year.
If, after doing all of this, your dog just doesn’t seem to be enjoying the experience, please take her home. Not all dogs love to be out and about with a crowd. You may want to try a festival or two, anticipating that it may not be your best friends favorite activity and you may need to head home earlier than planned. If she seems ok to leave her at home while you return, do so. If not, stay home and comfort her. After all, she’s your best friend, and that’s what friends are for.
Share your festival experiences with your dog below! We’d love to hear about them.