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Should You Include Your Dog? A Guide To Events With Your Dog

With a fun festival, group outing, or other special event coming up, you may be tempted to bring your dog along. After all, special events can give you and your dog the chance to make some great memories. On top of that, they often provide fantastic photo opportunities to capture some quality photos of you and your pet

But before you start planning to take your dog along, pause for a minute, and consider whether this is a good move for the both of you. Some events may welcome dogs, but that doesn't necessarily mean that your dog will have a great time by your side. Instead, do a little research and plan ahead to make sure that bringing your dog with you is the right decision. 

Make Sure Dogs are Welcome

Before you decide to attend any event with your dog, first verify that dogs are welcome. Some events, like parades or festivals, may welcome dogs but with restrictions. Always review the rules first and be sure that your dog is vaccinated, well-behaved, and willing to happily walk on a leash during the event. 

If you're hosting your own event at home, you can make your own decision about whether to include your pet and, potentially, other pets. If you're planning a wedding, for instance, you may decide that you want your dog to be the center of attention as you walk down the aisle. For a less formal affair, like a cookout, you might decide that your dog would have a great time if your friends brought their dogs, too. 

Regardless of what you decide, you need to make your wishes known to guests ahead of time, so no one accidentally shows up with a pet who isn't welcome. For example, for a wedding, be upfront and honest with your guests about the event's pet policy and consider including this information on save-the-dates or even the invites themselves. This allows guests to plan in advance and to know what to expect. 

If you do host a house party, be sure to follow proper pet etiquette. Give your dog some exercise before the party, so he's likely to be calmer around your guests. Be sure to remove him from all of the activity if he gets overstimulated. Give your dog safe zones he can retreat to, like a basement with his crate or an area in the backyard separated from the party. By planning ahead, you can ensure the party is enjoyable for everyone, including your guests and your dog. 

Plan Out How to Provide Care

Before heading off to an event, consider how you'll be able to care for your dog while you're there. For instance, a camping event may allow you to bring dogs, but if you're going to be doing activities your dog can't participate in, it will be challenging to give your dog the care he deserves. 

The same is true of bringing a puppy to an event with you. When you bring home a new puppy, you're taking on a tremendous responsibility, and that puppy requires constant, attentive care while it's younger. Heading off to an event where you can't get the puppy out to the frequent bathroom breaks it will need can make the situation stressful and unpleasant for both you and the pup. 

As you plan out your pet's care, it's also essential to prioritize safety during public events. If you're taking your dog out in public, you'll need to have control of your pet at all times. Avoid using a retractable leash, and instead only use a traditional leash, which gives you more control of your dog in tight spaces. 

Keep an eye on the temperature, too. If you're on the pavement on a hot day, that pavement can get so hot that it may burn your dog's paws. Be sure to keep an eye on how your dog is doing and offer him plenty of fresh water and frequent opportunities to get into the shade. 

Always Consider Your Dog's Well-Being

Although bringing your dog to a special event may sound fun at first, you'll need to consider your dog's well-being. Some events, like parades or concert festivals, can be loud and unsettling even to the most trained and socialized dog. If an event follows a strict schedule that will alter your dog's typical schedule, you may want to hire a pet sitter instead.

Ultimately, you need to think about whether your dog will be happy at the event. Some dogs may be anxious around other people or pets, and a busy event can be overwhelming. Other dogs may take everything in stride and be perfectly happy going along with you. You know your dog best, so you'll need to be the one to assess the situation and decide if your dog should come along or if he's better off staying home. 


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