GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Outdoor art fairs and festivals are wonderful for family time, and it's tempting to bring your dog or other beloved pet with you as you amble about.
That doesn't mean it's always a great idea.
What seems like a relaxing stroll to us can actually be frightening and exhausting for your four-legged companions.
BluePearl Veterinary Partners provided these pointers for anyone taking their pet to a crowded outdoor fair:
- Know your dog. Does your dog pant heavily, growl, bark or generally seem agitated around new people or other pets? If so, consider leaving her home. Remember, crowded outdoor events can stress out dogs. On the other hand, if your dog is the calm kind who never seems bothered by another pooch or a screaming child, it may be acceptable to bring your dog along.
- Know the rules. Are there rules against pets at your event? Check beforehand.
- Beware the friendly 3-year-old. We humans know it's adorable when a squealing toddler rushes up to hug the doggie. But dogs do not hug each other, and they can be quite frightened and surprised when a squealing child wraps their arms around them. So be especially aware of these situations. Be ready to intervene if your dog starts growling or showing other signs of agitation.
- Consider the weather. Dogs don't sweat as humans do, and therefore they don't cool down as easily. If it seems hot to you, it's even worse for your dog. Keep your dog home if it's uncomfortably hot, or if you plan to stay out for several hours. And you should always bring a collapsible water bowl and some water.
- Keep control with a leash. First, have a leash when your dog is in a crowd, no matter how perfectly behaved they may seem. Second, this is not the time for a retractable leash. You want a firm leash that gives maximum control.
- Bring the right gear. A roll-up mat can provide a cool surface for your dog to rest on. You can even find collapsible crates which give dogs a way to escape the madness for a bit.
- Accidents can happen. So be prepared to scoop up poop.
- Don't feed your dog an elephant ear, or a deep-fried candy bar, or any other high-fat concoctions of human food. Be aware that many human foods like chocolates actually are dangerous to dogs. You could feed your dog a plain hot dog without bread. Or even better, bring some of your dog's favorite treats to give as rewards for good behavior.
- Chill out when you need to. What if you have done all of the above and your dog surprises you by growling or acting scared? Find a quiet, shaded spot and relax. Sometimes we all just need a moment.
BluePearl Veterinary Partners is a 24/7 Emergency hospital is located in Grand Rapids on "Medical Mile" just East of Fuller at 1425 Michigan St. NE.
You can learn more at https://bluepearlvet.com/grand-rapids-mi/
(© 2016 WZZM)