Summertime is the best time to spend time outdoors. Firing up the grill and sharing food with family and friends, including the four-legged kind, is a great way to get your outdoor fix. With picnics and barbeques, you and your pup are sure to be the social butterflies of the season.
As many dogs would agree, a picnic in the park is the perfect opportunity to roll in the grass, chase some butterflies, and nap in the shade with their favorite humans. To keep your pup out of trouble during your summer season, here are a few tips to keep them happy.
- Bring dog treats. The food at your picnic and barbeque smell delicious to not only you, but also your dog! However, most human food is not safe for our pets to eat, so it’s best to bring some spare snacks for them. Small pieces of plain chicken, turkey, hot dogs, and small pieces of cheese are good options. The best option would be to grab your trusty bag of (insert product here)! Not only is it a familiar treat, but it will keep them busy while you eat!
**Picnic leftovers can be very dangerous to dogs. Even if those puppy pleading eyes are saying “yes please”, channel your will power and say “no” to your begging dog.
- Set up a dog zone. Pick a shady spot far enough away from the grill, tables, and main activities where your dog won’t be in the way but can still participate. Bring a blanket for them to lay on and spread their toys on. If your dog is anxious, having items that they recognize as theirs can help to calm them down. If necessary, loop a long leash around something sturdy to keep your dog secure, in case they’re inclined to escape.
- Do a round of introductions. Once your dog is comfortable in their zone, start introducing them to the people at the event. Do this slowly, with only one or two people at a time as to not overwhelm your dog. Do not force the interaction! If your dog is clearly uncomfortable, then remove them from the situation. Taking them for a walk around to dispel some energy is a great way to ease your dog’s mind. Never leave your dog in the car, as the heat can kill them.
**It’s important to know your dog’s unique personality, as certain dogs do not do well in large social situations. If your dog becomes overstimulated or overanxious, it’s time to take them home.
**Dogs often get excited around running, screaming children, which can be common during the summertime. Watch your dog closely and take them for a walk if they get too hyper.
- Treat your dog when you eat. Once the humans sit down to eat their delicious feast, give your dog some treats as well. This keeps them distracted and happy while you enjoy your food and eliminates the chance of begging.
- Play! Playtime is important no matter where you are, but part of the fun of the summer season is playing outdoors. Encourage your friends to play with your dog and be sure to bring plenty of toys to use. Not only is this fun for your dog, but it’s fun for everyone!