tips provided by Home Run Pet Care
Festival time is upon us and that means lots of fun in the sun! Who better to join us on those adventures than our four-legged friends? While it seems like the perfect pairing, there are cautions you must take when planning to bring your best friend along on your endeavors.
This is a given. If you bring your pet anywhere with you, make sure they have access to cool, clean water. A water bottle and/or a collapsible pet bowl should be with you at all times. Many festivals and parks also have pet water fountains or watering stations/pools. If you forget your water or run out, ask a vendor or stop by the first aid tent where you can get some assistance.
We all know dogs will go… and go… and go if we let them. Sometimes they do not know when they need a break so we need to make sure to be aware of their behavior and stop for water and shade.
Even though animals have protective paws, they are susceptible to burns on hot surfaces like pavement, asphalt, and even the bed of your truck! Even after the sun has set, some of these surfaces can remain hot for hours. A best practice is to place your barefoot or palm on the surface for 10 seconds. If you cannot withstand the heat, neither can your furry friend. Another option, if your dog will comply, is a pair of booties.
It is important to be aware of potential signs+symptoms of heat stroke. These may include: exaggerated panting, deep red gums, racing heartbeat, fever, collapsing, vomiting, blank stare and/or anxious expression.
Dangerous Times of Day
Just like with us humans, it is best to avoid the midday sun. If you have your animals in tow, it is best to plan your day to be out in the early morning or late evening. It also goes without saying that anytime is a dangerous time to leave your pets in a vehicle. JUST DON’T DO IT.
Most festivals will offer some type of shelter or tent shade. You can also look for trees providing canopy effect shade. Don’t forget the shade that can be provided with an umbrella. If you have trouble finding shade, ask a vendor if you can let your pup rest under their tent or visit the first aid station for help.
Ways to implement sun protection
Animals can get sunburns too which can lead to pain, blistering, and even skin cancer. If you don’t have access to shade or want the extra layer of protection, there are now animal specific sunscreens and even UPF doggie apparel. Consult your veterinarian for more information on these types of products before purchasing.
Make sure your fur-baby is up-to-date on vaccines to prevent any unfortunate exposure to unvaccinated animals passing along illness.
Be aware of your surroundings and if your furry friend seems apprehensive, get them to a calm, safe location. Other dogs can become anxious and aggressive. This can lead to potentially dangerous situations. All people are not animal lovers, kids included. Even the friendliest dogs can be overwhelmed by well-meaning visitors. Make sure you are keeping a short leash and watching for little hands that may not ask before trying to pet your pup. Never use a retractable leash at events. NEVER!
Concerts and festivals usually mean loud music and fireworks. These can all be triggering situations for animals and could lead to anxiety and aggressive behavior. Even the bravest of dogs can become terrified during a fireworks display. Don’t risk it! If the atmosphere seems to be too stressful for your animal, take them home.
Let’s be honest. Most dogs will eat anything. When at festivals, there are a plethora of food options and with that are the many people dropping food as they eat and walk. Be mindful of the ground as you are walking. Many common festival foods, such as chocolate or chicken bones, can be fateful to your pet if swallowed. If your dog ingests something potentially dangerous to their health, a trip to the emergency vet is in order. Always watch the ground ahead of your dog when walking to avoid such dangerous temptations.
The same can be said for alcohol. Drinks get spilled, bottles of half-full beers are left on the ground only to be knocked over later. Be aware of the things your pets are sniffing and getting into.
Many of the parks where festivals take place have beautiful landscaping — but some can be poisonous to animals. The best advice is to keep them out of landscaping and watch what your dog might be trying to ingest.
Bees & Wasps
No one wants to get stung, but when you walk with your nose to the ground, it can happen. If it does, watch closely for signs of an allergic reaction such as swelling or trouble breathing. Head to the first aid tent or emergency vet immediately at the first sign of labored breathing!