Summer is here, CHS Supporters! Time for fun, festivals and enjoying some glorious weather.
Summer is an awesome time of year at the CHS shelter! Camps are in full swing and our volunteers are out in force making sure every dog, cat and other critter get the attention they need to thrive! Summer is a time for fun, but to ensure summer is fun for all family members there are sometimes some extra safety precautions to take. Today on the blog, we talk about pets and festivals!
Most pet-friendly festivals are outdoors, but some may be partially indoors or entirely indoors. Likewise, many of the safety information in this article would also be great if you are bringing your pet to an outdoor or indoor marketplace, like a farmer’s market.
This brings us to safety tip #1: Double check that the festival or market you are attending is pet friendly! If not, you and your pet may be asked to leave. If the market or festival is not pet friendly then the best place to leave your pet is at home, not in the car. Make sure your pet is set up comfortably at home and spend some special time with them when you get home.
Festival Pet Safety: 10 basic tips!
- Consider avoiding large crowds. Lilac festival in Calgary is a great example of a VERY crowded outdoor festival. Unfortunately, each year we see dogs being walked through the middle of those large crowds and accidentally stepped on. Many dogs do not like crowded places, leading to a stressful festival experience for Fido. Keeping to less crowded areas is a great way to keep your pet safe and happy.
- Watch out for signs of stress. Dogs have a number of body language signals that indicate stress. Keep a keen eye out for: lip licking (when not eating), yawning (when not tired), sniffing (especially if there seems to be nothing to sniff), whale eye (you see the whites of your dog’s eyes), stiff body or facial muscles, dry panting (though this may also be heat) or a dog attempting to lean away or exit a situation. If your dog starts showing any of these signs, it’s time to find a quiet space!
- Watch out for stray snacks! Festivals mean food, and food + walking = a LOT of snacks on the ground! Keep an eagle eye out for dropped snacks as many, such as chocolate, could be dangerous for your pet.
- Watch the behaviour of others. Lots of people love dogs! Unfortunately, lots of people will run up to pet a dog without asking. Remember: if you choose to bring your dog to a festival or market you are 100% responsible to ensure that your dog stays safe and that your dog behaves safely around others. That includes watching for and intervening if people try to interact with your pet to ensure your pet is safe and comfortable.
- Please don’t let dogs visit! Most pets find meeting on leash to be more stressful than meeting off-leash. Festivals and markets also add in a large crowd, strange sights, new smells and plenty of noise. Consider setting up a play date at home or heading to the dog park instead of bringing your dog to a festival or market if socialization is your primary goal.
- Bring lots of water. Most dogs will get thirsty at a festival. Bring plenty of water to keep Fido hydrated throughout the day! Taking breaks in the shade to cool down will also help your dog stay happy and healthy.
- Keep it on leash! Unless you are in a designated off-leash area, Calgary bylaws state that your dog MUST be on a leash when off your property. Festivals and markets are no exception. Keep your pet on a leash attached to a sturdy collar or harness.
- Use the right leash. Because of the crowds and tight spaces, your pet’s leash and harness/collar combo must be enough that you can control their movement. A solid double-ended leash is a great choice for these situations! At Calgary Humane Society all of our dog walkers use double-ended leashes when walking our dogs. Wondering how a double-ended leash can help you to keep your dog safe and controlled while on walks? Drop by our Pet Gear Store to learn more!
- Brush up on obedience skills. Loose leash walking, sitting, staying and heeling are important skills for any dog that will be attending crowded places. Looking to help your dog learn these skills or need a bit of a refresher? Calgary Humane Society offers classes and private consultations to help Fido work on his manners.
- Watch out for heat and sun! Just like people, pets can wind up with sunburns. Light coloured dogs with sparse hair are especially vulnerable. In addition to sunburns, the sun can also heat up asphalt, making it dangerous to unprotected paws. If the mercury is going to soar on the day of the festival, consider leaving your pet at home to prevent sun or heat related injuries.
Is there a set of safety tips you would like to see? Let us know on our Facebook page! Until next time, CHS supporters, have a safe and happy summer!