4 Reasons Not to Bring Your Dog to Festivals
Mardi Gras was last week, but the buildup of parades and festivals had started weeks ago. I witnessed pet owners bringing their large and small dogs to these dog-friendly events, but these dogs weren’t enjoying the festivities as much as their owners.
As a huge dog lover, I completely understand why pet owners would want to share fun festivities with their four-legged family members. However, the dog trainer in me quickly intervenes to point out why dogs should be left at home. From what I saw this Mardi Gras season, it’s best not to bring your dog to festivals with you.
It’s Extremely Loud
Festivals and parades are extremely loud. Each parade starts off with a fire truck and ends with a police car blaring sirens and lights. Not only is this scary for small children—I witnessed many clutching their tiny hands over their fragile ears—it’s also frightening to dogs.
Crowds scream, school bands clang as they march past, loud music roars as floats pass by, and people push and shove for beads. Thankfully, I only spotted a few dogs within a 12-foot thick crowd. But from the glimpses between human legs, every dog I saw looked terrified. This isn’t fair to dogs.
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Worst Place for Socialization
Dog-friendly festivals and parades are the worst places to socialize a puppy. Dog socialization refers to exposing your puppy to something positively, so he’ll learn that it’s harmless and safe.
Not only are festivals loud, but strangers lumber past and try petting unsuspecting dogs. Pair that with being stepped on or bumped into and your puppy will quickly learn that people are scary during these events. It only takes a single scary incident for your puppy to be frightened of people for years.
Overcoming this fear won’t be a simple “fix” either. Trust me.
Your Dog Will Get Hurt
People will step on and hurt your dog. Festival goers aren’t paying attention, and will accidentally step on your dog’s foot or tail. The chances of your dog being harmed is even higher when you add alcohol to the mix.
Some pet owners think clutching their small dogs in their arms will keep them safe, but even these tiny dogs are at risk too. Rambunctious and drunk crowds will elbow and push their way through a crowd regardless.
Food on the Ground
Festival grounds are littered with dropped ice cream cones, ant-covered hot dogs and spilled beer. It seems disgusting to us, but it’s an inviting buffet for your dog. While some of these food items aren’t necessarily dangerous to feed your dog, ingestion of fatty foods can cause pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas and an extremely painful illness that can easily become a chronic issue. Plus, pancreatitis can be fatal to your dog. Treating pancreatitis in dogs is expensive too, as most dogs need hospitalization for several days.
Festivals and parades are meant for humans, so keep your dog safe at home.