7 tips for tailgating with your dog

Football season has arrived, and that means tailgating parties! These events are a fun way for your dog to socialize and enjoy the fall weather – but it’s important to put his safety first.

As the temperatures cool and the leaves start to fall, fans all over the country can’t help but get excited about the approaching football season. For many, this means packing up food and drinks, donning their favorite team’s jersey and cap and, for a committed few, perhaps dabbing on a bit of face paint. It’s tailgating time! Maybe this year you plan to bring your dog along to join in the fun. If so, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Make your dog your priority

It’s easy to get swept away by the fun at tailgating parties. But if your dog is in attendance, you need to make sure he’s your main concern. Have no more than one or two drinks throughout the day, never leave your pup unattended, and pay close attention to his needs!

2. Keep your pup hydrated

As with people, long days filled with activities tend to make dogs thirsty! Make sure to bring your dog’s water bowl and lots of clean water to keep him properly hydrated. He should have access to water the entire time you are tailgating.

3. Let your dog recharge

Give your dog several breaks from the celebration. It’s a new environment — likely with a lot of people — and it can be stressful for your dog. Take him on a few short walks away from people periodically during the day’s activities so he can relax and relieve himself. Don’t forget the doggy waste cleanup bags!

4. School your teammates on doggie 101

Make sure to let your friends know not to feed your pup tailgating food scraps. Encourage them to promptly clean up after themselves if they drop food (or spill beer) on the ground in order to prevent your dog from cleaning it up for them. Ingesting certain human foods can give your pup an upset stomach, while others – like chicken wing bones and any form of alcohol – are downright dangerous! Be sure to stress this to your fellow tailgaters.

5. Bring healthy snacks

It’s best to feed your dog his regular meals before and after game time. To include him in the snacking fun, bring a few low-cal snacks just for him. Fruits and veggies like baby carrots and frozen blueberries will help keep him from begging for your grub!

6. Keep him on-leash

It should go without saying that at a busy, public event, it’s important to keep your dog on a leash. Just in case he gets loose, make sure he has a form of identification on him, such as an ID tag on his collar with your current contact information engraved on it.

7. Read your dog’s body language

If you notice your dog is displaying any signs of stress – excessive panting or pacing, for instance – it’s time to remove him from the crowd. Find a shady place to sit with him until he calms down, and then try heading back into the action. If he’s still not happy, pack up and head out. There’ll be plenty more tailgating parties to attend!

Cheers to an enjoyable fall – and may your team be victorious!

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Angela Marcus is a life-long, committed animal advocate. She conceived Get your pet in direct response to her experience first-hand with the challenges inherent in the animal sheltering system. Her background includes involvement in virtually every aspect of animal welfare. Angela has worked as a veterinary technician, a Forensic Case Coordinator for Pennsylvania’s largest Humane Law Enforcement team, a contributing presenter on the television channel Animal Planet, and as the Operations Director for the Pennsylvania SPCA. Angela holds a B.S. in Animal Biotechnology from Delaware Valley University and was born and raised in Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania. She now lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania with her husband John, stepdaughter Ruby, son Leo and their rescue pets: five dogs, one cat and six chickens. Getyourpet.com