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Picnics are synonymous with long, summer days. It’s a chance to enjoy the sunshine with friends, family, and your pup of course. There’s even a National Picnic Week, which runs from June 19 to 27 this year.
As long as the weather holds, be sure to grab your rug and hamper and make a day of it with your dog because let’s face it, between the outdoor space, tasty snacks on tap and sniffing opportunities, picnics are a pup’s paradise.
That said, it can also be a bit of a minefield if your dog takes it upon himself to scavenge, rampage and generally malfunction with the sensory overload.
Here are a few tips for picnicking with your furry friend, so you can all enjoy the day out minus any dog-shaped disasters.
Make sure it’s a dog-friendly location
Whether you decide to venture to a nearby park, or further afield for a change of scenery, make sure dogs are welcome.
Lots of places, especially beaches, only allow dogs between certain hours, if at all, during the summer months.
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In addition, have a think whether the surroundings will suit your dog. Given a lot of people are planning to stay put in the UK this year, popular spots are likely to be jam-packed, so make sure there’s a good chance there will be ample space for your dog to roam around without fear of annoying the neighbours.
Us Brits wait months for the sun to make an appearance and when it finally does, we love nothing more than to complain how hot and sticky we are. If you’re finding it hot, don’t forget your dog will as well.
On particularly hot days, try and stay out of the sun when it’s at its strongest between 11am and 3pm, make sure there’s somewhere shaded for them (and you) to settle without the fear of heatstroke, and maybe choose somewhere where you can all enjoy a cooling dip.
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And of course, on hot days don’t leave your dog in the car, even for a few minutes while you unpack the picnic paraphernalia, as it can have fatal effects.
Humans are reminded time and time again to stay hydrated, especially during the summer months, and it’s so important your dog does too.
Our furry friends get thirsty quickly, so make sure there’s plenty of water for them throughout the day, and don’t forget a bowl or portable water bottle for them to use.
Secure the food
As we all know, most dogs will have their nose in your sandwiches and everyone else’s given half a chance, so a picnic provides a lot of temptation for our canine companions. As much as they love a snuffle, it can end up with them overeating, or worse, falling ill if they chomp down on something they shouldn’t. And even if it doesn’t cause them harm, there will be a lot of rumbling stomachs if your picnic suddenly goes AWOL.
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To avoid any unfortunate incidents, be sure to keep your human food safe and secure from prying paws. As for dishing up your dog’s own picnic treats, it’s worth buying a bowl that’s compact and light.
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A picnic set-up is your dog’s idea of pup heaven, but that doesn’t mean they should run riot through excitement and cause havoc for anyone sitting nearby. Keep them on the lead if appropriate, and use a dog lead stake when you’re sitting down.
Take their favourite toys along to help them settle, and maybe a long-lasting feeder to help occupy them.
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Don’t leave a trace
Be sure to do your bit and leave your picnic spot as lovely as you found it, if not better, by making sure you take all your rubbish with you. Not only is it nasty, frankly, to leave your trash behind, it prevents pups and other animals from rifling through things that might cause them harm.