Dogs and Picnics18 May 2023
Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 18 May 2023
Summer is on its way, at least in some parts of the country, and as we start to meet in larger groups outdoors, and travel further afield, we are all looking forward to adventures with our canine companions.
But how do we make sure we all have lots of fun outside, while still staying safe and being on our best behaviour? We all know the treats are reserved for all the good boys and girls...
The impawtence of recall
As the weather gets better, walks will be a lot busier than before. And that’s exciting, just think of all the new people, dogs, smells... it’s can be supaw fun, but also a sensory overload for our puppy pals. So if you let your dog off-lead, it’s really important their recall skills are good so they can avoid passing bikes, give space to non-doggy people and nervous dogs, and that they aren’t unwelcome guests at a stranger’s family picnic.
Some of our dogs absolutely love saying hello to strangers, and lots of people love that too. But even if a passerby is keen on their attention they might not want a trendy, muddy paw design on their jeans, or they might prefer your pup doesn’t plant a big smooch on the face of their newborn baby.
Make sure the person your dog is approaching wants to say hi and be able to recall your dog back quickly if the new found friendship isn’t mutual, or your pup gets a little too close for comfort. Be sure to work on your dog greeting people with all four paws on the ground for starters, and professional training sessions can help with how to best make friends.
New Doggo Pals
Making doggy buddies is the best thing ever for lots of pups, but some are less keen. Be mindful of dogs on leads or with ‘give me space’ jackets, collars or yellow ribbons, as they might be a little nervous around your pup, and not wanting to play today. Even dogs that love other pooches can get overwhelmed by large groups of dogs or people, so as walks get busier, make sure your dog is comfortable and put them on lead, or change route if needed. Some dogs also can't chat because they are working dogs or training, so be sure to give them plenty of space too.
Some dogs can get pretty excited when they find a picnic. All this food laid out on the ground, just here, for me to enjoy? No pup, sadly it’s not yours! But as their nose leads them straight towards a plate of pork pies, that’s when you'll find out how good their recall is!
If you have concerns about your dog helping themselves to a round of sandwiches, keeping them on a lead can be a good plan, while you spend more time practising their recall at quieter times or in less busy areas. If you’re having your own picnic, enrichment toys can be a great way to entertain your pup while you enjoy a relaxing bite of lunch.
Training classes can be a great way to develop and improve recall and meeting new people skills, as well as teaching you many more top tips.
When the weather heats up, always remember our dogs are wearing fur coats, have bare feet and they can’t sweat, so it’s fair to say they find the hot weather much harder than we do!
Dogs with shorter faces can get warm quicker than those with longer noses so be extra careful with these breeds, but just because your dog has a longer face doesn’t mean they’re immune to heatstroke either. Keep your dog comfortable by giving them plenty of cool water, sitting in the shade, keeping exercise levels low and avoiding going out in the hottest part of the day.
A lot of dogs love lying in the sun or chasing the ball for hours even if they’re too hot, so it’s important to recognise the signs of them being too warm. Check out our vet advice for information on keeping your dog safe in the heat and if your dog has any signs of overheating contact your vet immediately.
We’re all looking forward to lots of outside fun this summertime with our dog. To make walks relaxing and enjoyable, good recall skills and use of the lead can really reduce the stress levels. We can imagine it already, breathing in the fresh air, lying on a picnic blanket, sun in the sky, listening to the birds in the tree and our dog chomping on a sausage roll… oh wait, no, drop it… time to get training!
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