Pride festivals are all about good vibes of love, inclusion and family so it’s only natural that many people celebrating Pride this summer want to bring their dog along for the fun. While the idea of having your adorable pooch show off his new rainbow collar may seem fantastic – the truth is that large, crowded festivals with lots of intoxicated people (many in costumes) have the potential to cause great amounts of stress to a dog. There’s a lot to consider when deciding whether or not you should take your dog to Pride.
Just like the colours on the Pride flag – dogs have many different personality types. Is he a mellow yellow Labrador Retriever? Fiery red Pomeranian? A Bold Kerry Blue Terrier? You know your dog best and knowing your dog’s personality should make you able to decide if they would enjoy a street party. Is he triggered by loud noises? Happy to have strangers pet him? No matter how chill your dog is, at a street festival dogs are often at the mercy of the crowd. Any dog at a Pride is at great risk of being stepped on or bumped into by people who don’t expect to see a dog there. This could cause injury to any dog, but especially to the smaller breeds. A prerequisite to bringing any dog to a large public event is basic obedience training and proper socialization. If your dog is lacking in either of these departments, sign up for a class and set your goal toward getting your dog Canine Good Neighbour certified.
The summer heat can simply be too much for many dogs. Festivals typically happen midday on closed off roads without much shade. The pavement could easily burn your dog’s paws. Before you bring your dog onto the road, use the back of your hand to check the temperature. If it’s too hot for you – it’s definitely too hot for him. Continue to do this frequently throughout the day as temperatures rise. The heat is a larger risk for the brachycephalic breeds. These dogs are even more likely to overheat. If you decide to take your dog to a street festival, stick to areas where there is grass and shade. Make sure to have plenty of water available to him at all times and watch for any signs of heat stroke.
Bringing a dog to Pride limits what you as a human can participate in while celebrating. Apart from service dogs; restaurants, bars and shops don’t generally allow dogs. Even outdoor beer gardens have restrictions on pets and if you have to run in to use a washroom you will have to make sure someone you trust is able to watch your pup. As a responsible dog owner, when you bring a dog to an event your top priority becomes them and their comfort. If you do decide to take your dog to Pride, be aware that you may have to leave and take them home at the first sign of distress.
Pride is a celebration of self-affirmation, diversity, equality and much more. It’s no surprise that many want to bring their best four-legged friend to these festivals, but careful planning and consideration is in order before you do. Most times, your pup will be better off celebrating at home in the air conditioning with his favourite episodes of “Will & Grace” playing on the television.