Everybody loves a good picnic, don’t they? We’re not talking soggy sausage rolls and gritty egg sandwiches on the beach (one of our most haunting childhood memories) – we mean a proper picnic! It’s all about olives, antipasto and, of course, prosecco!
Give us a park on a sunny Sunday and we’ll have a picnic. We can’t resist! And a picnic isn’t a picnic if our dogs don’t come along with us…
As much as we love having them around, dogs can be a bit of a nuisance at a picnic – especially the greedy ones! Done right, it works great, but without planning it can easily be a recipe for disaster.
In honour of #NationalPicnicWeek, here’s our guide to the best dog friendly picnic:
Packing Their Bag
Once you’ve decided to take your dog along to a picnic, you need to start planning. It really is everything, and it will save your life!
Timing is everything, and you’ll do best to avoid the times of the day when the sun is at it’s strongest (11am-3pm). Whilst we recognise that this is a large chunk of your afternoon, too much time in strong sunlight can adversely affect both you and your dog. Of course, this is only a guide, but if you’ve a dog that struggles with their breathing (Pugs and French Poodles in particular), it’s good practice to avoid these times.
Alongside your picnic hamper, you’ll want to look at packing a bag for your dog. No, not a hamper of food just for them… but you will need some essentials. The weather’s glorious, and you’ll need to be prepared. You know when the sun’s getting too much for you, and your dog will rely on you to protect them in the same way.
Here are the basics that you’ll need:
- If you’re heading out for the afternoon, you’ll definitely need water – for you and your dog! We’d recommend taking a two litre bottle as a minimum. It’s important that you keep your dog hydrated while you’re out.
- You’ll also need a bowl to decant the water into. There are a variety of pop up bowls available, which mean you won’t have to lug around their usual metal one. It also means that, if you run out of water, you’ll be able to head to a pub or cafe and ask them to fill it for you. Most places are more than happy to oblige.
- If it’s a particularly sunny day, you’ll want the option to sit in the shade. So, why not take a parasol with you? It might seem excessive, but sitting in direct sunlight for long periods of time can have a negative effect on you and your dog. It’s best to have a backup!
Dog Friendly Food
We’re all constantly monitoring our dog’s diet and nutrition, and a picnic shouldn’t be the time where you let them completely loose and eat to their heart’s content. Aside from making them physically sick, picnics often contain foods that dogs shouldn’t eat, which can have long term health implications.
It’s a good idea to pack some dog friendly human food on hand to keep them satisfied. Popcorn is always a winner – we love it, and our dogs do too! Otherwise, make sure you have a few doggy treats, otherwise it’s just mean (and you won’t get a minute’s peace).
Here are some foods commonly found in picnics that you should never feed your dog:
- Onion and Garlic
- Grapes and Raisins
- Products containing Xylitol (including certain brands of gum, candy, and peanut butter)
Keeping Them Busy
Just to put it out there – you’re never going to completely distract your dog at a picnic. It’s just never gonna happen! However, you can help keep them busy by bringing a few toys from home.
It all depends on your dog, of course, and if you’ve a particularly greedy pup then they’ll choose treats over toys every time! But, if your dog is playful, they’ll likely occupy themselves for a while if you bring something for them to play with.
Whether they’re naturally playful or not, we’ suggest bringing a good selection of toys. Let’s face it – the more you bring, the more chance you’ve got of having a peaceful picnic.
Savour The Moment
We know all this sounds like hard work, but it really isn’t that bad, and you’ll be glad of it when you’re enjoying the moment. And do enjoy it!
What could be better that lounging around in the sun, surrounded by friends and dogs, eating and drinking the afternoon away?!
Embrace the moment. Enjoy yourself. And, most importantly, take lots of pictures!
We want to see your #NationalPicnicWeek pictures! Post them on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to tag us @Tailstercom!
Worried that your dog isn’t getting out enough during the summer while you’re busy working? Perhaps Tailster can help! We’ve a range of fully vetted dog walkers across the UK, available to walk your dog as and when you need. For more information on our full service, click here.