More and more local breweries, restaurants and outside eateries now allow pets to join in the fun of being out and about. It is great that so many places are now inclusive for our furry friends, but there are several things you need to consider so that you, your dog, and those around you, all have an enjoyable time. It is critical to make sure your pet is suited for a social environment, protect your dog from diseases, beware of drinking and eating hazards for your pet, and always have proper identification on your dog in case you get separated.
Before taking your pet to a social situation, ask yourself, “Does my dog really have the temperament to sit in a crowded, loud area with numerous two-legged and four-legged strangers?” Not every dog is a social butterfly and anxiety or fear could manifest itself with less than ideal behavior by your furry companion. The biggest issues usually occur when a pet’s owner isn’t paying close attention and misses the dog’s body language cues of being in distress. These signals might include flattened ears, hiding under chairs, avoiding eye contact, or even growling – which is a likely sign that it is time to go home. If you want a pet that likes socializing, start young when possible. Take your well-vaccinated puppy out on social visits often and provide puppy classes that emphasize socialization. This will help minimize stressful responses to new situations when your pet is older.
While doggie bars and breweries can be great fun, they can also be sources of many canine diseases. Upper respiratory viruses, such as influenza or tracheobronchitis, are easily spread with just one sneeze or cough. If you frequent these establishments, we strongly advise keeping your dog up-to-date on core vaccinations, especially Rabies. An accidental bite or scuffle with an unvaccinated dog may result in quarantine at the least, which is required by law. Intestinal parasites are spread by fecal contamination, so avoiding communal potty areas and having your pet up-to-date on monthly heartworm and intestinal worm protection is imperative. Always bring a “poop” bag with you. There’s also the threat of fleas. They can jump 20 feet, and that is one visitor you don’t want to bring home.
Many establishments that welcome dogs offer food or snacks. If your dog has a blast vacuuming up the floor and begs for treats from susceptible strangers, keep a close eye on your pet at all times while out. Diarrhea and vomiting are often the result of indiscriminate eating. If your dog does get sick, contact your veterinarian if symptoms persist. Also, it is NOT funny to let your pet or anybody else’s drink adult beverages. A small amount of alcohol can be acutely toxic to dogs and may require hospitalization.
Please remember that dogs can quickly overheat, especially when playing hard or even laying for a long time on a concrete pad with minimal shade. Consider bringing your own portable water bowl and don’t leave your animal on hot pavement or in the sun.
Be sure to keep proper identification on your pet at all times. A name tag, a collar embroidered with phone numbers, and microchip will help your pet get home if he or she accidentally gets away from you. Keeping your pet on a leash or harness also limits escapes.
This is a wonderful community with many opportunities to share the fun with our pets. Planning ahead and keeping a watchful eye can make sure everyone has the best time possible.
Originally published September 2018 in the Herald Citizen.