Should I Take My Tail-Wagger to a Tailgate?
It's tailgate season, and you may be thinking about taking your dog to the outdoor festivities. Tailgates are fun, active events, filled with happy people and the smells and tastes of mouthwatering food. At first glance, it sounds like the type of gathering your pooch will love. But the very things that make tailgates fun for people, can also make them potentially dangerous for pets.
The hustle & bustle of the crowd
Some tailgates take place in crowded spaces with lots of people coming and going. This can be an intimidating environment for some dogs. If you use the words “shy,” “timid,” “insecure,” or “fragile” to describe your pet, you may want to leave him in the security and comfort of home.
At a loud, active tailgate event, even outgoing, party-loving dogs can feel overwhelmed, so you may want to bring his crate to provide a safe haven.
Keeping your dog close
Another detail to consider is how to keep your dog safely near you while you’re partying. This means a leash that can be securely attached to something stable, like a big table. After all, you don’t want to be holding his leash for the duration of the festivities—and you certainly don’t want him to get loose and wander around!
The length of the leash depends on the size and activity level of the place where you’re tailgating. If the leash is too long, your dog could interfere with the 2-legged revelers, making things uncomfortable for them if they don’t share your love of dogs. Plus, a too-long leash could put your dog in harm’s way if people don’t see him and step on his tail or accidentally jostle him.
If the leash is too short, however, your pet may feel constrained. And that can easily lead to him whimpering in discomfort.
Food and water
Tailgates mean grilling up burgers, hot dogs, and other meats, and enjoying everything from chips and dips to soda pop and beer. This menu may make your mouth water—and, yes, your canine companion probably loves munching on grilled meat—but this isn’t the healthiest diet for your dog. Straying from his standard diet can cause tummy aches, diarrhea, or worse problems. Remember, chocolate (a favorite snack at tailgates) can be fatal to dogs if they eat too much!
Even if your pet seems to tolerate table scraps well at home, at a tailgate he may get a mega-dose of human food from well-intentioned people who see him licking his lips in anticipation.
The best plan is to bring plenty of fresh water for your pet and enough of his favorite dog food and treats to keep his belly full and appetite satiated. That will make it easier for him to resist the savory, flavorful, and fragrant temptations of the grilling burgers, hot dogs, steaks, sausages…