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6 Tips for a Fun Picnic With Your Dog

Puppy at a picnic.

Puppy at a picnic.

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Nothing says summer more than a lazy afternoon picnic. It’s great to relax amid the sights and sounds of nature—and meals enjoyed outdoors always tastes better. The only improvement on a traditional picnic might be the addition of a special guest: your dog!

To get the most out of your pooch picnic, here are some ideas for making these outings fun and safe:

Walk before your picnic. Picnics are more fun after a good walk, and that includes picnics for your dog, too. Share a long walk then settle down together to rest and enjoy the meal. Your dog will be better behaved and ready to eat!

Check for discarded bones and trash at your picnic area. As soon as you reach the picnic site, do a quick sweep of the area to look for tossed chicken bones, ribs, or rancid meat that could make your dog ill.

Safely tether your dog. Unless you’re picnicking far off the beaten path, you’ll probably be required to keep your dog on leash in the picnic grounds. An extra leash, run through the handle of your dog’s lead and looped around the leg of the picnic table, works great to keep your dog close to the action but secure so he’s not checking out the other picnic tables at the park, too! If you’re having a picnic on a blanket, a waist leash can be a great solution.

Bring your pup’s usual dog food. While it won’t hurt to share a bit of hot dog or fried chicken with your dog, too much food that’s off his usual diet can spell intestinal distress. Keep your dog away from that oniony potato salad, any alcoholic beverages, and other picnic fare that are dog no-nos.

Keep your dog’s food cool. Insulated packs keep your dog’s food cool on hot summer days. This is important for any kind of diet, but especially important if you’re feeding a homemade or raw diet. When the picnic’s done, the dirty dishes are beneath the lid, making packing up the mess as simple as reloading the picnic basket.

Take plenty of water. Some picnic grounds have potable water, some don’t. Always keep plenty of cool water out for your dog. You can even pack a small block of ice to add to your dog’s water dish.

Enjoying a picnic with your dog can be a great way to make summer memories without spending any extra money!
Image via Shutterstock


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Authors of 30+ travel guidebooks, Paris Permenter and John Bigley write about tips for dog-loving travelers.