Caitlin UltimoPet Lovers / Pet Parenting

Tips for Planning a Picnic With Dogs

How to Have a Successful Picnic With Dogs

Fresh air and outdoor activities do a body good—for both people and animals alike. And when you’re enjoying the great outdoors, having your furry family members with you is like combining the best of both worlds. A picnic with dogs is a great way to spend time outside with family, friends and your four-legged companions. Before you hit the road with your pups in tow, it’s important to plan accordingly to make sure that your afternoon outdoors is safe and fun for all.

4 Essential Steps for a Pet-Friendly Picnic

  1. Find the Right Spot

    The perfect location should be a pet-friendly picnic spot that doesn’t pose any dangers for your pup. According to Sally A. Morgan, PT and CST at Holistic Physical Therapy for Pets and People in West Hatfield, MA, “First, you should check [for] plants in your area that could be toxic to your pet. This… includes common [vegetation] such as azaleas, rhododendrons, lilies, tulips, daffodils and the sago palm.”

    While some dogs are naturally inseparable from their owners, others have a wandering spirit, especially when in a new area that offers plenty of unfamiliar sights, smells and sounds. While a well-fitted collar and leash usually do the trick during walks and brief moments outdoors, it’s important to consider options that will allow you to keep your pooch nearby and in sight at all times during your dog picnic. “Bring along a blanket, beach towel, etc. for your pet to [lie on] out of the grass,… away from ticks, biting ants and other pests,” says Morgan. The are convenient tools that provide a safe and secure play area for pets of all ages, indoors and out. Configured with hinged panels and made with sturdy metal wire, the Frisco Dog Exercise Pen with Step-Through Door is a convenient easy-to-use doggie play pen that comes equipped with metal anchors and folds flat for easy transport, leaving you to enjoy the day stress-free.

  2. Keep Cool

    When searching for the ideal spot for a picnic with dogs, finding a well-shaded area is key, especially on hot or humid days. “Make sure to set up… in the shade so that your pet will stay cool. Shade is very important for your pet’s comfort,” says Morgan. In addition to shielding them from direct sunlight, be sure to provide your furry best friend with enough water to stay hydrated all day long. The Petmate Silicone Round Collapsible Travel Pet Bowl is a durable pet bowl that makes giving water on the go simple and easy. With its collapsible design and non-porous silicone material, this bowl is perfect for any outdoor adventure.

  3. Share Your Snacks

    We all know that no picnic with dogs is complete without the proper snacks to make the outing official. From fruit and veggies to finger sandwiches and more, there are plenty of food options, but for a pet-friendly picnic, be mindful of the foods that you can share with your furry companions. “I avoid grapes, chocolate, raisins and other foods that could harm my pet. I bring hard-boiled eggs… or some cooked turkey or chicken to share with my dog, as well as raw, cut-up vegetables [like] carrots, celery, green beans, broccoli and cauliflower,” says Morgan. Having the proper utensils can make the experience much easier and more enjoyable. The Outward Hound Port-A-Bowl Pet Bowl is a convenient and durable doggie option that can be easily tucked into any backpack or purse pocket for easy retrieval.

  4. Encourage Some Physical Activity

    Exploring nature with your four-legged friend is a great way to combine being out and about with yummy snacks and bonding time. Although picnics usually bring an afternoon of relaxation and lounging, it’s important to remember your dog’s needs.

    Give your pup the opportunity to stretch his legs throughout the day by taking him for a walk every now and then—remembering to avoid hot cement or pavement. Avoid high-intensity exercise during very hot or humid days when pets can easily burn or overheat in extreme temperatures.

    When taking your pup for a walk, keep the surroundings clean and sanitary by picking up whenever your dog does his business. With the help of Frisco Dog Poop Bags + Dispenser, you can keep these durable and leakproof dog poop bags conveniently rolled up and stored for use.

    Some pups might get tired and need a little help from their humans when taking a stroll. The Outward Hound PoochPouch Dog Backpack is a helpful and dog-focused spin on the traditional backpack to help you carry your pup and his necessities, hands-free, while on the go. This comfortable and convenient pet carrier is a soft-yet-sturdy solution for dogs up to 20 pounds when embarking on an outdoor journey.

Picnics with dogs give you a chance to have fun spending a little outdoor time with your four-legged family member. When seeking out the ideal location, be sure to keep your pet in mind as your pup can’t speak for himself in terms of his needs and preferences. For more timid pets, be sure to select a location that is far from loud noises and in a well-shaded area free of harmful pests and plants. Providing your pooch with positive reinforcement, attention and interaction, especially for first-time picnic goers, is key in helping him associate the event with plenty of fun while allowing you to create fond memories of an enjoyable day spent outdoors.


Dominika is a Chicago native who graduated from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in English. Having nearly a decade of combined experience in the fields of marketing, journalism, UX and social, she thrives in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of digital media. When she is not working, Dominika can be found at the beach, traveling the world or cuddling her female Rottie named Ezra. 

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