June marks Pride Month, a month-long recognition of the LGBTQ+ community featuring parades, gatherings, and other festivities across the country. Whether you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally, Pride Month is loaded with things to do, so you might be tempted to put a rainbow banana on your pup and bring it along with you to share in the celebrations.
Some dogs do better in crowds than others. Some dogs do better in heat than others.
There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to taking your pet to events, so The Spruce Pets spoke with Dr. Rachel Warnes of the Oregon Humane Society about some questions to ask yourself.
What Kind of Event Are You Attending?
Different events have differing levels of dog-friendliness, and an event that is great for one dog might not work for another.
“The number one question I ask myself when I’m thinking about taking my dog somewhere, whether it be out to dinner or to a parade or an event is, ‘Am I doing this for me, or is my dog actually going to enjoy it?’” Warnes said.
Research the parade or event ahead of time to see if they have any regulations related to animals, then think about whether your dog will actually enjoy it. For dogs that don’t like unfamiliar settings, smells, and sounds, the answer might be no.
Other things to consider:
- How do you plan to travel to the event? If you’re taking public transportation or a rideshare, will dogs be allowed?
- How long is the event? Will your dog be happy if you stay for the duration?
- Will restaurants or bars be part of the festivities? If so, check in advance to make sure they allow dogs!
Will Crowds Be a Problem?
There’s a lot to celebrate during Pride Month, and the excitement often draws large crowds. Think about how your dog will handle marching in a parade with a lot of other people and animals.
Dogs who are social butterflies might drink up the attention.
“If they are the type of dog that needs interaction and is super extraverted, they really enjoy these events, so it can be beneficial,” Warnes said. “It’s so enriching for them.”
Others, however, might become stressed-out and agitated.
“You’re also responsible for your dog, so you’ve got to take control of your dog and know, does your dog like other people, does your dog like other dogs?” Warnes said. “Nothing crashes a party more than your dog biting someone when they’re trying to twerk on a pride parade float.”
Can Temperatures Be an Issue?
With record-high temperatures around the country this month, yes, temperatures can absolutely be an issue at Pride events.
Unlike humans, dogs cannot sweat to cool themselves down, so they can become overheated and dehydrated quickly on hot days.
“How they release heat is through panting or through their paw pads, so if they’re walking around on hot cement, they’re not really able to release that heat,” Warnes said.
Hot cement or asphalt can also damage your dog’s paws.
Before bringing your pet to an event on a hot day, think about where the event is taking place. Will there be enough shade? Is the entire parade route along a hot road, or are there grassy areas where you can give your dog’s paws a break?
Warnes cautioned that owners with short-snouted dogs, such as pugs and french bulldogs, should be extra careful, because these dogs can overheat quickly.
If you bring your dog to an event on a hot day, be sure to bring plenty of water and a portable bowl.
Should You Dress Up Your Dog?
Rainbow flags, vibrant costumes, and colorful wigs come with the Pride territory. You might be wondering: Should I dress up my dog?
If your pet is okay with it, it’s fun to include it in the festivities, but be sure to do it safely.
“A lot of people like to dress their pet up in cute costumes, which I also love, but that can add extra heat to the dog,” Warnes said, “So, maybe do a cute bandana or a little tutu instead of a full rainbow fleece outfit, so they’re not completely covered up.”
If you choose to dress up your pet, make sure that your pet is comfortable with it. If they show any signs of being scared or unhappy, don’t force it.
What Precautions Should You Take?
If you’ve determined you’re comfortable with bringing your pet to a Pride event, there are a few things you can do to ensure it stays safe and happy.
Give your dog breaks. Even dogs who love people and other dogs need a break every now and then. During parades and other Pride events, be sure to find some time for your dog to rest in a shady spot away from the excitement of the crowd. Don’t forget potty breaks, too!
Bring a snack. Your dog will burn calories marching in a parade and being active, so bring treats and snacks to keep their energy up.
Water, water, water. While it’s critical on hot days, water is also important on cool days. Bring plenty for both your pet and yourself.
Be conscious of how long the event lasts. Stimulating, hot, and crowded environments can be exhausting for pets, so be aware of how much time you spend at Pride events. If you know you’re going to be out all day, maybe plan to take a pitstop halfway through and drop your pet back at home so they can relax.
“While we can run on Redbull and vodka for the entire month of June, the dog cannot,” Warnes joked.
Cats, Rabbits, and Other Pets
We’ve talked about dogs, how about other pets? While most cat owners would laugh at the idea of bringing their feline companions to a crowded event, some still try. A word of advice from Warnes–leave the cats and rabbits at home.
“I see people try to bring their cats or leashed rabbits to events, and I’ve never seen one that enjoys it,” Warnes said. “I love that owners want to share Pride and celebrate with their pets, because pets are part of our family. But, they can celebrate with them at home, too.”
Warnes’s message applies to certain dogs, too. If you know your pet is going to be miserable at an event, do them a favor and let them stay home.
At the end of the day, though, you know your dog—and what they enjoy—best.
“I wouldn’t say don’t ever take any dog to a Pride event, but just know your dog and know their limits and be responsible,” Warnes said.
Happy Pride, pet parents!
If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Neither Can Your Pet. North Carolina State University.