Dogs and Picnics

How to stop your dog from gate-crashing picnics in the Park

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Have you ever been for a walk in the Park, only to be mortified when your dog runs off the lead, leaps onto someone’s picnic tablecloth, laid out neatly on the grass, and devours the quiche and the pork pies? I guess that now you’ve resorted to keeping him on the lead on his daily walks, just in case?

Most of the UK parks, unless designated as dog-free or purely for doggy use, are for everyone’s benefit, and as dog owners, we need to be respectful of this fact.

Walking in the Parks

You must still keep walking your dog and make the walk as much fun as possible. During the picnic and bbq season, it may be wise to invest in a retractable, long lead and, if possible, avoid the busy periods at the Park. Work on and practice your recall training before the Park gets busy and take some of his favourite pet treats and have them to hand, and keep him rewarded for his good behaviour. Consider taking your dog to the countryside or the beach if you have more time on a weekend.

Does your dog rummage for food?

It’s an instinctual behaviour for a dog to hunt out and steal food. Dogs learn to scavenge in the wild to survive, so if he spies any unguarded food, he will unwittingly make a beeline for it.

Suppose your dog is constantly hungry and tends to eat anything within his sight. In that case, you need to be extra careful when out on a walk and in the location of picnic or BBQ food, as several dangerous food products could cause a problem if your dog manages to eat them. Make sure your family and friends are also aware of these food threats and ask them never to give your pet any food items without your permission.

Be aware of the following dangerous food items that may trigger a reaction or illness in your dog if ingested:

  • Raisins and Grapes
  • Cakes and biscuits that contain the artificial sweetener – Xylitol
  • Sweetcorn – corn on the cob
  • Peach or plum stones
  • Chicken bones or fatty snacks

The sooner you spot that your dog has eaten any foodstuffs, the easier it is for you to take the necessary action to obtain treatment for him.

Safety in the Park

Now that you’ve decided to walk your dog later in the day when all the picnic-makers have packed up and left for home, be conscious that your dog may sniff out and scavenge for discarded bones and rubbish left at the picnic site. Keep an eye out for any rancid meat, ribs or chicken bones that may have just been tossed aside, and not placed in the litter bins, as these too can make your dog ill.

The best advice we can give is to be aware of your dog and take responsibility for their behaviour. Enjoy your walks to the Park this summer with your best buddy.

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