How to Plan the Perfect Dog Friendly Picnic

dog friendly picnic

As devoted dog parents, many of us can’t imagine going on an outdoor outing without bringing along our furriest companions. So as you’re planning a fun picnic in the park this summer, don’t forget to pack the things you’ll need for your best pal!

We’ve consulted with our in-house expert on all things canine, Sparky, to help you decide what to bring on your dog friendly picnic so that both you and Fido will enjoy the day.

To Eat and Drink

Dog Friendly Picnic Foods: Many of the refreshing fruits and veggies we love to have at picnics are healthy and nutritious for dogs, too! Safe picnic foods for dogs include:

  • Watermelon

  • Blueberries

  • Strawberries

  • Apple

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Cucumber

  • Celery

  • Carrots

Any of these foods, when fresh and uncooked, are excellent snacks you can share with Fido. However, anytime you are feeding human foods to your dog, there are three important points to remember:

1. The seasonings and spices we use are often not safe for dogs. For example, fresh broccoli is fine for your pup, but cooked broccoli covered in garlic? Not so much!

2. Everything in moderation. If your dog eats half a watermelon all at once, that will almost certainly give them tummy trouble — no matter how healthy watermelon is!

3. Food allergies. Dogs can have random allergies, just as humans can. While fruit and veggie allergies are relatively uncommon, it’s still possible that your dog may surprise you with an allergic reaction to a normally harmless fruit or veggie. Any time you give your pet something they haven’t eaten before, watch them closely for signs of allergic reaction.

Dog Food: The safest way to ensure your best pal has a delicious meal at your picnic is to bring him his own meal of simple, raw goodness made the way nature intended. Fido will likely be begging for your burger; save yourself from his pleading eyes and sneaky schemes by feeding your pup his very own Beef Burger meal!

Water: It’s important to make sure your dog stays hydrated at your picnic. There are many convenient products out there for packing water for your pup, such as water bottles with a built-in doggy bowl or collapsible dog bowls. Or, you could always stick with a simple metal bowl with a bottle of water.
However you source the hydration, it’s crucial for your dog to have plenty to drink while having fun in the sun!

For Your Dog’s Comfort

Doggy Bed or Blanket: No, you don’t need to haul out a whole mattress for your dog (although you could) but giving your dog a soft surface to lounge on keeps Fido comfortable during those lazy afternoon naps at the park!

Shade: If the area where you are picnicking doesn’t have a gazebo or good tree cover, both human and canine picnickers may appreciate some shade. A tall umbrella or two should do the trick, or even a pop-up canopy. Remember that dogs can get sunburned too, especially if they are short-haired (or hairless!) and have pale, pink skin.

Towels and Wet Wipes: A few old towels you don’t mind getting dirty are crucial for cleaning a muddy, messy or ketchup-covered dog! Or, though we hate to say it, your adorable best pal may just find something stinky and dead to roll in…

Poop Bags: Even if you’re in the “great outdoors” it’s still important to tend to Fido’s “call of the wild.” Responsible picnickers leave nothing behind but flattened grass and a few crumbs for the ants.

For Entertainment

Dog Toys: Long-lasting chew toys, or puzzle toys that can be filled with high value treats, are excellent ways to occupy your pup if he’s getting underfoot ( while the food is being plated, for example).

Active dog toys like balls and throwing discs are fun to have at a picnic, too! Just make sure you choose a bright-colored toy that you can easily find if it’s thrown into the grass or trees and your dog can’t find it.

Dog Treats: All dog parents know that the key to your pup’s heart (and the key to getting his attention back on you) is through his stomach. Pack a few bags of Nature’s Advantage protein rich, single ingredient treats to fuel your pup through the picnic (and distract them from the scent of your sandwich with a tantalizing treat of their own!).

Available in conveniently sized and resealable bags, pack Fido’s favorite natural treats — from Savor’n Salmon to Lovin' Beef Liver, Freeze-Dried Minnows and more!

For Safety

Dog ID and Emergency Contact Info: Have your dog’s information on hand, and absolutely make sure he has his ID tags on his collar. That way, even if Fido does decide to check out someone else’s picnic or runs off with another dog, their people can call his people!

First Aid Kit: Whenever you are outdoors, there’s always the chance of cuts, scrapes or your dog stepping on a painful thorn. Even a small first aid kit may come in handy, and a well-stocked kit is best.

Tie Out or Collapsible Dog Fence: The best way to prevent disaster and keep your pup safe is to always be in control of your pup’s environment and movements.

If you don’t want to keep your dog leashed to your side the whole day, and you’re not in a position to give him your full attention in case he wanders, put your pup on a tie out or inside a temporary fence for his own safety and for your peace of mind. This is especially important if Fido doesn’t have a rock-solid recall (“come when called”).

Spare Leash: It always happens: right when you most need your dog to be leashed, something snaps or breaks. Be sure to bring a spare, just in case. 

Other Safety Considerations

Toxic Plants: Know which plants in your area are toxic to dogs, and have the number of ASPCA Poison Control on hand to call. For most plants, your dog would have to eat quite a bit to become seriously ill, but you still don’t want to take chances with your best pal’s safety.

Fire Dangers: A picnic often means a cookout. If there’s a grill, barbeque, or campfire at your picnic, watch your dog closely. You don’t want your curious pup to singe himself or knock over the grill. (Or even pull a flaming branch from the fire and chase your friends with it!)

Picnicking is a classic family experience — and since your pups are part of the family, it’s only right they should join in, too.

Make sure you pack the above items when preparing for your picnic with dogs, and you and your best pals are sure to have a fantastic time!

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