Is Fido Festival Ready?
By Dr. Wendy McClelland, DVM – CEO & Chief Medical Officer, Vets To Go Mobile Vet Service
Hot days, blue skies and the warm breezes tell me that the Lilac Festival is right around the corner! When the weather turns nice we’re all eager to get out and enjoy the sunshine, and who better to accompany us than our furry friends. But, before you decide to bring your dog along for the fun, there are a few things that you need to think about to help keep your pooch healthy and safe at this year’s festival.
Does your dog have a suitable temperament for Lilac Festival?
One thing Calgarians love so much about Lilac Festival is the music, the food, the buskers, and the crowds. But, it’s important to think about how your dog will handle these types of stimuli and stress in this environment.
Ask yourself these questions: Does your dog get stressed out by large crowds, music, or loud noises? Is he aggressive or anxious in unfamiliar situations with people in costume or small children? Does he have behaviour issues with unfamiliar dogs or small exotic species that festival-goers tend to bring, including ferrets, birds, cats and lizards?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, it’s probably a good idea to leave your pooch at home until you’ve had a chance to work through some of these issues with a trainer.
Is your dog “sized for safety”?
Even large breed dogs can get underfoot at times, while some smaller and medium breeds like shih-tzu’s, beagles, and terriers can go unseen in large crowds of people. If you plan to bring a smaller dog with you, you may need to take some additional precautions to keep them from being injured in the crowds. There are a variety of puppy purses, wearable pet carriers, and pet strollers made for smaller animals available at most major pet stores to help keep them safe.
Is your pet healthy enough to attend a festival?
The Lilac Festival spans 13 blocks along 4th Street between 12 Ave SW and Elbow Drive SW, which on a hot day can be quite a trek for even the fittest dog! If your pet has any mobilty issues, is arthritic, or is severely obese, keep in mind that he might not be able to walk far without fatigue or pain.
Are your pet’s vaccines up to date?
When you bring your dog to any outdoor festival or pet-friendly event, you’ll be in close contact with other dogs, as well as pet waste. Very young puppies that have not received their full series of vaccines are especially susceptible to diseases in the environment, so I recommend leaving them at home until they’ve completed their shots. Also, if you’re not vaccinating your adult dog because he’s immune-compromised, a large crowd isn’t the safest place for him to be.
Is your pet wearing up-to-date ID?
Dogs can easily get lost at large events, so make sure your pet is wearing a collar with up-to-date contact information on it, including a cell phone number to reach you while you’re still at the Festival. Many pets can slip free of their collars, especially when in a stressful situation, so having a secondary form of ID like a pet microchip is extremely important.
If your pet isn’t microchipped yet, I encourage you to make an appointment to have it done ASAP! Your vet will inject a small chip under your pet’s skin that includes a registration number linked to your contact details. The procedure is virtually painless for your pet, and recent stats show that it can increase the likelihood of being reunited with your pet by over 500%! If your pet ever goes missing, the chip can be scanned at any vet clinic or animal shelter to help bring your pet home.
If your pet is already microchipped, that’s great! Before heading out to Lilac Festival make sure your information is up-to-date with your current address and phone number by calling the company that your chip is registered to. You can get the phone number of all major Canadian microchip manufacturers on our website at www.VetsToGo.com/microchip