Taking your dog to a festival might seem like madness, however, there are multiple dog-friendly festivals all over the UK which bring about a totally different vibe to the festival! Neverworld Festival is an example of a dog-friendly festival in Kent, UK where everyone can take their dog along for the festival experience and it’s such fun! Dogs are a fantastic way of breaking the ice and are perfect for those that might be attending the festival on their own or are perhaps a little more apprehensive to interact with and meet new people. Follow my top tips below for taking a dog to a festival and I guarantee you will have an unbewoofable time!
Tip #1 – Keep Them On A Leash
Most festivals I have been to that allow dogs enforce that all dogs must be kept on a lead – and i think this is totally fair enough. Just because you love dogs and your dog is well trained, doesn’t mean that everyone loves dogs or has a good understanding of dog-owner-etiquette. Festivals are fabulous for meeting new people. and potentially meeting new dogs but with the huge numbers of children and other festival goers dancing, singing and walking around, it can be very over stimulating for a dog.
Not only that, festivals are notorious for rubbish and litter being left on the ground. A half-finished box of cheesy chips or Vietnamese noodles on the floor will smell new and exciting for a dog however could be potentially poisonous or hazardous to them! Keeping your dog on a leash will ensure they can’t get their nose into every piece of litter on the floor or into the inevitable pile of rubbish next to a bin!
Tip #2 – Always Carry Dog Poop Bags With You
This seems like a no brainer, but always carry dog poop bags with you. If you’re bringing your dog to a festival it’s your job to clean up after them! Make sure you carry enough bags on you, preferably compostable or bio based bags to ensure you can be as eco-friendly at the festival as possible. Not only that, make sure you dispose of them in the appropriate way – No one likes seeing bags of poop hung in trees or left on the ground! There may be special bins provided around the festival site for dog waste or alternatively, there may well be composting toilets which are suitable for you to dispose of your compostable dog poop bags!
Tip #4 – Be Aware Of Noise & Speaker Proximity
We all know it’s great fun to be in the thick of the action at a festival, amongst the crowd or near the front and close to the stage to get that all-consuming festival experience. However, dogs hearing is far more acute than our own and if it’s loud for us imagine how uncomfortable that could be for a dog. Make sure you stay further back, away from the speakers and avoid excessive noise.
Tip #5 – Know Their Limits
Your dog might be fantastic around people, love meeting other dogs, and thrives in a heavily stimulating environment. However, every dog has a limit to their attention span, willingness to cooperate, tolerance and good nature. Eventually they will have had enough either they will act up, lash out, or need a good sleep. Know your dogs limits and when you think they have had enough, take them to a quiet area for some much needed rest.
Tip #6 – Carry Water With You For Your Dog
Just like us, dogs will do heaps of walking and exploring during a festival. Always be sure to carry water and a something they can drink out of whenever you have a moment to stop and recharge. When I went to Neverworld Festival we carried a collapsible water bowl around with us to make sure the dog had water available all the time.
Tip #7 – Be Aware Of The Weather
Festivals in the UK have unpredictable weather at the best of times. It’s especially important to make sure that it’s not too hot for your dog. Avoid wandering around with them in the midday sun and make sure that the ground is not too hot for your dog to walk on. If paths are concrete, tarmacked or wood planking, they can be far far hotter than the grass or surrounding air temperature. To test whether the ground is too hot for your dog, simply press the palm of your hand on the ground and ask yourself – Can you keep your hand there for 5 seconds (or more) comfortably? If not, the ground is too hot for your dog and you should not walk them on it!
Similarly, if you have to leave your dog in the car, campervan or caravan briefly for whatever reason, make sure the vehicle is not too hot for them to stay in comfortably. Cracking a window will help slightly but will only do so much if the car is in sweltering sunshine. Try sitting in the car for 5-10 mins yourself, if it’s horrible for you it will be horrible for them!
Tip #8 – If Camping, Take Some Home Comforts
Being in a new environment can be stressful for some dogs. Make sure you take their favourite toy, their crate, their bed or blanket – something which comforts them and makes it feel like a safe space for them. When I went to Neverworld Festival we took the dog bed with us so that she could sleep in comfort in the campervan. We left her in the van whilst we went and saw ShyFX as it would have been far too busy and noisy for her, and when we came back to check on her, she was fast asleep. Taking something that smells and feels like home will mean they are in a familiar bed even if in an unfamiliar setting.
Tip #9 – Be Aware Of Fireworks!
Most festivals will have fireworks of some kind over the weekend. Whether that is during each performers set, or a finale display at the end of the festival, fireworks are a big part of a festival. Dogs, understandably, are not always as keen on fireworks as people and so may be frightened by them. If your dog is not accustomed to fireworks, I would be aware of this!
Tip #10 – If In Doubt, Leave Them Out!
Festivals are such fun with a dog, but if you’re worried about them behaving well, the weather, the noise, or even just whether you and your dog will enjoy the festival experience, then leave them at home or with a friend/kennel. Taking a dog to a festival shouldn’t be an after thought. You have to consider whether you want to take them with you and whether you and them will enjoy the experience!
Sophie – TFB
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