June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the identities of the LGBTQIA+ communities and reflect on the importance of community, visibility, and individuality. This year, Pride parades and marches are due to make a major comeback as we can safely gather again in public spaces. Read on for tips on how you can participate with your pup, too.
Many cities celebrate Pride Month by hosting local parades or marches. Some solemn, some ceremonious, these events commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and their place in the LGBTQIA+ community and United States history.
Unsurprisingly, dogs also have their own unique place in Pride march history, providing support, companionship, and levity to participants. Pups of Pride remind us that we’re united in our uniqueness as much as we are in our commonalities.
Whether you’re marching in a parade or supporting from the sidelines, pups can be the best companions and bring extra joy to those around them. Plus, the added steps could mean a good workout for you and your pup. That said, parades of all kinds can draw a big crowd filled with loud music and LOTS of stimulation. Not all dogs might be comfortable in these conditions and might have a better time supporting you from home.
While some pups love to be the center of attention and the life of the party, others prefer open space and quiet. If your pup skews towards the latter, consider letting them stay home or choose a smaller event where you know there will be less of a crowd.
Even social dogs may be overwhelmed by a parade, so if this is something you’re concerned about, make plans to expose your pup to the celebrations gradually and have an escape plan if they don’t seem to be having fun.
Dogs can get overwhelmed by large crowds, flashing lights, loud music, and lots of people in costumes. So, it’s best to plan your route (or your day out) in a way that you can give your dog a break from the action if they need one. Breaking away might even mean that you need to take your pup home and head back to the festivities while they enjoy some downtime and air conditioning.
If your dog does seem to be handling the event well, it’s still important that you check in with them throughout the day. They should be relaxed and happy and not show any signs of stress or overwhelm. A dog that is uncomfortable might lick, yawn or shake, or even try to walk away from the action. Some dogs have a "tell" when they are tired and want to go home. They might vocalize or become mouthier —biting at the leash or even your bag or clothes.
You know your dog best, so listen to them carefully and give them breaks when they need them (or end the experience altogether). Other things to consider throughout the day include the temperature and schedule. For example, if you know your dog does not like loud music, try to keep them away from stages, speakers, or live musicians as possible. If your dog doesn’t handle the heat well – consider having them join you for the coolest part of the day and avoid having them out at the peak of the day’s heat. Having these plans in advance can help ensure that you and your pup have a fun day together.
Before you head out to celebrate, you’ll want to gather up some essential supplies. Pack your bag with sunscreen (for you and your pup if they need it), water, and a portable bowl for your dog, a towel or cooling mat, in case it gets hot, and you need to sit and rest, and some treats for your pup. If you’ll be out for a long stretch or are traveling to an event, you might need to pack your dog a meal or two to enjoy on the road.
One of the most fun parts of Pride parades is the fashion. If you want your dog to participate and wear some pride-themed gear, it’s important to pick something in which they will be comfortable (and cool if it’s hot). Bandanas and cooling vests like this tie-dye one from Canada Pooch are great choices that will keep your pups comfortable and dressed for the occasion.
Remember to supervise your dog closely while they wear a costume or clothing to keep them safe. You don’t want your dog getting stuck, overheated, or otherwise injured by their outfit.
Now that you have made a plan, you’re ready to celebrate Pride with your pup. Remember to be respectful of the other people and dogs who are also out celebrating. Ask before allowing your pup to say hello to the other dogs on the parade route (or even other people). Watch your pup to make sure that people (or dogs) aren’t getting into their personal space in a way they do not like. It is your responsibility to advocate for your dog and keep them safe and comfortable.
Remember to have a great time and take lots of pictures with your best friend.
Celebrating Pride and heading to a parade with your pup? We love to see it! Tag us @Ollie on Instagram so we can like all of your photos!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out Ollie.com.
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