June is one of the most popular wedding months. Whether we’re the ones getting married, or we’re attending a dog-friendly wedding, there are just a few factors to consider. Other than getting him an adorable bow-tie to wear, we need to consider his demeanor, the venue, the jobs we’ll want to give him, and the best ways to prepare.
Why take Fido?
There may be a couple reasons Fido might attend a wedding with us. Is he in the wedding party? Maybe he’s the ring bearer? Or it might be a destination wedding, and we can’t leave Fido behind. Perhaps he’s a therapy dog and needs to be at the wedding to do his job?
As long as he doesn’t get stressed by unfamiliar people and surroundings, and as long as we’re sure he’ll behave, then having Fido join us as a special guest or to be in the wedding party shouldn’t be a problem. Is he extremely friendly and playful? Or is he excitable? Playful, but well-trained is one thing. Excitable is another behavior that could be problematic.
Is Fido shy and anxious? That might mean he won’t do well in big crowds and new environments. Remember, even though it’s the bride's big day, he’ll be getting his share of attention from all manner of new people. Many of those new people won’t know how to greet dogs, particularly how to read whether he’s anxious and approach him accordingly.
When taking Fido’s personality and his role as one of the more memorable stars of the event into consideration, does it still sound like taking Fido is a great choice?
Are dogs allowed?
Before getting your dog fitted for a tux or dress, find out if:
- It’s okay with the soon-to-be-married couple; and
- The wedding venue allows pets.
For added measure, double check whether pets are allowed everywhere guests are allowed? Or are there designated pet-friendly zones we need to be aware of? For an extra friendly touch, we can check on whether any guests have dander allergies. If it’s a yes, requesting a table that won’t be near them at the reception is a great idea.
If it’s a destination wedding, we’ll need to remember to book pet-friendly accommodations. And whenever possible, we should make the calls to the venue and set up accomodations ourselves. There’s no reason to add to the mountain of tasks the happy couple already has in front of them.
Have treats available. EcoTreats are delicious to dogs, and they’re all-natural, made from premium ingredients, and low-calorie. That means they won’t hurt Fido’s digestive system, are nutritious, and won’t hurt his diet, yet, he’ll be motivated to earn those delicious rewards. Use them for training in preparation for the wedding and at the wedding as a distraction and a reward for good behavior.
How to prepare Fido
Training, whether it’s a refresher or to get Fido past the basics, is the best way to prepare. That means finding, setting aside, and protecting time with a trainer. And remember, even though a trainer can quickly teach Fido all the commands and hand signals for us, our pups will be much more likely to follow our commands and signals if we work with him regularly. That means setting aside time for training, as well as practice.
For those of us who are a little pressed for time, the most important commands to know are “come,” “sit,” “leave it,” and “stay.” He should also be reliable when it comes to not jumping on people. Smiling for photos would certainly be a cute bonus.
What should we watch out for?
Bringing Fido to a wedding means putting him in an uncontrolled environment where hazards abound. While everyone’s focus - including ours - will mostly be on the bride and groom, it’s vital that we also watch out for the following:
- Unattended glasses of alcohol that may be within easy reach. This goes for kiddos and canines, right? But canines are especially susceptible to alcohol poisoning, so we need to keep a keen eye out.
- Unattended plates of wedding cake that may contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as chocolate and vine fruits. We should also make sure if we leave Fido unattended during a dance, and that he is left in the care of someone who knows not to feed him human food and who will be diligent about not allowing anyone else to slip him a nibble. It may seem harmless, but not everyone realizes the impact unfamiliar foods can have on a pup’s digestive system. And many are not aware of just how much food is toxic for dogs.
- Other foods that are potentially harmful to dogs, such as those that are fatty and salty. Sugar-free goodies usually contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs. These are often given away at the wedding reception, so just be aware and diligent, for Fido’s sake.
- Confetti, whether made of paper, plastic, rice, or dried flowers, can cause an intestinal blockage if Fido eats enough.
Having our pooch as a plus one at a wedding will require some work and preparation, even if he is well-behaved, but that furry smile is worth it. Follow this guide, be sure to keep water on hand, keep his favorite toy nearby, respect the venue and guests, and everyone will have a blast.
- “Pet Pointers: How to Include Your Dog,” Bridal Guide
- “12 Tips on How to Include Your Dog In You Wedding. Say YES to the Pet!” American Kennel Club
- “How to Include Your Beloved Dog In The Wedding,” Inside Weddings