It’s Mardi Gras time in Louisiana and that means it’s time to “Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!” Are you taking part in a dog parade and not sure what to bring and how to do it safely? Don’t worry, we have you covered with some excellent tips!
Dog parades are quite busy and distracting environments. There will be tons of people, small children, and of course tons of dogs! If your dog is shy, nervous, or aggressive it’s best to leave them at home as they may be overwhelmed. Even the friendliest and most easy going dogs can get overwhelmed. Be sure to pay close attention to all the dog’s body language. Watch for signs of stress such as avoidance, yawning, lip licking, stiff body language, and whale eyes. Those signs may indicate that your dog needs a break.
Make sure to have your dog wear properly fitted equipment for the parade. We recommend using a flat buckle collar, martingale collar, or harness for walking. Leave the retractable leashes at home. Retractable leashes can easily get tangled in a crowd or snap, which could result in a loose dog. Instead a 4-6 ft nylon or leather leash can be used. Be sure to also bring poop bags when walking your dog to clean up after them.
Dog parades discourage throwing food to the crowds, but you can bring treats to reward your own dog for good behavior. In order to help your dog focus in such a distracting environment we recommend using a treat pouch with high value treats. High value treats that we have success with include: plain boiled chicken, hot dogs, string cheese, or freeze dried liver. We recommend using small treat sizes and chopping your treats into tiny finger nail size pieces.
With our unpredictable Louisiana weather it may be hot the day of the parade, be sure to bring water and a water bowl for your dog. It’s a good idea to provide frequent water breaks and watch for signs of heat exhaustion. Signs can include: faster, heavier panting; excessive thirst or drooling; decreased responsiveness; glassy eyes; increased pulse/ heartbeat; elevated body temperature and staggering, weakness, collapse, seizures and/or unconsciousness. If you notice any of these signs, be sure to give your dog a break and contact the nearest pet emergency clinic.
Lastly, be sure to have fun! That’s what Mardi Gras is all about!
Dog Parade Dates and Times:
Krewe Des Chiens – February 23rd @ 2pm in Downtown Lafayette
Baton Rouge –
CAAWS Mystic Krewe of Mutts Parade – February 17th @ 10 am – 4pm