Is Your Dog Ready To Tailgate With You?

Truck DogImage by BentWright via Flickr

The football season is in full swing and tailgaters everywhere are all ready to out “gate” the guy parked next to them. They do this by having having more food, a bigger TV, better beer, and a dog??? It may seem strange at first but if you prepare properly, your dog could be the best tailgating companion you have ever had.

Bringing your four-legged pal along to a tailgate takes proper preparation and you have to know how comfortable he/she is around large numbers of people and a pretty consistently loud environment.

Here are some things to do or consider before bringing your pup to a tailgate:

First and foremost, before even thinking about bringing the “Tail” to the tailgate, be absolutely certain there is a safe, cool place for your furry buddy to stay when the game starts. The beginning of football season can be downright hot in most parts of the United States; too hot for a dog — or any animal — to sit in a vehicle for the duration of the game. Also, a loud, crowded stadium is no place for most dogs, if they’re even allowed to enter. Even if it’s cool enough, you’ll want to take a break from the action several times to check on your dog. Ideally, it’s best, if you’re going to include your dog in the tailgating festivities, that you or someone you and your dog can trust implicitly will be staying at the tailgating site for the duration. That’s not a bad job seeing how they’ll be able to catch the game on a portable TV or the radio.

If your dog doesn’t like crowds let him stay home, and please, please, don’t bring your new puppy! That’s too long of a time and too much sensory overload for a young dog to handle. Socializing is an important part of a dog’s life and a puppy’s development. Excessive stimulation can set your dog’s tolerance and enjoyment of the social scene back, or even destroy his ability to cope with large groups of strangers completely. Once you’ve got those logistics handled and you’ve established a game plan to assure your dog’s safety and comfort, the real preparation begins.

Make sure you:

  • Have a quiet place for your dog to retire to, where he won’t be bothered.
  • Have plenty of fresh water available.
  • Take a supply of his regular food.
  • If your dog is crate trained, have his crate available.
  • Keep your dog leashed — for his own safety, and make sure you’re using a collar or harness that he can’t slip out of if something suddenly spooks him.
  • You or someone trustworthy should be close by your dog at all times.
  • Don’t let anyone give him any cooked bones from the food or any other potentially hazardous “treats”.
  • If you are tailgating with children, make sure they are ‘dog-proofed’ and won’t be giving your dog anything he shouldn’t have.
  • Make sure your canine first aid kit is stocked and easily accessible.
  • Be certain there is a way to store the food so that it is inaccessible to your dog!
  • Don’t forget the pooper-scooper!

Including your dog in a tailgate party requires thoughtful preparation and honest evaluation of the situation and your dog’s comfort levels with social situations. However, if you do your due diligence it can be a good experience, especially if you’ve drawn sentry duty at the party site while everyone else goes to the game. You’ll have good company. Man’s best to be exact.

This guest post provided by Shellie Copeland of