Can I Bring My Dog To A Parade

Can I Bring My Dog to a Parade? Advice from Our Vet Expert

Medical Contributor:

Dr. Madison Lopp

Jun 19, 2024

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There’s nothing like a parade to bring a community together, and you might want your dog by your side as you celebrate. After all, that’s your little bestie! So, let’s go over some considerations to make sure you and your pet can have a good, safe time!


Make sure your dog is microchipped. Too often dogs can break loose from your arms or a leash and run like the wind. Especially in crowds or if there are other dogs around to chase. 

Check the weather report. If it’s going to be too hot outdoors, have your pet sit this parade out. Heat exhaustion, dehydration, or burned paws due to hot roads and sidewalks can happen quickly. ER veterinarian Dr. Madison Lopp suggests, “One good way to test if it’s too hot is to do the palm test. If you place your palm on the asphalt and it’s too hot for you, it will be too hot for your dog.” 

Think: is your dog okay in crowds? You know your doggo best. Consider if he or she is socialized and able to be around a lot of people. Dr. Lopp understands the desire to bring your pet, but cautions, “If you have a dog with high anxiety and is nervous around people, it may be best not to take them with you.” 

Keep your dog on a leash. Dr. Lopp recommends a standard short leash instead of the retractable kind. This way you can keep your little pal close to you at all times. If the leash is too long, you risk tangles, nipping, accidental ingestion of foreign objects, and more. For smaller dogs, you might use a “K9 sports sack”  or a pet backpack. Just make sure your dog is used to being fastened in and carried around in that fashion, otherwise he or she might panic. 

Consider how your dog is around kids. You might be wondering if it’s best to muzzle your dog in a crowd, especially one that’s likely to be filled with babies, toddlers, and young children. Dr. Lopp recommends only using a muzzle if your dog is trained well and he or she is used to being muzzled, since it should only be used  as a precaution. But one point that can’t be overstated: if the dog is prone to biting, the dog should not be at a parade. This might be a sad realization to some dog owners but think of the ordeal you’ll be involved in if your dog does bite someone.

Avoid loud noises. Parades are exciting yet noisy. Revving engines, beeping horns, sirens, even fireworks may be a part of a parade. If your dog gets overly excited or is jumpy at loud noises, consider watching the parade from a distance. 

Watch what your dog eats. Food scraps, garbage cans, and plates at eye level are all for the taking when you’re a dog in a crowd. Choking on a foreign object like a BBQ skewer or a corn cob will mean a trip to the pet ER, and fast! Monitor your pup at all times to avoid this common dog emergency. 


If your dog eats food or an object that seems to be stuck in his airway, look to see if you can pull it out. Dr. Lopp warns, “There is a risk of your dog biting because he or she will be in a state of panic as they’re struggling to move the object along.”  

The main action to take is to bring your dog to a VEG emergency room. Some dog owners think to use hydrogen peroxide to make their dog vomit, but Dr. Lopp does not recommend doing this as it can damage the esophagus lining or the dog might swallow vomit, leading to aspiration pneumonia. To best help a choking dog, a VEG emergency veterinarian will perform a physical exam and determine if sedation, a scope procedure, or surgery is needed to safely remove the object.   


If you’re taking your pooch to a parade on a hot day, best to know what heat exhaustion looks like in dogs. Obviously you’ll want to bring lots of water for you and your dog, but know the signs that will tell you if your dog is too hot. 

Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Increased breathing rate – when your dog is panting more than usual, it’s time to find shade or a cool spot.
  • Seeking shade – you may find your dog seeking out shady spots or cooler areas. Take this as a sign that he or she is feeling the heat.
  • Drooling – some dogs will show excessive salivation as a sign that they’re overheated. Offer water and take your dog to an area where he or she can cool down.
  • Diarrhea – if your dog had loose or watery bowel movements, this is a sign of heat exhaustion and possible heat stroke. If you can pour cool, not cold water on your dog without startling them, do so. You’ll want to take your dog to a VEG pet ER to be checked for heat stroke.
  • Vomiting – this is a sign of advanced heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Get to a VEG emergency vet hospital immediately. 


Our top-rated veterinary staff is here to help your dog with expert emergency and urgent vet care. Save us to your contacts to save precious time. Follow us on social for veterinary safety and health tips too. If you have any pet emergency, we’re here 24 hours a day. No appointments taken, just call and let us know you’re on the way. An ER-trained veterinarian can answer any questions you have about your dog. Once you’re in our open-concept animal hospital, we’ll get to work to triage your pet immediately. You’ll be relieved that you can stay with your dog the entire time too!