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12 Tips For A Dog Picnic: A Pooch’s Point Of View!

Written by ADAPTIL Expert, published on May 21, 2024

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Did somebody mention a dog picnic? Too right they did! Just the thought is enough to get my tail wagging.

First though, there’s something I should probably admit… I can be something of a nervous dog! While a nice day out in the park may be easy for some of my canine pals, I can often find the experience a little overwhelming. Whatever you do though, don’t give up on me. A nervous, overexcitable pup I may be, but I still love the great outdoors as much as anyone (or any dog!). So listen up, grab the treats, and I’ll explain the best way to enjoy a dog-friendly picnic.

You did get the treats, didn’t you? Maybe you should give me one now. You know, just to be safe. 

1. Sniffing Out The Perfect Spot

First things first, let’s find a dog-friendly location. It’s important to check if the area you have in mind is welcoming to dogs and if they have any rules for us to follow.

You know how us nervous or overexcited dogs can be. We don’t like too much noise or too many distractions! We want to feel as comfortable as possible, so if it’s all a little overwhelming, better research a quieter spot for our doggy picnic.



Family with their dog at a picnic.

2. Pre-Picnic Adventure

So, we’ve chosen a location, but before we settle down for the picnic itself, a good walk is great for burning off my excess energy! This also gives me an opportunity to explore the area, taking in the scents, sights, and sounds. Knowing our surroundings can help nervous dogs like me feel more relaxed.

3. Shade and Sun Safety

We’ve found a general area, but how about choosing a specific spot for our dog picnic? I need plenty of shade so make sure the spot you choose is suitable. A portable tent or a cooling mat is always great. And if you have any dog sun cream, especially in summer, that’s even better!

On that note, remember that the car isn’t a safe place to leave us. It can get very hot in there and we can’t regulate our body temperatures quite the same way you humans can.

4. Hydration and Familiar Foods

Another important factor for any dog picnic is to bring plenty of food and water. The water will keep me hydrated, while ensuring I have my own food will stop me from getting tempted by your lunch! That’s the idea at least, but let’s be honest here: if you leave your lunch within reach, I’m probably going to eat it. Dogs will be dogs! Just be sure to stick to the usual food I have at home.



Golden retriever holding their food bowl outdoors.


5. Treats for Good Behaviour

Sure, I love food. What dog doesn’t? But treats are even better! They can be used to reward me for good behaviour such as staying calm and relaxed. 

6. Fun and Games

And on the subject of things I love, don’t forget my favourite toys, or even a puzzle or activity feeder! These will keep me busy while you munch on your food. Plus, they’re a good way to keep an anxious dog like me focused on something fun. If you spot the tell-tale signs a dog is anxious, popping down a puzzle feeder can help to keep me distracted from what had me worried.



A boy and a dog playing with a ball outdoors.


7. A Cosy Spot for Rest

A bed or blanket from home that has all of my familiar scents can make me feel more secure. That said, it’s best not to use a blanket for your own picnic. Instead, bring some chairs or have your picnic on a table. This makes it less frustrating for me as I won’t be able to see all your delicious food spread out just out of reach.

8. A Good Lead

As any overexcited dog can tell you, a leash or harness is essential for any doggy outing! Otherwise, we may be tempted to charge off and get ourselves into all sorts of trouble. Make sure it’s a long lead though. This will let me explore while you’re relaxing yet keep me close enough that I’ll be nice and safe.

9. Up-to-Date ID

Look, I’ll be honest with you. Sometimes I can be a bit of a menace as far as my dog lead is concerned. As much as my humans try to keep me secure, I have been known from time to time to slip away. What can I say? I’m a dog! Sometimes we surprise ourselves with our ingenuity.

This emphasises my point that you should make sure my ID tag is up to date. There may be all manner of tempting scents and sounds outdoors, but having a current ID tag keeps me safe just in case I wander away.



Dog at a picnic.


10. ThunderShirt by ADAPTIL

Wondering how to calm a dog down when they get nervous outdoors? I have one word for you: ThunderShirt! My human never takes me out without it. If they spot any of the signs a dog is anxious, they simply slip on my ThunderShirt by ADAPTIL and the calming pressure helps me to relax.

11. Keep the Food Safe

This is becoming a bit of a recurring theme here, but best keep that picnic basket closed and use sealable containers to keep any human food out of reach. Likewise, clear away any leftovers promptly. Some human foods – such as grapes, peach stones, or chicken bones - aren’t safe for dogs.

12. Be Mindful of Other Dogs

Last but not least, be aware of other dogs that might be in the same area. Nervous dogs like me might struggle or become overexcited by these social encounters. It’s good to know how I might react and how to calm a dog down in such situations!

A Grand Day Out

So, what do you think? 12 excellent tips for a successful dog picnic, even if I do say so myself. And remember, knowing how to recognise signs a dog is anxious and how to calm a dog down is key to an enjoyable day out. With a bit of planning, understanding, and pre-picnic training, we can have a fantastic time enjoying the great outdoors together. 

Now all that’s out the way, let’s head out on an adventure! And you definitely have the treats, right? Right?!

Are you looking for more ideas for doggy days out or tips for caring for your dog? Check out our wide range of blogs covering everything from the dos and don’ts of dog parks to tips for helping dogs scared of thunder! You can also stay informed with our latest tips, guides, and product information by signing up to our newsletter.

Following our expert tips will help to ensure your bond with your dog goes from strength to strength.

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