Dogs in Weddings: 10 Tips for Planning the Pawfect Day

Must have tips for including your four-legged friend in your wedding day.

By | Posted: June 13, 2014, 8 a.m. PST

When you tie the knot you want those nearest and dearest to you by your side – and if one of those happens to be your family dog, there is no reason why they should not share in your big day. But there are several things to consider when it comes to making the day perfect for you and your pet.

Bride with dog
"There are more risks at a wedding for a pet than just an average party, but I think as long as the planners are aware of the issues, then everything will be fine,” says Nick Thompson, who runs HolisticVet.

Here are ten top tips for making sure your big day, including your much-loved dog, goes without a hitch.

1. Do a reality check. Before you do anything else, ask yourself if your pet can handle being part of your celebration? If your dog is shy and uncomfortable around strangers or in social situations then it would be better to leave him or her at home where you know they are safe and happy. There are other great ways to make your dog’s presence known without him actually attending.

11 Ways to Include your Dog in Your Wedding, Without Your Dog>>

2. Tell all. When you send out your invitations, make people aware of the part your pet will play in the wedding, just in case anyone is allergic to or afraid of dogs. Also, make sure everyone in the wedding party is comfortable with your plans. The last thing you want is the best man or bridesmaid on edge because they are frightened of dogs.

3. Vet your vendors. Check that the individual officiating the wedding is fine with animals and that all the venues you want to book are dog-friendly. Also, alert your photographer, videographer and wedding planner to their presence.

4. Stop and smell the flowers. If you are having flowers, make sure they are not harmful to animals by consulting your florist. Poisonous plants include Baby’s Breath, Tulips, and certain types of lily. Keep an eye out for other toxic or potentially problematic items when you visit venues.

Plants and Flowers that are Poisonous to Dogs>>

5. Get fur- real. Have a clear but realistic idea of what you want your pet’s role to be. Perhaps your dog will carry the rings or maybe he will walk with the bride down the aisle to the groom. Make sure it is a role you know they would be comfortable doing and practice it so you don’t have any nasty surprises on the day. Take training for any new skills slowly and keep it positive.

6. Take a break. Make sure there is a quiet space where your animal can go if it becomes overwhelmed or stressed. Make sure you have supplies to clean up any little accidents.

7. Take charge.  Put someone your pet knows and trusts in charge of its welfare – especially what happens to it after it has played its part - so that you don’t have to worry and spoil your day.

8. Feeding Frenzy. Ensure that people know not to feed your pet "treats” from the tables, if your pet is around, and make sure it has its own food and water readily available.

"There is usually a lot of chocolate at weddings and raisins in wedding cakes, which are potentially toxic to some dogs,” Thompson warns. "People also often have little favors at wedding receptions and they can very easily be swallowed by dogs if they get a bit excited.”

Avoid the tasty-looking sweet snacks and stick to healthy raw treats, says a representative from Natures Menu.

9. Have a curfew. It might be wise to send your pet home to bed before any loud entertainment, especially fireworks, begins. And don’t forget to plan who will be taking care of them if you are going on honeymoon.

10. Wag your tail. Lastly, on the day itself, if things with your pet don’t go to plan, try not to get stressed about it and just enjoy your celebrations!

Tara Greaves is an award winning journalist with more than 15 years' experience. She specializes in green lifestyle, profile interviews and general features. Follow Tara @taragreaves.



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