Dogs and Tailgating? 8 Tips for a Good Time

Tailgating can be fun for humans and dogs alike. Check out these top tips to make sure everyone has a fun (and safe) time.

It’s finally football season, and the Good Dog Hotel & Spa team in Indianapolis is excited to join in on all the fun. Are you ready to break out the spirt wear and get your tailgating groove on?

Tiki is ready for some football and safe tailgating.
Tiki is ready for some football and safe tailgating.

Whether it’s in your living room, a neighbor’s backyard or an onsite parking lot, tailgating is a tradition that brings fans together to enjoy food and fun, no matter the final score. But what about your dog? Should you include him, and if so, what should you be aware of?

We asked Tiki, our Good Dog Hotel & Spa ambassador, for some sound tailgating advice. Here are his eight tailgating tips for pet owners.

  1. Make sure it’s dog-friendly. Before even considering taking your dog to a tailgating party, make sure she’s welcome. You don’t want to show up, only to be greeted by posted signs that say “No Dogs Allowed.” Make sure your host is okay with dogs, or if it’s a public area, see if there are sections specifically meant for us.
  2. Consider our feelings. We know sometimes you love to show us off, or maybe you feel guilty for leaving us at home. But remember that some of us just don’t like crowds, noises and constant activity – especially when we’re puppies. As tempting as it is to take us, if we do better with routines and a quite atmosphere, please leave us at home. If you do take us, make sure there is a quiet place where we can take a break if needed. And if I’m crate-trained, bring my crate along – it’ll make me feel safe and happy.
  3. Bring along dog food. Tailgate parties aren’t parties without lots of food – and not the pet-friendly kind. Bring the food that I’m used to (please include some treats). And keep an eye on all your friends – especially children – who might tempt us with human food that can make our tummies upset or be bad for us.
  4. Make sure we can cool off. We love to bask in the sun just like humans, but we also need to be able to cool off. Make sure we have plenty of water available to us, as well as access to shade.
  5. Don’t forget the toys. We know humans like to play games at parties, and so do we. But we’re not very good at corn hole. Make sure you bring something for us to do too, like Frisbees, tennis balls or any of our other favorite outdoor toys.
  6. Keep us leashed. There is so much activity going on at tailgating parties, most likely we will want to run and explore. But cars can come out of nowhere, and loud noises are everywhere. Keep us on a leash at all times (attached to something stable), but make sure we have plenty of room to move without feeling too constrained.
  7. Have first-aid supplies on hand. Accidents happen, and just as you would be prepared for an injured human, make sure you have some supplies on hand for us too. A good first-aid kit for dogs can include things like gauze and bandages, any medication I’m taking, sting ointment, hydrogen peroxide, an eye dropper, towels, and a muzzle.  Also, make sure you have my veterinarian’s phone number and a copy of my ID handy, just in case.
  8. Don’t forget to clean up. Humans can get really angry if they step on a forgotten pile of, well … you know. Have plenty of plastic bags handy (and don’t forget the pooper scooper). The better you clean up after us, the more likely we’ll be invited back.


Do you have any football parties in your future? If so, will you include your dog? What are some things you do in preparation, and do you have any tailgating advice for other dog owners? We’d love to hear about them – please leave your comments below.


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