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    • 18 May, 2018

    Ask the expert: Walkies down the aisle

    Tanya Madden, our Deputy Head of Animal Welfare, gives her top tips on how to involve your dog on your big day

    With the royal wedding less than 24 hours away and wedding season now upon us, we understand that dog owners might want their beloved pet to be part of their big day, just as they would any other family member. However, there are certain things to bear in mind for this extra special guest.

    • Think about your dog’s personality and whether they will cope with being at the wedding. What are they like when they are with unfamiliar people, in crowds and round children? Are they going to become scared, snap, be stressed or pee on anyone’s dress? A wedding is not a suitable place for all dogs.
    • We strongly  advise not to dress up dogs in outfits because they can be too constrictive, cause overheating and make the dog stressed. If you do want to coordinate your pet with your wedding theme why not use a bandana, fancy collar or snazzy lead? Be sure to check that anything attached to the item (like flowers or a bow-tie) isn’t going to come off and end up getting swallowed.

    • Think about the time of year of the wedding and what the weather will be like. If it’s a hot day, make sure your dog won’t be kept out in the sun or make them walk on hot pavements (remember the five second rule: if you can’t hold your hand on the ground for five seconds then it’s too hot for a dog to walk on). However, if it’s a cold day remember to keep your dog out of drafts and keep them dry.
    • Never leave your dog unattended in a car, a cage or anywhere else.Designate a trusted family member, friend or dog sitter to look after them at all  times and make sure they have access to water. Try to keep their routine as normal as possible and make sure the person taking care of the dog knows them well, how they react to people, what signs to look out for that they are becoming stressed and will know when it is time for them to leave.
    • Make  sure none of your guests are tempted to give your dog a few wedding treats. You don’t want to be clearing up vomit or taking a trip to the vet on your  wedding night!
    • Don’t expect too much from your dog or keep them there for the full day as it will be too stressful. Have them pop in for the key moments but make sure they have time for toilet breaks and quiet time away from everyone. Plan where they will be for the rest of the day and  how they will get there, whether that is to return home or to be with a dog sitter. Remember not to leave them alone at home for longer than they are used to.
    • Make sure your guests know not to constantly fuss the dog – especially if there will be a lot of children around. Your designated dog handler  should know when the dog has had enough and to ask people to give them space.

    We also spoke to Rowan  Williams of wedding, portrait and animal photography business, Parrot & Pineapple, who regularly works and volunteers with Mayhew. She gives us her insight into having a dog at a wedding.

    Photography – www.parrotandpineapple.com

    Styling – www.occasionqueens.com

    Product credits:

    Lead image: Tinker is wearing a floral collar available from www.cupidcollars.com

    Middle image: Kai is wearing a holographic bow tie available from www.barkandbow.com. Pawsecco available from www.woofandbrew.com

    Bottom image: Kelsey is wearing a bandana with bow tie available from www.giddingsgifts.com 

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