12 tips for a fun picnic with your dog

Looking for something to do with your dog? Why not take him on a picnic? He will love spending time with you outdoors and you can have an amazing day, if you do it right. Here are some tips to make the day extra special.

Plan ahead

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to predict what the weather will do on the day, but there are a couple of other things that you can plan for.

  1. Before you do anything else, you need to find a place where your dog will be welcome. You don’t want to have to go back home because Rufus isn’t allowed at the picnic site. Also, rather look for a venue where dogs are kept on-leash. An uninvited guest can be bothersome at a picnic site.
  2. Once you know where you’ll be going, find out if you should book space in advance, and what the opening and closing times are.
  3. Also find out what kind of facilities are available, for instance: are there any braai spots, running water, and an area where your dog can run and play?
  4. Ask about shade – are there shaded spots to have a picnic, or should you bring an umbrella or gazebo to make your own shade? You don’t what your dog to suffer from heatstroke.
  5. Once you have a good idea what the area looks like, and what you may and may not do, do some planning around the activities. The more you plan in advance, the better your packing list will be.

Picnic at home

If you have never taken your dog on a picnic, then it is a very good idea to have a picnic at home first. Plan and pack as if you’re going on a real picnic off-site. This will help you to figure out what you need to plan, pack and do on the day of the real picnic.

What to pack

  • First aid kit – this is a must, and you need to ensure that it is fully stocked and that nothing has expired.
  • Your dog’s vet card – you will need this in case of an emergency or accident.
  • Ideally, you want your dog to be microchipped, in case he gets separated from you.
  • Water from home, in case there is no fresh water supply.
  • Bowl from which to drink.
  • Poop bags – you need to clean up after your dog.
  • Collar or harness with a nametag, and a leash.
  • A safety jacket, in case you go for a swim and your dog is allowed to join you.
  • Extra towels if your dog will be swimming with you.
  • Blankets or his bed, for him to take a nap on.
  • His favourite chew toys and other toys to play with.
  • Food for you dog. You can take his normal food, or you can treat him with food that is dog friendly and won’t upset his tummy, like chicken breast pieces.
  • Take some of his treats along as well.
  • Fruit and other foodstuffs that you can share with him, like watermelon and apple slices.
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen, especially if your dog has a white coat.


On the day

  1. Depending on the length of the journey, make sure that there are adequate stops for your dog to stretch his legs along the way, relieve himself and have a drink of water.
  2. Put on your dog’s leash before you let him out of the car and take him for a walk before you get to the actual picnic spot. This will allow him to burn off some energy and have a good sniff around.
  3. Choose a spot where your dog will be able to move around somewhat, and where there’s an area where he will be able to take a nap, and some shade. If your dog is sensitive to noise, choose a spot away from other noisy areas.
  4. Once you’ve chosen a spot, make sure that the spot is safe and there aren’t broken pieces of glass, leftover bones or other hazardous items lying around.
  5. For his safety, keep him on-leash all the time. Depending on his energy levels, take him for short walks and allow him toilet breaks away from the picnic area. Don’t forget to clean up after him.
  6. If there are braais, make sure that your dog doesn’t get too close and burn himself.
  7. After you’ve packed up, take your dog for one more walk to burn off any newfound energy before the drive back home.



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