10 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe During the Pride Parade and Celebrations

| June 21, 2024

Toronto is gearing up for a huge celebration of love, diversity, and inclusion during the Pride Parade and Pride Street Fair from June 28 to June 30. Amidst the parades, music, and joyous festivities, many pet parents might be tempted to bring their pets along to join the fun. While pets can indeed be part of these celebrations, it’s crucial to ensure their safety and comfort in such lively environments. Here are some essential tips for keeping your pets safe during the Pride parade and celebrations. 

1. Understand Your Pet’s Comfort Level

Not all pets enjoy crowds, loud noises, and new environments. Before deciding to bring your pet to the festival, consider their personality. If your pet is shy, easily stressed, or has un-easy feelings towards strangers, it might be best to leave them at home in a safe, familiar environment.

2. Hydration and Nutrition

Just like humans, pets need to stay hydrated, especially during outdoor events in the summer heat. Bring plenty of water and a portable bowl to ensure your pet always has access to fresh water. Don’t forget some of their favourite treats to keep their energy levels up and to reward good behaviour.

3. Protect Those Paws

Pavement and asphalt can become extremely hot under the summer sun, posing a risk of burns to your pet’s paws. To test the temperature, place the back of your hand on the ground for seven seconds; if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet. Consider protective booties for your pet’s paws or try to keep them on grassy or shaded areas as much as possible.

4. Avoid Overexposure to the Sun

Pets can suffer from sunburn and heatstroke, just like humans. Ensure there’s plenty of shade available for your pet and consider using pet-safe sunscreen on areas with less fur, like the nose and ears. Keep an eye on your pet for signs of overheating, such as excessive panting, drooling, or lethargy.

5. Make Mindful Costume Choices

Dressing up pets in costumes can be fun, but prioritize their comfort and safety. Ensure costumes allow freedom of movement, easy breathing, and avoid choking hazards. Supervise your pet and remove the costume if they show distress. 

If you’d like to add an extra splash of colour to your pet, pet-safe fur dye can be a fun option. However, it’s crucial to choose products specifically formulated for pets and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Look for dye that is non-toxic, gentle on your pet’s skin, and easy to wash out. Always perform a patch test before applying the dye to your pet’s fur and monitor them closely for any signs of irritation or discomfort. Remember that not all pets will enjoy being dyed, so respect their preferences and only proceed if they seem comfortable with the process. 

If you’re looking for a pet-friendly addition to your Pride costume, check out our limited-edition Pride Bandanas! Available for purchase at 11 River Street, these bandanas come in three sizes and are priced at $10 each. They’re easy to put on and take off your pet, and they’re even large enough for humans to wear, allowing you to match your furry friend in style.

6. Microchip Your Pet

With so many people around, it’s easy for a pet to get lost. Keep your pet on a leash and ensure their ID tags are up to date with your current contact information. A microchip is also a good idea in case your pet gets separated from you. Toronto Humane Society’s Public Veterinary Services provides microchips.  

7. Watch Out for Food and Other Hazards

Festival food can be tempting for pets, but many human foods are harmful to them. Keep an eye out for dropped food or leftovers that your pet might try to eat, and steer clear of alcohol and other substances, such as cigarettes or cannabis buds, that could be within their reach.  

8. Consider the Noise Level

Festivals are noisy, with music, cheering, and sometimes fireworks. These sounds can be distressing for pets. If your pet is particularly sensitive to noise, it might be better to leave them at home. 

9. Be Prepared for Emergencies

In case of an emergency, know the locations of the nearest veterinary clinics. Carry a basic first aid kit for your pet, including bandages, antiseptic wipes, and any medications they might need. 

10.  Respect Festival Rules

Some pride celebrations have specific rules regarding pets. Make sure to check the event’s website or contact organizers to understand their pet policies. This ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. 

For those bringing pets to Pride, Toronto Humane Society will operate a booth at the Pride Toronto Street Fair on Church Street (Between Wood St. and Carlton St.). The booth will provide water for dogs to stay hydrated during the festivities. Operating hours are as follows: 

– Friday, June 28: 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm 

– Saturday, June 29: 1:00 pm – 11:00 pm 

– Sunday, June 30: 1:00 pm – 11:00 pm