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Pets at the Pride Parade are not a good idea, here's what you should know

Here's some things you should know if you plan on bringing your pet to Pride.
Photo credit:
Ann Eliopulos, DVM

We all consider our pets as a part of the family and we want to include them in almost everything. But when it comes to the Pride Parade in the heat of July, maybe it's in their best interest to stay home. 

Pride officials say that pets except for service animals aren't allowed in the Pride Festival, but the parade is free and open to the public so people are likely to bring them. "We don't encourage people to bring pets but we also don't discourage," they said. "We're neutral on it as an organization."

Undoubtedly some will want to deck their pets out in rainbow regalia and bring them along. If that is the case Bodhi Animal Hospital will host a free Pet Hospitality booth in the California Bank and Trust building parking lot on 5th Avenue along the parade route for animals in need or that just need a break. 

We talked to Ann Eliopulos, DVM of Bodhi Animal Hospital about safety tips and precautionary measures that you should know about if you decide to bring your "kiddo" -- as she calls them -- to the Parade with you. 

Perhaps her most important bit of advice is to leave them at home for the day even against your best intentions. With over 200,000 people expected to attend and the weather as fickle as it is, the unexpected can happen including the worse case scenario. Dr. Eliopulos says you can have your own Pride celebration with them after you return from the parade.

If you insist on bringing them though there are some very important things to do.  

Bring water of course, and plenty of it, the cooler the better, pets only sweat from the bottom of their feet, panting is a way to cool themselves off but in bigger dogs that can be even more exhausting. Harsher still are the "flat-faced" breeds such as pugs who have a harder time breathing in the first place. An umbrella is an excellent way to keep him or her in constant shade, so pack one of those. 

Also, bring booties so your "kiddo" can be comfortable walking on the pavement, it could take hours before they are on a soft surface again and that can take a toll. 

Of course, they should be up-to-date on all their vaccines especially rabies since it is required by law. Not only that if there is an altercation and someone gets bitten, animal control will get involved and could lead to uncomfortable consequences. 

These altercations may happen given that even the most temperate animal's behavior can change when placed in a crowded situation; they may feel anxious or fearful and lash out even if that's not a part of their normal personality. 

"Smaller dogs should be carried at all times," says Dr. Eliopulos. 

Make sure all dogs have a secure collar; one they can't back out of she says. A loose pet in all the excitement and revelry can have devastating results. 

If an emergency should occur visit the Bodhi Animal Hospital booth at the parade or take them directly into the facility which is not far away from the parade. 

Most of all watch for the warning signs says Dr. Eliopulos, "If they start to overheat you may see them become more anxious, start to drool excessively, have an increased heart rate and their gums may turn a darker red." If this is the case get them cool water, shade and to the Bodhi booth immediately. If it's not close by, an air-conditioned vehicle will do. 

Dr. Eliopulos circles back to the best way to honor your furry family member during Pride; leave them at home. "Get your kiddo a Pride outfit, come home and celebrate," she said. 

If that's not what you're planning, here is a checklist of things to bring with you if you decide to bring your furry family member: 

Bring:

  • Plenty of cool water
  • Booties
  • Umbrella
  • A collar your pet can't back out of
  • Know where the Bodhi Animal booth is located: In the California Bank and Trust building parking lot which stretches across 5th and 6th Avenues located at 3737 5th Avenue). 
  • Take note of the warning signs in case your pet becomes overheated
  • Be sure he or she is up-to-date on all vaccines, especially rabies

Bodhi Animal Hospital is located at 2200 University Ave. San Diego, CA 92104. Hours are: Monday – Sunday: 7 a.m. – Midnight

You can call or text them at (619) 225-5838