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Should You Bring Your Dog?

Summer in Chicago brings a lot of outdoor fairs and festivals. These can be great opportunities to have fun with your canine companions, but there are many things you  should consider before hopping in the car. Temperatures can get pretty high. If you plan to go out with your dog, take into account the area you'll be visiting. Hot blacktop and concrete can be very painful to bare paws. Take a good look at your dog. If your dog is older, unwell, or very young, s/he would probably be more comfortable at home.
Your dog's personality is another thing to think about. If your dog is nervous around large crowds, cars, loud music, or has aggressive tendancies, you probably should leave him/her at home. These events can be great socialization opportunities for older puppies, but don't expect a pup to be able to stay with you at a full-day or long event. Consult with your vet about the right age to start taking your puppy out and about, and make sure s/he is up to date on shots. Puppies and older (6-8+ yrs) dogs are more sensitive to heat.

Things to Bring
This is a list of things we suggest you bring to festivals/fairs. 
Things in bold are important items, others are extras or less essential.

  • A bottle of cold water and a bowl
  • Pick-up bags
  • Your dog first aid kit
  • Dog treats
  • Dog booties (if dog will be on hot concrete/blacktop)

What to Expect

Chicago festivals are notorious for their crowds. Many people will assume a dog in public is friendly (and s/he should be if taken to festivals), and many children will pet without asking first. This is a good opportunity to help educate them about dogs- they should always ask first before petting a dog. Expect lots of discarded food and garbage on the ground, as well as people sitting with their food at a dog's eye level. Most festivals have loud music. Some, especially those held downtown, have mounted policemen.
Because of all the potential distractions, festivals can be a great place to work on training your dog around distractions. If you plan to visit a festival and work on training, I would recommend visiting early or during 'off hours' when there are slightly less people and staying around the edges to avoid interruptions of people asking to pet the dog- unless of course you are working on a ' controlled greeting ' or socialization with people.

Where to Go
If you know of any upcoming dog-friendly festivals,
please email us or use our Event Submission Form

See Chicago Canine's  Event Calendar for festival listings.
NOTE: Even if a festival is listed as dog-friendly, it's best to call beforehand when possible to doublecheck.

You can also find Chicago-area events listed at these websites:

*Remember, obeying leash laws and cleaning up after your dog  
is the best way to help keep Chicago dog-friendly!*


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