Dog friendly music festivals: weekly podcast on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show

This week’s podcast focusses on a dog friendly music festival that Pete is attending this weekend: 

To listen to the discussion, click on the play button at the foot of this page.

Dog friendly music festivals

Why should dogs be integrated with human company and social lives?
  • Dogs are great company in themselves
  • Dogs are wonderful social enablers. If you go for a walk with a dog, it’s easy to stop and talk to another dog owner with their own pet. Dogs take the focus off ourselves, allowing us to have easy conversations with fellow dog owners.
  • Dogs enjoy being out and about with humans
What’s the story about dog friendly festivals?
This summer, the latest type of happening to go dog friendly is the music festival.
In the past, music festivals have banned dogs.
It’s tough enough dealing with 50000 partying humans. The thought of hundreds or even thousands of dogs as well is just too much to handle. There’s so much that can go wrong, from poops, to dogs running free, to dog bites, to dog fights, and plenty more besides. It’s far easier just to say “no dogs” and leave it at that.
This attitude is changing in line with the dog friendly trend in our post-post-modern cullture.
Many music festivals are now allowing dogs to attend, and some are even focussing particularly on their dog friendly credentials (in the USA, there’s a festival known as “Woofstock”).
As long as positive steps are taken to make such events dog friendly, there’s no reason why not.
Examples of simple actions that can be taken include
  • plenty of drinking water points
  • cooling water baths in case dogs overheat
  • rules that stop dogs from being exposed to very loud music
  • regulations to stop dogs causing a nuisance to anyone who’s nervous about animals e.g. dogs being kept on leash all the time, owners obliged to pick up poops
I am the veterinary consultant to the Standon Calling Festival in England,   26th to 29th July, near Stansted airport,
30 miles north of London and just south west of Cambridge.
This music festival (featuring Bryan Ferry, George Ezra, Paloma Faith and many others) has always included a large dog show (400 dogs) with fun competitions (eg “dog that looks most like owner”)  This year they are expanding it to be a generally dog-friendly festival – with areas designated for dogs, paths and zones that avoid crowds and loud music, festival-themed dog tags, dog agility classes, dog portrait artists as well as the usual fun dog show.
There’s even a doggy beer tent, selling dog beer (alcohol free of course)
Rules for dog friendly music festivals
Owners of dogs need to agree to the following:
  • I will keep my dog on a lead at all times
  • I understand dogs are not permitted on The Lawn or in the designated Kid’s Areas
  • I will pick up after my dog
  • I understand if I am deemed to not be taking appropriate care of my dog I will be asked to leave the site

What will be done to make sure that dogs are happy, stress-free and healthy at the festival?

A team of vets from a charity Streetpaws will be on hand throughout the festival. They normally send out teams of young vets to help pets belonging to homeless people. They will help Pete to patrol the festival, making sure dogs are all OK.
The main issue is going to be the risk of over heating in this hot weather, so we have paddling pools, cool tents, and other ways of keeping dogs cool.


What about dogs who don’t want to be at the festival?

People need to be sensible about their pets: if your dog is nervous, overheats easily, dosn’t like socializing with people or other dogs, or is in any way uncomfortable with this type of set up,  you should obviously not bring them along. But even if your dog is the type of animal who will enjoy a day like this, there are ways that you can escape the crowds. Standon Calling is set in the English countryside, and there’s a short public walkway at the edge of the festival that you can stroll down with your pet. It leads to a shallow ford where you – and your dog – can paddle to keep cool.



The walk down to the shallow ford

Pete’s conclusions about dog friendly events like Standon Calling music festival

Dogs are social creatures, and my hope is that in the future, it will be increasingly  normal to include them in our own, human activities. With some thought and planning, they too can enjoy social gatherings. Increasingly, I see dogs and humans (and indeed other animals) as all just part of the same world – One Health, One Life, One World. We are all in this together!


Questions from pet owners

As usual, Pete was asked questions from listeners to the Pat Kenny Show. This week, the following questions were asked. To find out the answers, listen to the podcast at the foot of this page:

1. I have just been roped into a new animal group in my area. My experience is more with dogs. However one guy is adamant on trapping, neutering and releasing wild cats. We did our first the other day. I have concerns about this, as the male cat was extremely stressed and was released directly from vets. Can they not become injured if they get caught up or burst stitches? Help! I’m a bit concerned.

2. What can be done with a dog that is barking out at everyone walking by the gate ?

3.  I’m thinking of adopting hens (I heard your piece earlier this week Pat!) but I also have plans to get a dog. For various reasons I can’t get the dog for another year, but I’d like to adopt the hens now. If I have the hens will the dog get along with them? Or is it one or the other?

4. My 2yr dachshund has twisted his front legs. He is not in pain and energetic but I have been vet advised both for and against having his legs surgically straightened. The vet for says he will develop pain as he ages while the vet against says he will develop arthritis in the legs after the op. I am in a dilemma of what to do, what is your opinion?

5. My golden retriever is bad at drinking his water, I’ve tried putting bread in the water bowl to make it more appetising but it hasn’t done much. Any suggestions? Can I force him? Tina

6. My two dogs, a bichon frise and a finnish spitz (both 10 years old) keep waking me up in the middle of the night. They’re usually not like this but I haven’t been able to sleep through the night in more than two weeks. Could it be related to the heatwave? Joanna

7. My cat recently had four kittens and she is losing a lot of weight from them feeding off her. Is there anything I can do? Will it get worse?

8. Does Pete have any tips on how best to brush a dog with sensitive skin?

Listen to the podcast below.


Listen to the podcast:

Start Podcast

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

Privacy | Terms and Conditions