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Having Your Dog in the Wedding? Pet Pro Shares the Do’s and Don’ts

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Considering including your furry best friend in your big day? Check out this advice from a doggy expert!


Are you considering including your dog in your wedding festivities? While it can be a lovely way to celebrate with your furry best friend, there are some important considerations to remember to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Dog Behaviorist at Pooch & Mutt Dr. Emma Scales-Theobald, Ph.D., shares the do’s and don’ts of including your dog in your wedding, from making sure your dog is adequately trained and socialized to creating a comfortable and safe space for them during the event.

Wedding Doggie Do’s 

Successfully including your pup in your wedding starts with proactive planning and preparation. Dr. Emma shares her top advice for keeping your dog safe, happy, and disruption-free on the big day.

Consider your dog’s temperament and personality when deciding whether to include them in your wedding. “Not all dogs are well-suited to loud, crowded events like weddings,” cautions Dr. Emma. “If your dog is anxious or easily overwhelmed, it may be best to leave them at home. It’s important for dog owners to understand their dog’s body language and behavior cues. Signs of stress, anxiety, or discomfort in dogs can include panting, pacing, whining, lip licking, and avoidance behaviors. If a dog is showing these signs, it’s important to remove them from the situation or provide them with a safe space to retreat to.”  

Ensure your dog is leash-trained and crate-trained before the wedding. “A well-trained dog is less likely to cause disruptions or become a distraction during the wedding. Make sure your dog is comfortable on a leash and is crate-trained if you plan to crate them during the event.”

Consider your dog’s dietary needs and schedule when planning your wedding. “Make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water and that they are fed at their usual times,” recommends Dr. Emma. “Bringing along some of their favorite treats can also help keep them calm and happy.”

Have a plan in place for potty breaks. “Make sure your dog has a designated potty area throughout the event. You can consider designating a responsible family member or friend to take your dog outside for potty breaks as needed.” 

Ensure your dog is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations before the wedding. “It’s important to remember that large gatherings of people and other animals can increase the risk of disease transmission,” says Dr. Emma. “Make sure your dog is protected by keeping their vaccinations up to date and ensuring they are in good overall health.”

Check with your venue to see if they have any specific rules or regulations regarding dogs. “Some wedding venues may require that dogs be kept on a leash at all times, for example, or may not allow dogs in certain areas of the property. Make sure you’re aware of the rules and regulations so that you can plan accordingly.”

Provide plenty of exercise. “Make sure your dog has plenty of exercise and playtime before the wedding to help reduce their energy levels and prevent them from becoming restless or bored during the ceremony.” 

Bring familiar items. “Consider bringing familiar items, such as their favorite toy or blanket, to help your dog feel more comfortable and at ease during the event.” 

Have a backup plan. “Despite your best efforts, there is always a chance that your dog may become overwhelmed or behave unexpectedly during the wedding. Have a backup plan in place, such as a quiet room or a designated pet sitter, in case you need to remove your dog from the event.”

Faux “Paws” for Pets at a Wedding

If you want your dog’s inclusion in your wedding to go smoothly, knowing what to avoid is as crucial as preparation. To assist in the process, Dr. Emma highlights critical mistakes to avoid.

Don’t force your dog to participate or interact with guests if they seem unhappy or uncomfortable. “Remember that not all dogs enjoy being the center of attention, and not all guests may be comfortable around dogs. If your dog seems hesitant or uninterested in interacting with guests, don’t force them to do so.”

Don’t overlook your dog’s outfit. “If you plan on dressing your dog up for the wedding, make sure the outfit is comfortable and properly fitted. Avoid any accessories that may be choking hazards or restrict their breathing or movement. Booking a grooming session ahead of the big day so your dog looks and feels their best will also prevent any muddy paw mishaps.” 

Don’t forget dog waste bags and cleaning supplies to clean up after your dog during the wedding. “Bringing along extra waste bags and cleaning supplies can help ensure that your dog doesn’t cause any disruptions or mess.”

Don’t let your dog near human food or beverages during the wedding. Keep your dog away from potential hazards, such as food tables or decorations that may be tempting for your pup to explore. This will prevent your dog from ingesting harmful substances or foods and causing potential health problems. 

Don’t forget to designate a quiet area for your dog to rest during the wedding. “Weddings can be overwhelming for dogs, especially those unfamiliar with large crowds or noisy environments. Make sure to designate a cool and quiet area for your dog to rest, away from the hustle and bustle of the event, particularly on hot days.” 

Don’t forget to have a plan for transporting your dog to and from the wedding. “Make sure your dog is safely secured during transport and that you have a plan in place for getting them home after the wedding. You may want to consider hiring a pet-friendly transportation service or enlisting the help of a friend or family member to make things easier.”

Puppies and Nuptials

A wedding is a day that celebrates the beginning of a new chapter for a family. Since many consider their beloved pet an integral part of their family, it makes sense to want to include them in the festivities. But like all wedding matters, a bit of forethought can go a long way to ensure a magical, memorable day for everyone.

Anyone planning to include their pet in their wedding should start with Dr. Emma’s expert advice. With the proper preparations in place, there’s no reason your furry best friend can’t enjoy the day every bit as much as you and your partner!


Sam is the creator of the personal development blog Smarter and Harder. His mission is to start exciting new conversations that empower people to improve their work, lives, and money, and have fun doing it. In all things, he strives to lead with positivity, understanding, and more than a bit of enthusiasm.