Including your pets in a wedding is relatively easy.
It’s becoming increasingly popular to include pets in a wedding retinue. And, while doing so might have its challenges, at least your pet is not going to complain about the bridesmaids’ dress and shoe selection.
Cats, like children, could be wild cards and unpredictable in their actions on the planned day. Unless you are getting married at home and have a really mellow cat who will happily walk on a leash and be cooperative, it’s probably a better idea to only include her in the wedding photographs. The same could probably be said for birds. It’s all very well having your parrot sit on a groomsman’s shoulder, until it poops….
Fortunately, a well-trained dog could be the perfect ring bearer or flower pooch. If you want to include your dog in your retinue, there are certain wedding petiquette considerations to take into account. Here is a quick checklist.
- Make sure the ceremony and reception venues are pet-friendly.
- Discuss your pooch’s role in the ceremony with other key players, such as parents and other wedding party members to ensure no one is scared of dogs or allergic to dog hair.
- It’s a good idea to have several practice runs at home before the final wedding rehearsal. Some dogs are well trained enough to come down the aisle on their own. If yours isn’t it’s a good idea to have him walk on a leash with someone he knows.
- A cute little flower girl and an Old English sheepdog might make a wonderful Instagram moment; however, you need to ensure they match each other in weight otherwise the dog could sweep the child off her feet.
- If you are planning to entwine fresh flowers on a leash or add a garland around your dog’s neck, avoid flowers that are toxic to animals, such as lily-of-the-valley, daffodils, narcissus, sweet peas and tulips.
Dogs are very intuitive and sometimes pick up on the nerves and emotions of the moment. Pheromone-based calming sprays, such as Comfort Zone, could help to calm doggy nerves.
- Make sure canine members of the wedding party go for a walk and a bathroom break the ceremony begins.
- When the ceremony is in progress, keep treats handy in case an exuberant pup needs distracting.
- After the wedding vows, an elderly pet might be tired and prefer to be taken home rather than attend the reception. However, if you plan to let your pet be present, ask guests to refrain from slipping any tidbits under the table. When they’re excited, dogs tend to overeat and could get sick. Instead, provide special doggy cake and biscuits, and lots of fresh water.
- And if you are planning on having several doggy guests at the reception, it’s a good idea to have a pet sitter on hand to take charge.
About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Catster, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats