What could be better than going to a baseball game with your best friend? Plenty of dogs love the sights and sounds of being at a baseball stadium, not to mention spending quality time with their people.
Many MLB teams welcome dog owners and their dogs at “Bark in the Park” or “Pups in the Park” events during the regular season.
It’s a dream come true for pet parents and sports lovers like Amy and Rod Burkert, who launched GoPetFriendly.com as a resource for people who travel with their pets. The Burkerts hit the road in their RV full-time about four years ago with their dogs, Ty and Buster, to travel around the U.S. and Canada, checking out pet-friendly hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, beaches, and dog parks, among other places.
Amy Burkert recommends the following five tips to make going to a big-time baseball game fun and safe for everyone:
Follow the stadium’s rules: Check out the stadium’s guidelines for bringing dogs to an event, which are usually posted online. Standard guidelines require dog owners to sign a waiver of liability, produce a copy of the dog’s vaccination records; sit in a designated area of the stadium, keep the pup on a dog leash at all times and come fully prepared to clean up after the dog, says Burkert. Stadiums usually require online ticket purchases for these events.
Bringing your dog to a game has its advantages, too. For example, the Philadelphia Phillies’ admission package for one adult and one dog includes a concession credit, a Phillies dog leash, and a donation to the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). Animal rescue groups often partner with stadiums for dog-friendly games so be sure to check out the group and any “wish list” for donated items that you can bring with you.
Finally, stadiums strictly limit how many dogs can come to an event, so act fast.
Be sure your dog will be comfortable at this type of event:Before you buy those tickets, consider how your dog will react to being in a strange, crowded, noisy place like a baseball game. Not all dogs would enjoy the event. “I wouldn’t take my dogs to one of these,” says Burkert. Ty and Buster wouldn’t do well surrounded by strangers and noise, she explains.
And it can get noisy, especially when the home team scores or wins the game. The Pittsburgh Pirates caution dog owners attending their “Pup Nights” at PNC Park that home runs will be celebrated with “a small fireworks display.”
Consider the heat factor: Stadiums are making an effort to schedule dog events during cooler times, like evenings and early or late in the season, but ball games can still get pretty hot for spectators and their dogs, Burkert points out. Taking frequent breaks to walk around can help keep dogs from getting agitated and overheating.
Be prepared to leave immediately if your dog isn’t doing well: Is your dog telling you it’s time to go? Listen to him. “Your dog may be great for the first four innings,” notes Burkert. “But like toddlers, dogs get overstimulated.” If you’re really invested in watching the game, don’t bring your dog, she says.
Go easy on the dog treats: A dog-friendly MLB game is a special event for everyone, with yummy things to eat at every turn. Be careful not to overfeed your dog in the excitement of rooting for your team.
Image via Shutterstock
Samantha Drake is a freelance writer & editor in the Philadelphia area who writes about pets, business & general interest topics.