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As spring unfolds and the days get warmer, we’re more and more inclined to spend our weekend outdoors. And what better way to enjoy the sunlight than by going on a picnic? Better yet: a pet-friendly picnic. But before you dust off those sunnies and get ready to soak up some nature, here’s what you need to prepare.

The first thing you’ll want to do is pick a pet-friendly location. A spacious park or green area can be the perfect place to chill with your pooch – or it may be that you get invited to hang out in a friend’s garden. Whatever the plan, check if dogs are allowed and prepare to keep your pet on a lead (or tethered to a tree) if the situation calls for it. Ideally, your pooch will be free to roam around off-leash and play with fellow canines, but better pack your longest leash just in case!

With all the food and snacks laid out within easy reach, even the most saint-like dog would be tempted to steal a bite. That’s why packing your bag with plenty of doggie treats is paramount. Apples, bananas and blueberries make great snacks for the furry ones and for low-calorie options, try carrot sticks and broccoli florets. Make sure your pup doesn’t ingest anything dangerous or toxic, though, such as chicken bones, grapes, chocolate or onions – and keep them hydrated with a bowl of fresh water.

If mentioning the word ‘park’ is enough to make your dog go mad, go for a walk around the area as soon as you arrive so he can let off steam and gradually take in the new smells, sights and people. An exercised pet will also be less tempted to bark, dig and just generally get out of control. So once you’ve explored the area together, you’ll both be ready to settle down and join the rest of your party.

Tips to keep your furball happy and entertained the whole way through include bringing along their favourite blanket (familiar smells always help) as well as toys. This is where a KONG comes in very useful, especially when you’ve stuffed it with biscuits, liver paste or just plain peanut butter (pop your stuffed KONG in the freezer a few hours ahead).

On days when it’s extra hot and sunny, choose a spot that is well shaded. That way, your dog’s little ears or nose won’t get sunburned (or your own, at that!). Last but not least: packing poo bags is indispensable. We love bio-degradable bags like these ones.

As you can see, there’s no need to leave your furry friend behind on a sunny day. Tick these pointers off your list and your day will be picture-perfect.