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How do you make your big day even more special? Have your pup join in the festivities and stand by your side as an extra addition of love and comfort!

Pet Expert Erin Askeland, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA of Camp Bow Wow, North America’s largest and most trusted pet care franchise, lends her expertise to Southern Bride on safe and memorable ways to include your furry best friend into your wedding. Read her top seven tips below!

Personality Matters: It is important to consider your pet’s personality when making the decision to incorporate him into your wedding. If you have a free-spirited animal, he may resist walking down the aisle in a manner that you’d prefer. Assign someone to walk with him to avoid any mishaps. To prevent an overly hyper dog at your wedding, take him to Camp Bow Wow where he can run, play and exert lots of energy during the days leading up to the wedding. If your pet is nervous around strangers, limit his role and have him leave after the ceremony. If you have a friendly dog, allow him to stay for the reception.

Training Day: Take your pup to the location of your wedding weeks in advance, so that he becomes well acquainted with the area. Allow him to practice walking down the aisle and reward him with a treat afterward. This will provide Fido with an incentive to do so with ease on your big day.

No Dogs Allowed: Unfortunately, very few religious and indoor venues will allow dogs on location other than service animals. Be sure to check in advance that pets are allowed on the premises. If you are open to an outdoor wedding, including your pet may be an easier option.

Give a Heads Up: Be cautious of guests with pet allergies, as a dog could make the experience of attending your wedding unpleasant. Warn your family and friends in advance that your dog will be in attendance.

Doggy Chaperone: Don’t leave your pet unattended. Designate someone as the dog’s sitter or hire a Home Buddies Professional to take on the responsibility of walking and caring for your pet during the wedding.

Safety First: If you decide to dress up your pup, make sure that his costume does not constrict his breathing or movement in any way. A decorative leash is a great option for pets participating in weddings, as this is something that your pet is probably already accustomed to.

Feed Me: Have dog food and a bowl of fresh water handy at the reception to ensure that Fido is well fed. Make sure your pet doesn’t sample human food, as this could lead to health

Images provided by Camp Bow Wow

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