Annual dog festival returns and it’s everything we need right now

A bunch of dogs running the forest
If the sight of these pooches doesn’t cheer you up, nothing will (Picture: Getty)

The past year has been difficult for festival organisers, with most big events cancelled in 2020.

But there is some positive news on the horizon – dog lovers, this one’s for you.

Dogstival, the annual festival that celebrates the beauty, grace and talent of pooches in the UK, is returning.

Originally held in May each year, organisers have just confirmed new dates for the first weekend of September.

The canine event will be hosted outdoors in New Forest, with social distancing measures in place to protect visitors and their dogs.

As always, it will feature fun activities, shows and demonstrations with pups of all breeds, shapes and sizes.

Pooches can go for a swim in the K9 Aqua Sports Pool, and humans can do stand-up paddle boarding with their pet, while another area will be dedicated to scent work, agility, flyball and working dog scurries.

Scott Miller, resident vet on This Morning, will also be present, to share tips and tricks on how to look after puppies, senior dog care, first aid for pets and more. The celebrity vet is joined by Charlie Dixon from New Forest Vet, as well as animal surgeon Michael Hamilton from Hamilton’s Referrals.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: 94% of pet owners say their animal pal makes them smile more than once a day.

Image of a brown-haired German Shepherd
Just look at that beautiful face (Picture: Dogstival)
Dog jumping through a hoop at Dogstival
A canine with skills (Picture: Dogstival)
Dog owners who need help training their canines can also visit the Dog House Behavioural Stage to get personalised advice on how to gain a deeper understanding of their animal’s general wellbeing.

And let’s not forget the shopping.

If you want to spoil your pooch, this is your chance – there will be 150 stalls selling everything from treats, toys and training tools.

Meanwhile, there is a vintage fairground and live music planned for the humans.

Scott Miller, resident vet on This Morning holding two puppies
Scott Miller, resident vet on This Morning will be on hand to give tips on pet care (Picture: Dogstival)
A beautiful furry dog in black and white
The event welcomes dogs of all ages and breeds (Picture: Dogstival)
Dogstival has worked closely with New Forest District Council and Hampshire Police to ensure that the event follows government guidelines in lockdown, with hand sanitiser stations and cleaning teams on-site every day. ‘We are truly delighted to start planning for Dogstival in September to ensure a much-deserved day out for our beloved pets – and their humans of course,’ said Richard Nowell from Lighthouse Marketing and organisers of Dogstival.

‘Being outdoors and with acres of space to socially distance, we are confident in the level of public safety and we will of course be investing in a wide range of hygiene measures to protect our guests.’

Keep Them Active. Energy varies between breeds, says Dr. Becker. “Greyhounds, Labs, Golden Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers, Border Collies, and other active breeds have unfathomable energy.” He continues, “wolves spend 80% of their time awake, moving. With cats, there’s not such an exercise requirement,” but providing outlets for play at home is still crucial. For both cats and dogs he recommends food-dispensing that “recreates the hunt,” and puzzle feeders that engage your pet’s “body and mind.”

Tickets cost £13.90 for adults and £8 for children aged six to 16 (anyone younger can go for free) and must be purchased ahead of the event, in order to comply with ‘track and trace’ requirements.

Concessions are also available.

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