If you love to take fall-themed photos of your dog, you may be looking for a dog friendly pumpkin patch or corn maze to visit.
Photos of dogs with pumpkins and fall decorations are popular on social media, expecially Instagram, but they’re also great memories to cherish for any dog owner.
There are some things you must know before looking up your local pumpkin patch, leading up your dog, and heading out though.
In this article, I will share my tips for visiting a pumplin patch with your dog and offer my insight into capturing the best photos.
Are Dogs Allowed to Visit the Pumpkin Patch?
The rules about dogs will vary by farm and pumpkin patch.
Some never allow dogs on their premisis, some allow dogs only on select days, and some are dog friendly all fall.
In addition, some farms only allow dogs in certain portions of the property.
For example, a farm may allow dogs in their pumpkin patch but not on hayrides or in the corn maze.
For example, there are 12 dog friendly pumpkin patches near Seattle but only 3 allow dogs in the corn maze.
There are a few other pumpkin patches near Seattle that don’t allow dogs to attend at all.
So be sure to check the rules thoroughly before you go so you are not disappointed.
When is the Best Time to Visit a Pumpkin Patch?
Time of year
Pumpkins are pretty hardy winter squash so, although their growth and size is influenced by the weather, they are always ready to be harvested in fall.
So, in regard to when the pumpkins, “will be out”, you can count on them being around every fall from approximately mid September through early November.
In my experience, most pumpkin patches open in the middle or end of September and run through Halloween, or the end of October.
What day of the week is the best for visiting a pumpkin patch?
The day of the week you visit a pumpkin doesn’t matter in regard to viewing pumpkins.
Unlike with tulip blooms, rain or heat won’t change the look of the pumpkins.
However, not all pumpkin patches are open 7 days a week so that may influence the best day to visit.
Also consider that weekends are always going to be way busier than week days so, if you can, I highly suggest visiting tulip fields on weekdays with your dog.
It will be easier to get a photo without other visters in it.
There will also be less distractions for your dog, which means your dog is more likely to “stay” for a photo and be looking at the camera (you).
On the flip-side though, you may miss special events that present unique photo opportunities if you don’t go on a weekend.
In the end, the “best time” is up to you.
What time of day is the best for capturing the best photos of your dog with pumpkins?
Unlike flowers that sometimes close at night and open during the day, pumpkins look the same no matter what time of day you are viewing them.
However, in regard to photography, there are more and less ideal times to capture memories.
Most photographers will agree that sunrise and sunset, when the light is warmer and softer, are the best times of day to capture stunning photos.
In the afternoon, when the sun is directly overhead, the sunlight is harsh and can cast extreme shadows.
If you are “lucky”, the weather will be overcast, but not rainy, all day.
I like to call these days nature’s “softbox” in regard to lighting.
All day, the light is diffuse, soft, and minimizes harsh shadows, making every moment prime lighting time for photography.
So, on a cloudy, or mostly cloudy day, you have plenty of options to visit and take photographs.
On a sunny day, stick to morning between sunrise and about 10 am or a couple hours before sunset.
Note: check the pumpkin patch hours because not all will open early enough, or stay open late enough, to make both of those an option for you.
Are Pumpkins Toxic to Dogs?
Althugh I am sure that no pumpkin patch wants your dog to bite into, or chew on, the pumpkins in their field, it is likely that your dog will encounter stems and pieces of pumpkins on the ground during your visit.
If you are worried that pumpkin is toxic to dogs, don’t.
Dogs can safely eat pumpkin pulp, rind, seeds, and stems.
However, do beware that just because pumpkin pieces are not toxic to your dog, it is possible for your dog to choke on a piece (especially the stems since they are more difficult to chew).
Also, pieces of pumpkin laying on the ground at a farm, may be contaminated with mold or manure.
While a healthy dog’s digestive juices can often break these “contaminants” down to the level that they won’t harm your dog, dogs with sensitive stomachs, or compromised immune systems, may get sick.
General Tips for Visiting a Pumpkin Patch with Your Dog
No matter which pumpkin patch you are visiting, there are some general etiquette rules and best practices.
Scope things out before hand
If you plan to visit a pumpkin patch at sunrise or sunset to photograh your dog, it’s best to visit the field on a prior occasion to check it out.
That way you can deterime where the best pumpkins are and where sunrise or sunset light will hit the pumpkins best.
At the very least, arrive as early as you are allowed for sunrise, or arrive a couple hours before sunset, so you can scope out the best place to take a photo before the best lighting occurs.
Mind your dog’s manners
All pumpkin patches require that your dog be kept on leash, are not aggressive or disruptive, and that you pick up after them.
But also, don’t let your dog damage the pumpkins or pumpkin fields.
This means, don’t let your dog dig anywhere in the field or chew on the pumpkins or other fall displays.
Voice control may be ok for short periods
Wile official rules state that all dogs must be on leash when visiting a dog friendly pumpkin patch, the truth is that a lot of dog owners don’t like the look of their dog’s leash in photos.
An easy way to keep a leash out of photos is to remove it for the photo.
Definitely do this at your own risk but, in my expeirence, it can be done safely and without getting you in trouble.
Just make sure your dog can reliabily follow the command stay/wait and has an impeccable recall (always comes back everytime you call).
Always put your dog’s leash back on after the photo and before you move to a new location.
Beware of distractions
There are likely to be a lot of dogs at dog friendly pumpkin patches.
What’s more, these are often working farms so farm animals including goats, cows, horses, chickens, and rabbits may be free-roaming the grounds or present in enclosures.
There may also be guests visiting with cats or other animals.
Be sure to stay aware of your surroundings and keep your dog in leash (or under strict voice control for a brief moment while the leash is off for photos).
Prepare for mud
Even on “dry” days, pumpkin fields and corn mazes can be muddy.
Even if it didn’t rain, irrigation water can create mud puddles and morning dew can make the fine, clay-like soil stick to everything.
Bring a towel to wipe off your dog’s feet, and follow these other muddy-dog tips, to help keep your car clean.
If you’re going somewhere afterward, bring a change of clothes. Unless it’s a garden partier mud fight.
Bring the right gear
Did I mention that pumpkin fields can be muddy?
For your dog, use a biothane leash if you have one so you can easily clean it off after your visit.
If you are bringing a bag to carry stuff and might be setting in on the ground, a cotton canvas bag or purse may not be the best choice.
I would suggest using a plastic bag or bag of other material that will wipe or wash off easily.
You may also want to consider wearing rubber boots.
Fall is a great time to capture photos of your dog among the pumpkins.
The cooler fall days means that it’s unlikely that your dog will overheat while visitng a pumpkin patch so you may be able to spend a few hours there searching for the best photo opportunity and waiting for the best lighting.
While some farms charge a fee to enter, most seem to allow you in for an unlimited time period for that fee.
I hope my tips for visiting a pumpkin patch with dogs will help you have an enjoyable time, and capture great ph0tos of your dog, on your next visit.