By Meagan Brown, Critter Care Specialist
As the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day is a great excuse to get outdoors and celebrate with your family and friends – including your four-legged ones. Whether you’re attending a party, barbequing or just soaking up some rays, it’s important to keep your pet’s safety in mind. Here are some tips to help protect pets during the “Dog Days” of the season.
Barbeques are probably one of the most popular Memorial Day activities, but remember that cookouts can bring with them potential dangers for your pets, including citronella torches, grills and a bevy of food and drinks. Be sure to keep alcoholic beverages away from animals, and remind guests not to give them any table scraps or snacks. Be aware and keep your pets away from dishes that may contain raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and avocado – they’re all especially toxic to animals.
Be Cool Near The Pool
Never leave your pets unsupervised around a pool or lake – not all dogs are expert swimmers. If your pet seems like they would enjoy a swim, introduce them to water gradually and make sure they always wear floatation devices when on boats.
Also, try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains potentially dangerous chemicals like chlorine. Many pool chemicals will cause burns to the mouth, throat and stomach, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your pet when they are around the pool. Also, be sure to keep any extra chemicals stored out of paws’ reach.
Skip The Spray
Unless specifically designed for animals, insect repellant and sunscreen can be toxic to pets. Signs of repellent toxicity include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. DEET, a common insecticide in products for humans, may also cause neurological issues in dogs.
Made In The Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so if you’re spending time outside, ensure that they have plenty of fresh, clean water and make sure that they have a shady place to get out of the sun. You’ll also want to note that pets with flat faces – like Pugs and Persian cats – are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with those who are elderly, overweight or have heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Time spent outdoors comes with the added risk of curious pets escaping. Pets spooked by fireworks may also bolt out of fear. Make sure your pet is fitted with a microchip or ID tag with identifying information, or (preferably) both. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Keep An Eye on Your Road Trip Companions
If you will be traveling with your pets this Memorial Day weekend, make sure to never leave your pets in your car unattended, and keep a close eye on any personal items stashed in your car that your pet might ingest (e.g., gum or medications.)
As we celebrate this holiday, we also want to stop and reflect on the men and women who have sacrificed for our country. Have a happy, safe and healthy Memorial Day with your loved ones!