Labor Day is a holiday that, for many, involves outdoor activities, BBQs, family fun, and being in the sun. If you’re one of these people, and you have pets, below are safety topics to help you avoid a trip to the emergency vet!
1. STAY COOL
While outside, your pet should always have access to shade and fresh water. When it’s warm out, never leave your pets unsupervised while outside for prolonged periods of time. On hot and humid days, keep your pets inside with the A/C on to avoid overheating or heat storke. Common symptoms of heat stroke include excessive panting, red-colored gums, decreased urine production, vomiting, tremors, tissue bruising, black tarry stool, bloody vomit, change in mentation, wobbly gait, and inability to walk.
Don't leave your pet unattended! Whether you are parked in the shade or have the windows cracked, the temperature inside a parked car is always warmer than the outside temperature. When it’s 80 degrees outside, the inside temperature of a car reaches 90 degrees in just ten minutes and 114 degrees after half an hour. Instead of leaving your pet unattended, take turns with family members for one person to always stay with your pet, walking along a grassy area, or resting in the shade.
Having a Family BBQ? If your pet likes to hang out next to you while you grill food, take extra precautions. Don’t let pets lick the grill, grill brushes, or any grease spills. If swallowed, stray wires from grill brushes can migrate out of your pet’s stomach and cause some serious damage. Grease spills often land on sand, gravel, or wood chips. If your pet swallows any of these, it can cause an upset tummy, sand impaction, or other obstruction.
Speaking of grilling, we know you have some delicious food planned for your Labor Day picnics and BBQs. Many human foods can be toxic or hazardous to our furry family members. Common toxic foods that might be at your get-together include grapes, raisins, alcohol, chocolate, sugar-free baked goods that contain xylitol, onions, macadamia nuts, dairy items, and salty, fatty foods like potato chips! Check out the ASPCA’s list of toxic food items here. Pet owners also need to consider hazardous any foods that could cause choking or blocked intestines if swallowed. These foods include corn on the cob, leftover meat bones, or peach pits! Remind guests not to feed your pets and make sure all food ends up in a secure trash such as your curbside trash bin!
While at the camping, keep your dog away from hazards such as campfires, fish hooks, and fireworks. While hiking, keep in mind that dogs can become injured chasing wildlife, stepping in holes, and getting punctures or lacerated from sticks or branches. Don’t let pets drink from stagnant water sources as they may cause diarrhea or gastrointestinal upset. Instead, have a collapsible water dish and use a water bottle to fill. Also, make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and flea, tick, and heartworm preventative. You’ll want to regularly check your dog’s skin, paws, and furs for thorns, burrs, and ticks.
Sprays, lotions, gels, sunscreen, and insect repellent may be safe for humans, but these products can often be toxic when applied to pets. If you are concerned about your pet needing protection from the sun or pesky bugs, talk to your family veterinarian about preventatives and pet-friendly sunscreen!
When it comes to the water, there are a few things pet owners need to consider. First, always make sure the water does not contain blue-green algae. If you spot any, it’s not safe for you or your pets. Once you have established the water is safe, it’s important to make sure your pet knows how to swim and has a properly fitting lifejacket. NEVER assume every animal “just knows” how to swim as this isn’t always the case.
Some cities decide to do fireworks over Labor Day weekend. Many dogs go missing during firework displays because the scary, loud noises cause them to run and hide. To prevent this, we strongly encourage leaving pets at home in a secured, closed-off room. If your pet’s noise anxiety is very severe, talk to your family veterinarian about the best course of action.
We hope you, your family, and your friends and your pets have a safe Labor Day weekend! Remember, if you do travel for the weekend, always look up local animal hospitals and animal emergency hospitals throughout your route so you know where to go just in case something happens to your pet during your travels.