Labor Day is fast approaching, and many of us are looking forward to a long weekend full of block parties, barbeques and soaking in the last few drops of summer sun.
We know you’ll agree that holidays are much more fun when we celebrate with the four-legged members of our family, but pet parents should note that many beloved Labor Day festivities and foods can be downright dangerous to our animal companions. So this weekend, as you say goodbye to summer, keep your pets happy and healthy with these safety tips in mind:
Mind the dog days of summer. It may be September, but the weather is still hot, hot, hot. Animals can become dehydrated quickly, so be sure your pets are getting plenty of water over the weekend—especially if they’ll be enjoying the holidays outdoors. Make sure your pet has a shady place to escape the sun, and avoid letting your pup linger on hot asphalt. Your dog’s body can heat up quickly and sensitive paw pads can get burned.
Stash the sunscreen—and the bug spray, too. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in serious problems for pets, including drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy, while the misuse of insect repellents that include the chemical DEET can lead to neurological problems. Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of pets’ reach, too. And never apply sunscreen or insect repellent to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.
Grilling? Keep matches and lighter fluid out of paws’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which can damage blood cells and result in breathing difficulties or even, in severe cases, kidney disease if ingested. Lighter fluid can be irritating to the skin and, if ingested or inhaled by a curious pup, can produce gastrointestinal irritation, central nervous system depression and aspiration pneumonia.
Leave the treats to the humans. Labor Day is the perfect time for backyard barbeques—and the tasty treats that come with them. While it may be tempting to serve your pup some scraps from the grill, remember that any changes to your pet’s diet can result in severe digestive ailments. Keep them away from raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and sugar-free products made with the sweetener xylitol, as these holiday favorites are toxic to pets—and never leave alcoholic beverages unattended where your pet can reach them.
Celebrating Lakeside? Buy your dog a life jacket—and use it. If you’ll be boating or spending time by the beach, lake or pool, never leave your pets unsupervised around the water. Just like with people, it’s easy for your pup to develop a cramp in her leg while swimming, become exhausted too far from shore or get overwhelmed by tides. Please consider purchasing a life jack for your dog. It’s easy to become distracted, and a life jacket can save her life.
Fireworks and pets don’t mix. Loud noises like the ones caused by fireworks can be frightening for pets. In fact, one in five pets goes missing after being scared by loud noises. In addition, exposure to lit fireworks can result in severe burns or trauma, and many types of fireworks contain potentially toxic substances like potassium, nitrate and arsenic that can be deadly when ingested. Keep your little ones calm and safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.