Labor Day is rapidly approaching, which means that soon we will be welcoming fall. But we can’t wave goodbye to the dog days of summer without a proper celebration first! Many of us are looking forward to a long weekend of block parties, barbeques and thoroughly enjoying what is left of the season, but pet parents should keep in mind that many traditional Labor Day festivities and foods can in fact be dangerous to our furry friends. So this weekend, as you gear up for the end of another summer, keep your pets happy, safe and healthy with the following safety tips:
Beat the heat. It may be September, but the weather can still be scorching. Animals can become dehydrated quickly, so be sure your pets are getting plenty of water—especially if the weekend is packed with outdoor adventures. Make sure there are plenty of shady spots for your pet to escape the sun, and avoid letting your pup linger on hot asphalt. Your dog’s body can heat up quickly and their sensitive paw pads can get burned.
Keep an eye on your chemicals. In the warmer months, many people keep a stash of sunscreen and/or bug spray nearby, but take note that chemicals in these products can be harmful to your pet. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in serious problems for pets, including drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellents that contain 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.
Guard the grill. Not only do you want to keep your four-legged friends away from the food on the grill, but you also want to be sure to keep them away from the tools involved in barbecuing. Make sure you keep matches and lighter fluids 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 pet, can produce gastrointestinal irritation, central nervous system depression and aspiration pneumonia.
Keep your eye on your plate. While it may be tempting to spoil your pup with some scraps from the grill, remember that any changes to your pet’s diet could 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.
Life jackets can be a life-saver. Celebrating lakeside or by the pool this year? Remember, life jackets aren’t just for humans. If you’ll be boating or spending time by the water, never leave your pets unsupervised. 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 jacket for your dog. It’s easy to become distracted, and a life jacket can save a life.
Don’t forget about the fireworks. Unfortunately, fireworks and pets just don’t mix. Loud noises, like the ones caused by fireworks, can be very frightening for pets—in fact, many pets go 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 pet pals calm and safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area.
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