Sep 05, 2009
For those of us in the US, many have a long weekend this weekend as the Labor Day holiday is now here. I know it sounds silly, but this is a weekend when animal emergency rooms often get busier!
I thought it might be a good idea to just toss out some ideas for keeping your pets safe during the celebrations.
If you are planning a big get-together or barbecue to celebrate with family and friends, make sure that you can account for your pets. It is not unusual for your guests to be unaware of the need for securing doors and gates. Many pets, dogs and cats, wander away from home, investigating news sights, sounds and smells. Sadly, they also encounter bigger or meaner dogs and cats or a speeding car. Some pet owners go as far as to assign someone to be the “pet monitor” for the event.
Although not common, fireworks will be heard this weekend as well. Remember that our pets are often not used to these noises and can get scared very easily. If fireworks are part of your celebration, put the animals inside in a quiet room and turn on the TV or radio for them. If your neighbors are using fireworks, bring your pets inside. Many animals become frantic with the loud bangs and will injure themselves in an attempt to escape from the yard. Make sure your pets have permanent identification in case they do get out.
Watch for well-meaning party guests who can’t resist “puppy dog eyes”. There are many foods that should not be given to your pet. These include things like onions, grapes, raisins, chocolates, highly salted foods, and high fat foods. Keep an eye on the trash can as well. We all know how sneaky some of our pets can be when it comes to stealing food! If you are serving desserts sweetened with Xylitol, make sure your dogs don’t decide to have a bite. Xylitol can cause sudden decreases in blood glucose and/or liver damage in dogs.
Luckily, most of the country is experiencing a mild weekend, but it is still possible for your dog to get overheated if he or she is outdoors and roughhousing with the kids all day. Keep plenty of fresh water available and give them a place to escape the sun and heat.
Sun damage is a possibility, especially with light colored dogs. DON’T apply a sunscreen or insect repellent unless it is labeled specifically for use on animals.
If you are traveling this weekend with your pets, don’t leave them in the car alone. Even with mild temperatures, the interior of the car can heat up very quickly in direct sunlight. Leaving your pet alone in a car on a hot day is now illegal in several cities and states and can lead to criminal charges.
This should be a fun holiday for everyone to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. Don’t let a lapse in judgment or inattention send you to the animal ER this weekend.