Memorial Day is certainly a time to reflect on those who lost their lives in service to our country. We honor those, human and canine, who protected, served, and sacrificed.
But Memorial Day is also a long weekend for many of us, and some consider it the unofficial kickoff of summer. Because of this, lots of people across the country will observe the holiday with barbecues, large gatherings, and noisy events — all of which can spell danger for our dogs.
We certainly don’t want to exclude our dogs from the action. They are part of the family, after all! But we need to act as responsible pet parents. Here are a few safety tips for dog parents on Memorial Day weekend, thanks to some help from our pals at Best Friends Animal Society.
Keep The Alcohol Out Of Reach
With all the commotion, it can be easy to forget where you’ve set your beer or beverage during a party. Spills can also put booze within reach of someone who might get hurt by it — namely your dog.
Best Friends Animal Society says, “Keep alcoholic beverages out of sight and on high surfaces because alcohol — even in small amounts — can be poisonous to pets.”
Signs of alcohol poisoning in dogs include wobbliness, vomiting, tremors, diarrhea, or worse. It can even lead to a coma or death. If you see these signs and believe your dog may have consumed alcohol, get to your emergency vet right away.
Don’t Leave Food Scraps Out
We humans might love the decadent, fatty, salty foods that we share at a weekend barbecue. Unfortunately, most of these are not safe for your dog.
Best Friends Animal Society advises that, “Some BBQ staples likes avocados, onions, and chicken bones are toxic to pets and can be choking hazards.”
Also, too much fatty food can lead to diarrhea and upset stomach in the short term and pancreatitis or obesity in the long term. Eating too much salt can lead to dehydration and even salt poisoning in high enough quantities, which can be fatal.
If you’d like to share some human food with your dog, you can try serving them very plain chicken or beef with all bones removed.
Practice Water Safety
Whether you’re spending the weekend on the boat or by the pool, lake, or beach, you need to protect your pooch. Never leave them unsupervised near water. Even strong swimmers can have accidents.
We strongly recommend that you also consider investing in a doggy life jacket, especially if you plan to go boating with your dog.
Also, be aware that many bodies of water are unsafe to drink for a variety of reasons. Natural bodies of water can harbor bacteria or blue-green algae, both of which can severely harm your dog. Pay attention to local alerts, and learn about the areas where your dog will swim.
Best Friends Animal Society reminds us, “Don’t let your pet drink pool water – if chemicals such as chlorine are ingested in large amounts it can cause irritation and vomiting.”
The weekend is bound to be an active one, and in warm weather, it’s easy to overheat and forget to drink water. Always make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water. This will also discourage them from feeling like they need to drink out of a potentially dangerous body of water or pool.
“It’s a great idea for pet parents to carry a collapsible water dish for rehydrating,” says Best Friends Animal Society. “And if you’re spending time outdoors, make sure your pets always have access to a shady spot.”
Signs of dehydration include panting, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, lethargy, white gums, and sunken eyes among many others. In severe cases, it can lead to shock and collapse, and even death. If you see these signs, get your dog some water ASAP and call your emergency vet.
Avoid The Memorial Day Noise
Memorial Day weekend is sure to see lots of parties with loud music, noisy guests, and maybe even fireworks. All of these are fun for us, but not so much for our dogs.
Loud noises can cause anxiety in dogs, which can lead to shaking, pacing, panting, whining, potty accidents, and destructive behaviors. They can even cause your dog to bolt in fear and get lost.
Sometimes it’s best to just keep your dog in a nice, quiet, comfy room with some peaceful music to drown out the scary sounds. These events are more fun for humans, anyway, and your dog will be better off in safety.
Are you planning to spend time with your dog on Memorial Day weekend? Do you have any safety tips for other pet parents that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!