Labor Day Weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, and it’s the perfect time to make a few more memories before the onset of autumn. Whether you are spending the holiday at home, hanging out with friends and family, or squeezing in a last-minute vacation, it’s crucial to keep your pet’s safety in mind. Like any holiday, Labor Day poses some risks to your furry friend. Here are a few tips for enjoying a safe and happy holiday weekend with your dog or cat.
If you are heading out of town this weekend and plan on taking your pet with you, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your itinerary. You already know you should never leave your pet alone in your vehicle during warm weather, but that’s not the only thing to keep in mind.
There are several essential steps to keeping your pet safe while traveling, including:
Schedule water and potty breaks. When planning out your trip, look for pet-friendly rest stops where your furry friend can relieve themself. This will help them stay comfortable while preventing unpleasant accidents.
Check their ID tag and microchip. Before heading out, make sure your pet’s identification tag information is accurate and easy to read. Log into your cat or dog's microchip account, too, to make sure your contact information is up to date.
Pack your pet’s medical records. When traveling with your pet, always pack copies of medical records, including vaccination records, medical history, and information regarding any prescription medications they take.
Buckle them up! Just like everyone else in your family, your pet needs to be buckled in while on the road. We all know how happy dogs are with their heads out of car windows, but it’s not safe for them, particularly on long car rides. Protect your pet by placing them in a secure crate or carrier and attaching it to the seat belt. Pet seat belts and harnesses work well, too. If you haven’t done this before, you might consider taking some test drives around town in the weeks leading up to your travels.
Provide lots of water. Make sure you have plenty of water for your pet and be sure to pack a collapsible or non-breakable bowl so that they can stay hydrated while on the go.
Whether you are traveling or staying close to home, keep your pet safe when spending time outdoors. Always keep a close eye on your pet when they are in or near water. If your Labor Day plans involve hitting a lake or ocean on a boat, outfit your furry friend with a well-fitting life jacket. Even if they are a strong swimmer, they could become fatigued in the hot summer sun and be at risk for drowning. Ensure your pet has access to water and shade if you are spending time outdoors on a hot, sunny day. Pets dehydrate quickly, and heatstroke can be deadly. Never leave your dog or cat unattended in a vehicle — even with the air conditioner running.
There’s no better way to say goodbye to summer than with a cookout. Unfortunately, your backyard BBQ poses a threat to your four-legged family member.
Keep these cookout safety tips in mind when you have pets:
- Bones and fat trimmings may be yummy, but they are not appropriate treats for your pet. Bones can cause choking and damage your pet’s intestinal tract, and greasy food can cause pancreatitis.
- Onions, garlic, and many other foods are toxic to animals. Protect your furry friend by learning more about foods that are toxic to pets.
- A hot grill can cause severe burns in seconds. Keep pets away from cooking areas.
- BBQ skewers are dangerous for dogs. They taste terrific but can cause damage to the stomach and can lead to an obstruction. Also, BBQ drippings that fall onto rocks or mulch are tasty too. Ensure your dog does not have access to these items.
Remember that loud noises are stressful to animals. If your holiday festivities include loud music, fireworks, or other noisy activities, keep your pet inside where they can relax. They’ll be much happier hanging out in a cool, dark room with some soft music than they would be amid the chaos of a party.
Staying Safe at Home
Sometimes, home is the safest place for your pet. If you leave your dog or cat home this Labor Day weekend, make sure their sitter knows how to keep them safe.
Your pet sitter’s instructions should include:
- Information about your cat or dog's daily activities
- Instructions for feeding
- List of your cat or dog's medication with detailed instructions
- Phone number and address for your primary veterinarian and a local emergency clinic
- A copy of your pet insurance policy and card Information on how to contact you in an emergency
No matter your plans this holiday weekend, be sure to keep your pet’s safety and comfort in mind. It takes just seconds for disaster to strike, but with careful planning, you can protect your dog or cat from many of the most common problems.