By Tim Falk
Published: 08/10/2021, edited: 09/05/2023
Labor Day weekend is fast approaching, so what better time than now to get outside and soak up some fresh air before the cooler weather arrives? But if you’re planning a big family BBQ or other Labor Day festivities this year, make sure you’re aware of the dangers they can pose to your pet.
Many of the common activities Americans love to enjoy on this popular annual holiday have the potential to be harmful to our dogs and cats. So before kicking off your celebrations, remember these simple pet safety tips for Labor Day weekend.
It’s not just the two-legged members of the family that love the mouth-watering aromas of meat cooking on the grill. You can expect your dog and cat to be licking their lips in anticipation too. But some dogs aren’t quite as capable of showing the same restraint as humans are and resisting the urge to tuck in.
With this in mind, be sure to keep your pup well away from the grill. Not only could giving in to temptation cause them to suffer a nasty burn, but they could also chow down on something that simply isn’t safe for them to eat.
While we’re on the topic of food, don’t give your pet table scraps this Labor Day weekend. From fatty offcuts to food cooked with excess salt, your favorite Labor Day foods can cause all sorts of problems for your dog.
Corn on the cob is a common choking hazard, while cooked bones can get stuck in the throat or potentially damage the intestinal tract. So no matter how cute or well-behaved they may be, stick to suitable treats if you want to spoil your fur-baby.
Related: What Can My Dog Eat on Labor Day?
Food isn’t the only potential hazard for pets on the Labor Day weekend. Alcohol is another big no-no for our fur-babies, so make sure your pet doesn’t get a chance to take a sip of whatever beverage you’re enjoying. Want to let Fido to join the festivities? Try alcohol-free dog beer or dog wine that's made especially for pooches instead.
There are a few other common substances to keep an eye out for too. For example, charcoal can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested, so don’t let your pet access it. Insect repellent, sunscreen, matches, lighter fluid, and a range of other ingredients can all be harmful if ingested by your pet, so be sure to keep them away from curious paws.
Summer may be coming to an end, but the weather can still be pretty hot over the Labor Day weekend. So to prevent your pet from overheating, make sure they’ve always got an ample supply of fresh water and that they’ve got plenty of shade so they can get out of the harsh sun.
Short-haired, hairless, and light-coated dogs can also benefit from added sun protection, such as that provided by pet-friendly sunscreen. Speak to your vet about the best way to keep your pet safe.
Finally, it’s important that you’re able to recognize the signs of heatstroke in dogs and cats, and know what to do if your pet is struggling in the heat. Symptoms can include excessive panting, restlessness, and more, so watch your pet for any telltale signs.
The inside of a car can heat up quickly at this time of year and pose a serious health risk to your pet. So even if it’s not a particularly hot day or you’re only going to be gone for a couple of minutes, you should never, ever leave your pet in a parked car.
If the weather permits, this holiday weekend offers the “pawfect” opportunity to indulge in some water sports with your canine pal. As always, however, be sure to take some simple safety precautions for your pet near the water.
Never force them to swim if they’re not confident or comfortable, and let them adapt to the water at their own pace. A doggy life jacket can be an extremely wise investment if you’re going boating or swimming, and always keep a close eye on the conditions to make sure it’s safe for your pup to venture into the water. And if you’re hanging out around the pool, supervise your fur-baby closely at all times.
If you’re having friends and family over for a Labor Day BBQ, it can be hard to keep track of your pet with all the comings and goings. This can make it easy for curious pets to get up to mischief or potentially get themselves into trouble — maybe your dog will try stealing some food when no one is looking, or your cat might slip out the front door when guests arrive.
You can try your best to keep a close eye on your pet at all times, but let’s face it, as the host with the most, you’re going to be pretty busy. Asking a family member or one of the party guests to keep a close watch on your fur-baby whenever you can’t will go a long way towards keeping them safe.
Taking a road trip with your pet this Labor Day weekend? Remember a few simple safety tips to help your fur-baby enjoy a safe and comfortable trip:
Last but not least, don’t forget about fireworks safety and your pet. If you, your neighbors, or your city have any sort of fireworks display planned, remember that these unexpected loud noises can be extremely frightening for pets. Secure your pet in a quiet, escape-proof area, and also make sure to keep them well away from any lit fireworks.
Follow the simple tips here, and you’ll go a long way towards keeping your pet safe this Labor Day weekend. And with your pupper all taken care of, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the festivities with your canine companion.
Got more questions about keeping your pet safe on Labor Day? Chat with a veterinary professional today to get the lowdown.
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