8 Tips for Maximizing Fun While Keeping Your Pets Safe This Memorial Day

Pet-Proofing Your Home and Outdoor Areas Will Ensure the Holiday Goes Smoothly

Memorial Day weekend—sunset soirees, swimming, and barbecued food. Is there anything better than time off from work when the weather is (typically!) nice? We think not, although, as veterinarians, we want to be sure that those of you with pets put some precautions in place to ensure all goes well during your holiday events. This is particularly true if you’re throwing a party, as things can get busy as you tend to the food, your guests, and inevitable unexpected curveballs. There’s no need to worry, though, if you have plans set for your fur friends, too. That’s why we’ve rounded up some ways to ensure your dogs and cats stay safe during your holiday parties below.

Choose a safe space for your dog to enjoy peace and quiet.

1.    Designate a Quiet Spot for Your Pet(s)

If you’ve got pets prone to getting overstimulated or are perhaps persistent escape artists, make sure to create a spot in your home where they can be away from the hustle and bustle of guests arriving and leaving. You can always let your dog out after guests arrive to greet everyone at once, and you might even consider keeping them on a leash just for their safety. Do you have a dog that jumps on people? Try these tips!

2.    Double-Check Those Tags

In an ideal world, guests will arrive and leave your party without incident, but it’s best to take precautions just in case! If you’ve been thinking of microchipping your dog or cat, a tiny device that’s painlessly inserted to provide a permanent means of identification, why wait? Get them chipped before your shindig. Also, ensure their identification tags are on and secured in case a fur friend manages The Great Escape.

3.    Take Precautions When Grilling

The grill is often the focal point of many Memorial Day mixers, but things can go wrong if pets are unsupervised around this area. The smell could be so enticing that a cat or dog may attempt to get too close and get burned. In addition, metal skewers, lighter fluid, matches, and other grilling essentials can be toxic if ingested. Lastly, grease and other drippings from the grill can cause sickness, particularly in large amounts. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) suggests that fat and grease buildup be trapped below the grill and removed for everyone’s safety. We also suggest familiarizing yourself with the ASPCA’s list of human foods that are toxic to pets and always keeping pets away from alcohol.

4.    Scrap the Table Scraps

Mind your scraps – Be aware of what foods are bad for your dog!

This goes hand in hand with barbecue safety, but you and your guests must avoid giving things like bones and gristle, as these can be life-threatening for your dog. Things like peach pits and corn cobs can get stuck in your dog’s intestines and require surgery to remove the obstruction. Also, certain breeds and overweight dogs are prone to pancreatitis if given greasy BBQ bits by yourself or party guests. You might even consider putting up a small sign by the eating area by way of explanation out of an abundance of caution.

5.    Instill Rules for Pools!

If you’re lucky enough to have a pool for guests to use to cool off and other general shenanigans, that’s amazing—just be sure never to leave your pet around this area without supervision. Hopefully, you have fencing that takes care of this for you, but well-meaning party guests may not know that your dog or cat isn’t allowed by the pool. Consider getting your dog to expert swimming status before the party or let guests know to be extra cautious when they come and go from the area. Also, drinking from the pool is dangerous for pets due to chlorine and other chemicals. 

6.    Provide Plenty of Shade

While human party guests will also appreciate a way to escape the sun, providing shade for pets is essential. Make sure to plan this in advance so that as you’re tending to your guests, your cats (if outdoors) and dogs have a respite from the possibly high temperatures. Also, be sure they’ve got constant access to water. Check out this article from the American Kennel Club on how to spot and treat heatstroke in dogs.

Dog drinking from water bowl outside.

Provide plenty of water for your dog!

The signs of heatstroke in dogs are as follows:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Bright red gums and tongue
  • Skin that’s hot to the touch
  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Dry mucous membranes
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty maintaining balance
  • High heart rate

If you notice any of these signs, call your veterinarian right away.

7.    Let’s Talk Trash (No, Not Like That!)

We’ve all seen enough dog-shaming videos on social media to know that some dogs, quite frankly, love trash! If you’ve got a dog that’s gotten into it before, you know the temptation will be strong during a party when food and other table scraps give off enticing scents. Keep trash cans away from your dogs and/or ensure they have tight-fitting lids.

8.   Prepare For Loud Noises

While the 4th of July is the event most known for fireworks and other loud noises causing panic in pets, any holiday has that potential. If you know your party’s music, games, or other activities will be loud, and you have pets prone to anxiety, prepare in advance. Remember to have that quiet room prepared for them. You can even run the Feliway diffuser to offer calming pheromones, and some dogs do well with thundershirts.

Whether planning a bombastic bash or an intimate gathering for friends and family this Memorial Day Weekend, putting safeguards in place will ensure you can relax knowing your pets will be safe from harm. Are you looking for more tips on keeping your pets safe during holidays and parties? Contact us today!