August 28, 2017

Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe, Happy and Healthy This Labor Day

dogs on a picnic

Labor Day weekend is here, which means that we’ll soon be welcoming fall. However, before summer officially comes to a close, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to remind pet parents that many traditional Labor Day festivities and foods can harm our furry friends. Keep your pets happy, safe and healthy this (and every!) weekend by following these tips:

Beat the heat. Although it’s September, the weather can still be scorching. Animals can become dehydrated quickly, so be sure your pets are getting plenty of water—especially if the weekend is packed with outdoor adventures. Make sure there are plenty of shady spots for your pet to escape the sun, and avoid letting your pup linger on hot asphalt.

Keep an eye on your chemicals. In the warmer months, many people keep a stash of sunscreen and/or bug spray nearby, but take note that chemicals in these products can be harmful to your pet. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellents that contain the chemical DEET can lead to neurological problems. Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of pets’ reach, too. And never apply sunscreen or insect repellent to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.

Protect your plate. While it may be tempting to spoil your pet with some scraps from the grill, remember that any changes to your pet’s diet could result in severe digestive ailments. Keep them away from raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and sugar-free products made with the sweetener xylitol, as these holiday favorites are toxic to pets—and never leave alcoholic beverages unattended where your pet can reach them. Check out APCC’s full list of people foods to avoid feeding your pet to ensure that you are fully informed.

Guard the grill. In addition to keeping pets away from the food on the grill, be sure to keep them away from the tools, particularly matches and lighter fluid, involved in barbecuing. Certain types of matches contain chlorates which, if ingested, can damage blood cells and result in breathing difficulties or kidney disease. Lighter fluid can irritate the skin and, if ingested or inhaled by a curious pet, can produce gastrointestinal irritation, central nervous system depression and aspiration pneumonia.

Life jackets can be lifesavers. If you’ll be boating or spending time by the water, never leave your pets unsupervised. Just like with people, it’s easy for your dog to develop a leg cramp while swimming, become exhausted too far from shore or get overwhelmed by tides. Please consider purchasing a life jacket for your dog. It’s easy to become distracted, and a life jacket can save a life.

Don’t forget about the fireworks. Unfortunately, fireworks and pets just don’t mix. Loud noises can be very frightening for pets. In fact, many pets go missing after being scared by loud noises. In addition, exposure to lit fireworks can result in severe burns or trauma, and many types of fireworks contain potentially toxic substances like potassium, nitrate and arsenic that can be deadly when ingested. Keep your pet pals calm and safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area. 

If you have any reason to suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately with our 24 hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. You can also download the ASPCA mobile app and the APCC mobile app to stay informed and aware year-round!