If you’re a pet parent, sharing Labor Day activities with your dog is a big part of the weekend. The question many of you might have is how to keep your pet safe during the weekend-long festivities. Like any long holiday weekend, daily routines drastically change, family and friends come to visit (or you go to visit them), and more than the usual number of adult beverages are imbibed.
To keep your pet safe during the Labor Day festivities, we’ve compiled 14 Labor Day weekend safety tips for pets, updated for 2022. It’s essential information every pet parent needs to know and can be useful for many other holidays.
The 14 Most Important Labor Day Weekend Safety Tips for Pets
1. Never Leave Your Pet in a Hot Car
Hot car deaths spike every summer, especially during the Labor Day weekend. That’s because a car can become deadly hot for a dog, cat, bird, or other pet in less than 15 minutes! Even if you park in the shade or leave a window “cracked” open, your pet can suffer, suffocate, and die from heat stroke.
Leaving water in the car for your pet isn’t a solution, as the heat is too much for any pet to bear. The best thing to do is never leave your pet alone in your car for any reason or length of time.
2. Keep Your Guard Up Around the Grill
Pets, especially puppies and kittens, don’t realize that barbecue grills get extremely hot when they’re in use. Because of their inexperience, your pet might, for example, jump up on the ledge of the grill to take a peek at what’s cooking or jump on top of the closed grill, thinking it’s safe.
Falling into an open grill is a safety hazard for pets, as is knocking over a free-standing grill while it’s still sizzling hot. Needless to say, these scenarios could cause severe injuries, pain, and even death for your pet. If possible, cordon off the area where you’ll be using your grill on Labor Day so that your furry friends can’t get too close.
3. Provide your Pet with Plenty of Water
During Labor Day weekend, you might be so involved in the celebrations that you forget to give your pet water. That’s why it’s best to give them plenty at the start of the weekend and, if possible, provide water with a bottle that replenishes their bowl automatically.
4. Don’t Give your Pet Alcohol
Dogs can’t metabolize alcohol, which can lower their body temperature to deadly levels and cause a drop in their respiration. Alcohol negatively affects your pet’s kidneys, heart, central nervous system (CNS), and GI tract. For cats, alcohol can cause a dangerous drop in their blood sugar levels and cause seizures. In short, don’t give your pets any alcohol over Labor Day weekend. They don’t need it to have a good time, and it could cause everyone, especially your pet, to have a terrible time.
5. Put Sunblock on your Pet
Applying sunblock is essential if you’re planning to go to the park, the ocean, the lake, or any area where you and your pet will be in the sun for more than 30 minutes. That goes double for dogs with light-colored fur or thin fur or hair, as their skin can sunburn more easily. The best places to apply it are where your pet’s skin is more exposed, including their belly, ears, and around their face and nose. Also, don’t forget the inside of their legs, primarily the back legs.
If you don’t have pet-safe sunblock, you should consider getting a shade shelter for your pet. Also, if your dog is a big swimmer, be sure to reapply sunblock after they’ve come out of the water. Experts recommend applying sunblock to your pet about 20 minutes before they go out in the sun. That will give it a few minutes to start working.
6. Keep Toxic Substances Out of Reach
We’ve talked about alcohol, but there are several others substances, including lighter fluid for the grill, fuel for tiki torches, charcoal briquets, pesticides, and bug spray that are toxic to your pets. While the chance is relatively low that your pet will mistake any of these for something they can eat or drink, even a tiny amount can cause them to become sick. Plus, if left where they have access, your pet might knock something over that could start a fire, like lighter fluid or tiki torch fuel. The best thing to do is to have a place to put these items far out of your pet’s reach.
7. Make Sure your Pet Has Their Tags and Is Chipped
While this tip will not keep them safer, per se, it will undoubtedly help you find your pet if they accidentally run off during all the commotion of Labor Day weekend. To start, you should ensure their tags are up to date so that if someone finds your pet, they can let you know. Having your pet chipped is highly recommended because it’s the best way to find them if they run off and get lost (or picked up by animal control).
8. Don’t Give your Pet Table Scraps
Keeping table scraps away from your pet is probably the most difficult rule to enforce, especially if you’re having a big party with lots of people over Labor Day weekend. Table scraps can be problematic for pets because they’re high in fat, salt, and sugar, and some may contain toxic ingredients like onions, garlic, chocolate, etc.
Some table scraps pose a choking hazard for pets, including corn on the cob, cooked bones, and other larger scraps. If you have to, make an announcement to your guests to please not feed your pets any table scraps. Also, keep your eyes on small children who like to sneak your pet scraps under the table.
9. Be Careful with your Pet Around Water
Many pets, especially dogs, love to swim and will eagerly jump in a pool, lake, river, or ocean. That’s all good and well if they can swim and there are plenty of humans around to keep an eye on them. However, if your pet can’t swim or is small and could get swept away, you need to be more vigilant when near open water.
That’s especially true for pools, as a curious dog might fall in and be unable to get back out. If your dog loves the water but doesn’t swim well, consider getting a life jacket. Not only will a life jacket keep them safe in the water, but it will also provide your pet some extra protection from the sun.
10. Make Sure All Garbage Is Well Covered
Dogs, cats, and even birds will always take advantage of an opportunity when they see it, and an open garbage can is tempting to investigate. If your pet has access to Labor Day weekend trash, they can get into real trouble as all sorts of toxic and unhealthy food are waiting there. Items like cooked bones, chocolate cake, meat with onions and garlic, sugar-filled foods, and more are almost impossible for a pet to ignore, so making sure your trash is well-covered is critical.
11. Be on the Lookout for Heat Stroke
Most areas of the United States are hot and humid during Labor Day weekend, making the risk of heat stroke much higher for all pets, especially dogs like Pugs, Bulldogs, and other brachycephalic breeds. With their short snouts and pushed-in faces, brachycephalic breeds already have difficulty breathing, and it gets even worse when it’s hot and humid.
One of the most telling signs of heat stroke is when your dog is panting like mad and can’t seem to stop. Excessive drooling is another sign of heat stroke, as are dark-red gums, vomiting, wobbliness, and losing consciousness. If you see any of these signs, take your pet inside and out of the sun immediately. In severe cases of heat stroke, contact your vet right away.
12. Keep Pets away from Stagnant Water
Many Americans like to camp over the Labor Day weekend and enjoy the great outdoors. If that’s you, be sure to bring plenty of water for your pets. Wherever you go, do your best to keep your pets away from stagnant water, which could cause severe gastrointestinal distress.
13. Be Prepared when the Fireworks Start
If you know your pet has noise anxiety, you must be prepared for their inevitable freak-out session when the bottle rockets start exploding. Keeping your pet on a leash is one way, with a firm grip on the handle, but the ideal method is to keep your pets in a safe room in your home.
Playing with your pet inside while the fireworks go off can distract them from the noise. If your pet is kennel-trained, putting them in their kennel might be a good solution. Preparing for their anxiety is one of the best ways to keep your pet calm and happy.
14. Keep Your Pets in a Safe Room
For any of your pets that don’t usually go outside, setting up a safe room in your home is a great idea. It should be a room that few (if any) guests will use so that the door isn’t being opened and closed constantly. Fill the room with your pet’s favorite toys and give them plenty of water. Soothing music is also a good idea, and be sure to check in on your pets from time to time to ensure they’re doing OK.
Keeping your pet, or pets, safe during the Labor Day weekend isn’t difficult but requires some forethought, preparation, and planning. Having a safe space for your pets is essential, plus buying sunblock for any pet that might need it. Securely covering garbage, practicing good water safety habits, and being a vigilant pet parent are also required so your pet gets through the weekend in good health. We hope the tips and advice we’ve given today will help you and all your precious pets have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.
Featured Image Credit: Reshetnikov_art, Shutterstock