Labor Day always feels like the last hurrah of summer. Sure, many kids are already back in school and the real last day of summer is still a couple of weeks away, but in backyards and parks, on balconies and patios, grills are being readied and tables are being set. It’s time for one final summer party. Here are some tips for keeping your pet safe during your Labor Day festivities.
Avoid Food Dangers
If your dog is the type to steal food off the table, warn your guests to be extra careful with their plates. Even if your dog has the manners of a saint, make sure guests know not to give your pet any food without permission (this is even more important if your pet is on a restricted diet for weight loss or a health issue). Keep an eye on the trash: Leftover fat from meat, juice-soaked strings from roasts, leftover bones and even corn cobs can have you and your pets at the E.R. in no time flat. Even if your pet gets off easy, your carpets may not be so lucky, since even mild cases of stomach upset can cause vomiting and diarrhea. But an upset tummy isn’t the only concern when pets eat things they shouldn’t. Poison-control experts say medications — both prescription and over-the-counter — are one of the top dangers to pets. If you have stay-over guests, make sure they know to put any medications in a closed drawer or behind a cabinet door. Keep guests’ purses and bags closed and put away as well, to prevent pets from gobbling candies or gum sweetened with xylitol, which is toxic. Finally, if you’ve worked your yard over to make it gorgeous for one last outdoor bash, make sure any pesticides or herbicides (or lighter fluid, for that matter) are safely put away where pets can’t get to them.
Beat the Heat
While the stores may already be filled with cold-weather gear, Labor Day is still a hot holiday. Keep your guard up when it comes to keeping pets cool. No running into the store for “just a few minutes” with the dog in the car, and no heat-of-the-day outdoor exercise, especially for short-nosed or elderly dogs, who can overheat very quickly. Watch for signs of overheating — such as rapid panting and glassy eyes; apply cool water to the belly and groin for first aid to a hot pet while you head for the vet. (But don’t use ice-cold water, which can lock in body heat.) Swimming is often part of the last bash of the season, and it may well be just the cool ticket for pets and people alike. But again, use common sense: Don’t let pets swim unattended, and don’t be shy about putting a life vest on your pet. That’s true even with an older dog who used to swim with the enthusiasm of Michael Phelps; if he gets tired in the water, he can find himself in serious trouble without a flotation device.
What Labor Day festivities do you have planned for your pet?