Parades, historical events and cook-outs are all great fun,
but let's not forget to watch out for those hidden holiday spoilers.
Memorial Day weekend signals the unofficial start of summer and with it come the start of warm weather concerns for your pet. During Memorial Day festivities, remember, the health and safety of your pet comes first if you have elected to bring them along.
As temperatures soar, pets become more vulnerable to heat stress. Heatstroke or heat prostration is a common cause of summer illness that can, and does, kill many beloved pets each year. Maintaining a comfortable environment for your pet is important. Providing plenty of cool, fresh water will help keep your pet cool throughout the summer. Heatstroke develops rapidly and is often associated with exposure to high temperatures, humidity and poor ventilation.
Symptoms can include:
- a staring or anxious expression
- failure to respond to commands
- warm, dry skin
- extremely high body temperature (>103.5ºF)
- rapid heartbeat
If You Do Take Them With You...
- Do Not Leave Your Pet In The Car. Temperatures inside a car rapidly climb to more than 100 F and can cause death sometimes in as little as 10 minutes! One study reports that when the outside temperature is 78ºF, a closed car will reach 90ºF in five minutes, and 110ºF in 25 minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen. If you need to leave your pet in a car for any period of time, please do your pet and yourself a favor and leave them at home.
- Never Leave Your Pet Unattended. Tethering you pet to a chair or picnic table at a party or picnic can pose obvious risks, such as insect bites, dehydration, heatstroke, undue stress and escape. Other, less obvious hazards also exist, such as entanglement injuries, attacks by people or other animals, and accidental bits to strangers.
- Watch Their Diet. Do not allow friends and relatives to give your pet special treats it could ruin everyone's holiday. Pets should never be offered human foods or drinks, this can lead to gastrointestinal upset, pancreatitis, kidney or liver damage or even death.
- Some foods are toxic, such as: onions and garlic (which can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage) and grapes/raisins (which can cause kidney failure).
- Others contain toxic components, such as: methylxanthines, caffeine, theophylline and theobromine found in coffee, tea and chocolate (methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death) and xylitol, a sweetener found in gum, candy, packaged baked goods, etc. (which can cause hypoglycemia, liver failure and death).
- If you plan to take your pet with you during holiday visits, make sure that your pet is welcome first (with all the activity or family members who may be allergic to your pet, it may be better to board your pet or hire a pet sitter).
- Holiday treats, such as rich, fatty food scraps, meat (cooked and uncooked), bones, alcoholic beverages, and chocolate, can be harmful or toxic to your pet. Do not allow friends and relatives to give your pet special treats it could ruin everyone's holiday.
- Always be sure your pet is wearing a current identification tag on their collar (a city/county dog license or Rabies tag is no substitution for a proper ID tag with your current address and phone number).
- Always take a copy of your pet's medical records with you when you travel, should your pet require emergency treatment while you're away from home.