When people think of the summer holidays, they think of barbecues, fireworks, getting together with family and friends, swimming, and fun in the sun. What pet parent wouldn’t want their fur baby to be in on the festivities? Believe it or not, these summer holiday activities can actually be dangerous for your pet. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your summer—we’ll help you navigate the summer holidays so you can have fun and keep your pets safe at the same time.
Keeping Them Inside
It’s natural to want your pets to come along on fun summer activities, but events that draw big crowds, like picnics, parades, and even backyard gatherings are noisy and dangerous for pets. The loud bangs from fireworks can cause dogs to get scared and run off. Not to mention, the excitement of a new environment might also cause them to run off. So, it’s better to keep your pets safe indoors. Keep them in a room where you can close the door or keep them in a crate. If you’d like your pet to have more freedom, consider getting a sitter to care for them during the get-togethers or board them in a kennel for a few days during the festivities. Keeping pets inside during activities also helps them stay cool. Keep your fur baby cool by using a fan, running the air conditioning, or buying a cooling pad for pets.
Everyone loves barbecues, especially your dog. There are lots of people for your dog to socialize with and tons of tasty food. But even everyday foods, including certain fruits and vegetables, can be poisonous to your pets. Here’s a list of barbecue food and food scraps that you should NEVER give to your pets:
- Fatty and fried foods (including burgers and hot dogs!)
- Macadamia nuts
- Grapes and raisins
- Corn on the cob
- Peach pits
- Xylitol, an artificial sweetener often found in baked goods, and sugar-free candy and gum
Consuming some of the items listed above can lead to vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, and even acute kidney failure.
Never let your pets ingest alcohol.
Don’t worry, there are a few barbecue foods that are safe to give to your pets. Here are a few barbecue treats that won’t leave your pet feeling left out:
- Lean meat: turkey, chicken, and fish
- Veggies: carrots, broccoli, and sweet potatoes
- Fruit: apple slices, bananas
- Grains: brown rice
You might be distracted, but it’s important to keep an eye on your pets during a gathering and make sure that your guests don’t feed your pets anything that’s unsafe.
Water safety is another thing you have to keep in mind during the summer holidays. Going to a pool, a lake, or the beach is a fun way to keep your pets and yourself cool, but water presents a whole other set of challenges. Not all dogs are natural swimmers, so you’ll have to keep a close eye on them when you go for a swim. Introduce your pet to the water gradually and be sure to use flotation devices when you’re on a boat. You should also make sure that you have fresh water available for your pet at all times. Giving your dog fresh water will help them resist the urge to drink pool water, which contains chemicals like chlorine, or stagnant water, which could lead to infections like leptospirosis.
Having fresh water handy will not only help prevent heatstroke, but it will also help your pet stay cool, hydrated, and (hopefully) out of trouble.
Fireworks are an exciting way to celebrate the holidays. Whether you’re going to a city- or county-run fireworks show or lighting up a few firecrackers close to home, all the loud, continuous noises can be torture for cats and dogs. Pets are hypersensitive to loud noises from fireworks, so, this is another reason why you should keep them indoors and in a crate during holiday activities. Being inside will also keep them safe from injuries caused by firecrackers or other grounded fireworks.
You don’t have to give up having fun during the summer holidays to keep your pets safe. You just have to be more careful and plan ahead. Here are a few more tips and tricks for staying safe and having fun this summer:
- Make sure your pets are microchipped and have up-to-date ID tags in case they run away
- Don’t use insect repellent or sunscreen that’s meant for humans on your pets—talk to your vet or visit a pet store to learn more about pet-safe products
- Check your yard for fireworks, debris, and food scraps before letting your pets roam freely
- Going on a trip? Read up on how to travel with your pet
Still have questions? Wondering about heatstroke and why you shouldn’t give your dog a bone? We’re here to help. Connect with a licensed veterinarian any time, 24/7.