This weekend will be full of pool parties, lakes, cookouts, and road trips, so here are a few tips to help keep your four-legged friends safe this holiday.
- Do not leave your dogs unattended in a parked car. Not only is the heat inside a parked car deadly, but you risk the chance that someone will steal your dogs or break into your car in an attempt to save them. Even leaving the car running is dangerous. In 2014, five dogs died in a car while their owner was shopping inside. She claims to have left her car running with the air conditioner on, but says her dog must have turned off the AC while she was gone.
- When driving with your pets, make sure they are in a crate or are buckled in using a harness or other safety device. Unrestrained dogs can jump out of open windows, distract you while driving, be thrown from their seats during a quick stop, and may even jeopardize a rescue attempt if you are involved in an accident. Some emergency workers have been prevented from getting to a human in an accident because of a terrified or protective dog who was unrestrained. In that case, emergency personnel has to waste life-saving moments waiting on animal services to arrive and remove the animal.
- When swimming, make sure your dog has a life jacket and take him out of the water if he’s getting tired. A few summers ago, I had to jump into a pool to pull out a small dog whose very young owner was not watching him. This little dog was exhausted and could no longer paddle and keep himself above water. Bonus tip: do not put the safety of family pets in the hands of young children. If you won’t be able to give them your full attention, leave the dogs at home.
- Know the signs of heat distress and have a plan to get your dog cooled down if he becomes overheated. Severe panting and drooling, lethargy, vomiting, and bright red gums are all signs. Cool your dog off with water or wet towels, bring him indoors, and get him to a vet immediately.
- If your Memorial Day celebration will include fireworks, please take precautions to keep your dog secure. If your dog will be with you, be sure he’s on a leash and in your sight at all times. Always make sure that your dog is wearing a collar with ID in case he gets spooked by the noise and escapes. If you know your dog is frightened of loud noises, leave a TV or radio on to drown out the popping sounds.
If you have additional tips, we’d love to hear them! Please comment below so we can help everyone have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend!