Happy Memorial Day!

BestBullySticks hopes you’re making the most out of this history-rich and important holiday. Originally celebrated to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the American Civil War, this holiday has grown to honor the men and women who’ve died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Memorial Day celebrations usually consist of visiting cemeteries and memorials of fallen soldiers. Often, these memorial services are followed by a potluck style meal or cookout. The common practice among many Americans to have a potluck-style dinner or cookout originated from a pre-Civil War tradition to have a “dinner on the ground” as part of a religious service.

People all over the country have family members proudly serving in our military. And while these fine folks have earned great respect for their duties, there are some heroes who often get overlooked — dogs!

Military Dogs

Dogs have played pivotal roles in the military dating as far back as 600 BCE. Trainable, loyal and fearless, many breeds were well suited for military service. While there are few breeds entirely excluded from becoming a service animal, there is an explicit preference for certain breeds. German and Dutch Shepherds are the most common because of their high intelligence, dependability and trainability.

Officially called Military Working Dogs (MWD) or K-9, service dogs fill a huge variety of roles and bravely stick by the sides of their handlers. Ancient military dogs were even seen in the front lines of battle, often covered in armor and charging the front lines in an attempt to break enemy ranks! However, the role of the MWD has changed as militaries have evolved. Now, militaries now use dogs as scouts and sentries because of their comparatively heightened smell, hearing and sight.

Since 2000, working dogs are now able to be adopted after they complete their military service! Many of these dogs, especially because of their specialized training, come home and continue their work in search and rescue and  therapy. Many of these dogs are adopted, too! Check with your local shelter to see if they have any retired Military Working Dogs.

Memorial Day Dog Safety

Military Working Dog or not, don’t leave safety behind this Memorial Day. Whether you’re sticking around your home or heading out of town, take the proper steps to ensure your dog doesn’t get into harms way.

  • Hydration  - Outdoor activities, especially now that it’s warm out, will increase your dog’s need for water!

  • Food – Make sure you keep potentially hazardous foods away from you dog. During cookouts and potlucks, a lot of food is left sitting around for guests to enjoy at their leisure — just make sure you’ve taken the precautions to keep them out of reach! The ASPCA has put together a comprehensive list of foods dangerous to pets.

  • Alcohol – Alcohol can be fatal to dogs, keep an eye on beverages to make sure they aren’t in reach of your dog.

  • Shade – The sun can dish out a beating in the summer. Make sure your dog has a cool place to rest if you spend a good deal of time in the sun.

  • Leashing – Make sure you bring a leash wherever you end up this Memorial Day!

  • ID Tags – Identification is the golden rule of pet saftey. Your dog should always be wearing a collar with tags, and if possible, be microchipped.

BestBullySticks hopes that however you celebrate Memorial Day this year, you find a way to include your dog! Holidays and time off are best spent with the four-legged family members. Make sure you take the proper steps to ensure your dog can also get the most out of Memorial Day!

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