It’s time to kick off summer with a Memorial Day celebration! Nothing say’s fun in the sun then a barbecue and a good old fashion picnic with family and friends (even Fido would agree). But before you ignite the grill, chomp down on a juicy burger, lounge around the pool and enjoy the festivities remember safety first. Although it is recommended by the ASPCA to keep your dog indoors during those backyard BBQ’s. If you insist on allowing your dog to partake in the festive affair it is important that as a responsible pet owner you are aware of the risk. Here are some precautionary pet safety tips to make Memorial day a blast for everyone.

1. Keep alcoholic beverages out of paws reach. Alcohol is potentially poisonous to pets, so make sure pet does not accidentally consume any wine, beer or spirits.

2. Stay on regular diet & resist those pleading eyes. Although it may be tempting to throw your dogs licking chops some picnic fare we advise that you resist the urge.  Just say “No” to those angelic, begging eye! Any change in your dog’s diet can result in an upset stomach. Certain foods like onions, avocado, chocolate, grapes and raisins are especially toxic to pets.

3. Use ONLY dog specific bug repellent and sunscreen. Never use human insect repellent or sunscreen on your dog. Ingestion can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.

4. Fido should stay clear of matches, candles & lighter fluid. Keep your pet away from matches, citronella candles and lighter fluid, which if eaten can irritate the stomach, lungs and central nervous system. Before you light that hot grill make sure your four legged family member is out of harms way.

5. Supervise pool time. Never leave kids or pets unsupervised around a pool or lake. Like humans not all dogs are expert swimmers. Also, pools aren’t large water bowls—they contain chlorine and other toxic chemicals that can cause stomach upset.

6. Carry ID. If traveling with your pet, take identification for them and their health records. Make sure they are wearing their collar & tags at all time in the event that become lost.

7. Never leave pet in hot car. Your pet is just as susceptible to dying of a heatstroke when the mercury rises. It only takes a few minutes for the inside of your car to get excessively hot and turn into a sauna.

8. Provide plenty of water. Always make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water no matter where you are. 
9. Be prepared rain or shine. Make sure your pet has a comfortable place to get out of the sun, rain, or other types of weather.
10. Provide pet with a safe & quiet place to rest. Not only is it important to make sure your guest are relaxed and comfortable, you should also do so for your pet. Remember Memorial day can be quite stressful and noisy on your pet so it is important to provide with a place of refuge to rest their head and get away from the crowd. Because no loving pet owner wants a startled dog or cat running away, bolting for the doggy door or jumping the fence.
11. Keep gates and fences closed and save yourself some heartbreak. Memorial Day is a high traffic holiday with so many people heading out for a cookout. When the kids are playing in the yard, please remind them to keep the gate closed at all times if the dog has access to a fenced-in area. This will ensure that your pet does not run into oncoming traffic or a busy street and get struck.

As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous from the picnic table, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at (888) 426-4435.

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