Memorial Day is just around the corner and while it is a day that we take to remember those that died in active military service it’s also a day where many celebrate the unofficial start to summer. The celebrations can include picnics, trips to the beach, and cookouts at your home or your friends and families.
Before you go opening the door for your first guests or packing the car for the beach, take a minute to make certain you’ve thought about your pet’s safety before the festivities of the weekend start.
1. Tag Everyone
Have you looked at Rover or Bella’s tags in a while? I checked mine out the other day and they were barely legible. The metal engraving has worn away and it was time for an update. I order my tags online and a quick fix was a piece of duck tape and a sharpie marker. It wasn’t pretty but it got the job done until their new tags came in.
Doors are going to open, window screens do not hold curious kitties back – it’s always best to make certain your pets have proper ID tags on with up-to-date information.
2. Are the Entrances and Exists Secured?
If you’re heading to a picnic or the beach, your lugging stuff to and from the car. That door is open a lot and your cat or dog has been dying to enjoy the fabulous weather. Watch for darting dogs and cats.
If you’re having a party, make sure your guests come in one entrance and keep your pets securely away from it. This is a great time to crate your canine, at least until the flow of traffic decreases. Remember when people leave, chances are alcohol has been involved and we tend to be a bit careless. Check fence gates, those are frequently left open or not shut properly.
Tell your party goers that your cat is indoor only! I have been to a friend’s house where another friend went up to the homeowner and said, “your cat was begging to go out, so I opened the door for her”. Well, that was assuming their cat was indoor/outdoor, which she was NOT! It’s not a bad idea to keep your kitty companion secured in a guest-free room.
3. Food Fowls
We all know most dogs love hotdogs and hamburgers and while we’re generally pretty good about keeping it out of their reach – we’re not always so good about restraining on giving them handouts. Those sweet begging faces know how to get through to us to get that last little bite of your burger. While you can control just how much of the burger you give, you can’t predict who else gave them just a little bit of burger. Later you find yourself with a pup suffering from pancreatitis and a trip to the ER vet thanks to 10 friends giving just a little bit of their burger, bun or hotdog.
Your dog’s delights might be fooled by tall counters or the top of your fridge but your curious cat could end up loving that spinach dip someone brought. My cat has an affinity towards buns, hotdog or hamburger she loves them equally and will eat right through the plastic to get to them – plastic certainly isn’t safe for her digestive tract.
4. Regulate the Temperature
We forget how warm it gets and while we take some time to get acclimated to the hotter days, so do our pets. Keep them cool too – have fresh water for them at the picnic, park or beach. If Hank will be hanging outside with the guests while you drink your drink, make sure he has one too.
If your cat likes to hide in the third-floor bedroom when guests come over but you haven’t been up there in a while, make sure you check the temperature. It can get hot and stuffy under a bed on the third floor after a few warmer summer-like days.
5. Don’t Force the Socialization
Make sure your cat or dog does not feel pressured to say hello. I always felt awkward to say hello to my parents’ friends when they had parties. If your cat hides, make sure they are safe but let them stay away. If your dog doesn’t rush up or their body language seems nervous, give them space. Don’t expect a performance either. My pups can do some super cool tricks but we mostly practice by ourselves without an audience. Nerves can get the best of us so if they seem excited to work – let them, if not, don’t push it. Let your pets say hello on their terms.
6. Party Sounds
Bonfires, fireworks, horns and loud music can be super scary and unusual for our pets. Fireworks especially can cause trauma and stress. Keep your pets safely inside in as insulated of a room as you can find, like your basement. Keep the radio or TV on to help drown out the noise and definitely do not bring them with you. I know its nice to sit at the local baseball field with your dog but when stuck on a leash with massive bangs going off around them – it could be a complete nightmare and they could slip out of their leash. Keep them safe, keep them at home.
Not all pets will need these tips but many will. I need to pay close attention to doors and food in my house. We live on a busy street and my front door can be tricky to close. We’ve added bells to it so we can hear from the other room when it’s opening or closing.
Have an amazing and amazingly safe Memorial Day. Remember those human and especially canine heroes that perished to protect us. Take a moment to remember, and take as much time as you need to protect.