Memorial Day Weekend is a time for thanking veterans and paying tribute to those who have served our country. It is also a time to celebrate the arrival of the summer season with gatherings, cookouts, and other warm-weather activities. Here is how to keep your dog safe during this weekend’s festivities.

Out Of The Kitchen!

It’s a good idea to keep your dog far from cooking areas, helping to avoid any temptations they may have to jump up on the grill and treat themselves. Hot or raw food dropped near the grill can entice dogs on the prowl, but it could result in injury or illness if they pull it off a hot grill or stove.

Never leave your grill unattended, and always stay vigilant. It only takes a second for your dog to get a hold of undercooked food, bones, lighter fluid, or matches, all of which can be dangerous if ingested. Your pup may also be tempted to eat cooking utensils, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap with remnants of food on them, all of which can cause abdominal blockage or intestinal damage.

Finally, make sure to keep your pup away from grilling areas even AFTER you are done. A recently used grill can still be hot enough to injure your dog.

Dog at cookout, Memorial Day Safety

Nothing Off The Table

It can be hard to turn down a begging dog, but you should refrain from feeding them anything off the table. Many cookout staples can cause severe gastric issues if consumed by your dog, and any amount of alcohol can be dangerous. Additionally, if your pet consumes a bone or a corn cob, it can quickly lead to damage to internal organs or blockage.

Here’s a quick list of common foods to avoid, as these can cause digestive issues or illness for your pet:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Raw meat
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Hot dogs
  • Chives
  • Corn on the cob
  • Ice cream
  • Alcohol

Foods you CAN share in small amounts if they are unseasoned:

  • Sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini

Make sure to let other guests know too!

Dog at Cookout, Memorial Day Safety, Begging

Keep Your Dog Cool

Whether you’re at a barbeque, hitting the beach, or just hanging outdoors, you’ll want to provide plenty of water to keep your dog hydrated. Ice cubes are also a great way to give your pup a way to cool down that can double as a treat. You will also want to provide a designated area with some shade where your dog can cool off if they need time to recharge.

Remember to NEVER leave your dog in the car, even for a few minutes. Dogs are more sensitive to heat than humans, and it doesn’t take long for the heat to become dangerous as the temperature inside a car can easily rise to over 140 degrees Fahrenheit on a warm day.

For more warm weather safety tips, check out this blog post: How to Help Your Dog Beat the Heat this Summer

Dog in Shade, Pet Safety, Memorial Day Safety

Water Safety

Even if your dog is an experienced swimmer, you should always supervise any dips in the water. If they are swimming in a pool, do your best to discourage them from drinking the water, as pool chemicals or saltwater can cause stomach illness.

If you’re taking your dog out on a boat, make sure they are wearing a floatation device at ALL times, and be aware of rip currents or strong tides if you are swimming in the ocean. If you are taking your dog for a swim in a lake or pond, check local websites to ensure there is no presence of blue-green algae.

And as always, NEVER let your pup swim unsupervised.

For more water safety tips, check out this blog post: Pool and Beach Safety Tips for Dog Owners

Dog on boat, water safety, memorial day safety

Check Your ID

Large gatherings and fireworks can easily frighten your dog, and you never know when they may bolt. It’s also important to ensure your pet’s identification is up-to-date and secure before heading to holiday festivities. You will want to check your microchip and make sure that your current address is registered.

Information to include on your pet’s ID tags: your dog’s name, your phone number, a secondary contact, your current address, and important medical information.

Dog collar, identification, memorial day safety, pet safety

Skip The Chemicals

You should always apply sunscreen and bug spray when appropriate, but the chemicals found in either can be unsafe for your dog. Make sure to keep them a safe distance away while you’re applying sunscreen or bug spray, or find a dog-safe option.

If you have a pup with white or thinner fur or lighter pigmentation on their nose, you may even consider sunscreen for them! There are many dog-specific sunscreens available that can protect your pup from potentially harmful UV rays!

Dog, memorial day safety, pet safety

Celebrate Responsibly

Memorial Day weekend can be a great way to kick off summer and start enjoying the warm weather and sunshine with your four-legged family member. If you are including your dog in holiday weekend festivities, remember to do so responsibly. And don’t forget to have fun, too!