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Summer Pet Safety Series | Part 1: Memorial Day

Posted 05.17.13 by Katie Wooden, DVM

Are you planning a Memorial Day celebration? Whether you’re grilling out in the backyard with friends, digging your toes in the sandy beaches, or cruising out on the lake, your pet may be at risk if the appropriate precautions are not taken. Summer pet safety is of utmost importance if you would like for your furry pal to live a long, healthy life!

Please use these tips we’ve put together to keep your pets safe for your Memorial Day festivities.  Oh, and have fun!

For the Water

  • Not all dogs know how to swim! What? Yes, that’s right, not all pups can do the “doggy paddle”. If you’ve got a dense-bodied breed or a dog with short legs such as a bulldog or a pug,they’re more than likely going to struggle to stay afloat.
  • Your safest bet, no matter the breed, is to get a pet life jacket. Not the kind you wear, but the specially made pet life vests that you can find in most pet stores. They are better fit for your pet and have handy little handles (pun intended) that allow you to easily lift your pet from the water should they take an unexpected dip.
  • Lastly, do yourself and your pet a favor by giving them a good rinse after swimming in the lake, salt water, or chlorine pool. This will help keep their coat from getting matted and dirty & prevent skin irritation.

For the Drive

  • If your pet is riding with you in a crate, put ice packs in it with them to insure they stay nice and cool. Also, make sure the crate is plenty ventilated.
  • Try to put them on the most shaded side of the car where the sun is not beating down on them or the crate. To go the extra mile, you could purchase a sun shield for the car window (the kind like you get to shade children in the back seat).
  • As always – bring water! And a bowl. Let them drink often!

For the Outdoors

  • Fleas, ticks, and heartworms, oh my! Please keep your pets protected from these little critters. Make sure you give proper prevention for all of these, especially as the mosquitos get worse since that is the cause of heartworms.
  • Make sure your pet has a shady spot and plenty of water. If you leave the water bowl outside with them, secure it so they cannot tip it over and refill the bowl with fresh water every few hours.


  • Feed them your Memorial Day treats! Keep their regular diet and bring plenty of food.
  • Leave out lighter fluid, matches, or citronella candles.


  • Keep their water supply plentiful and fresh. Many dogs won’t drink warm water.
  • Apply only pet-friendly sun block/bug spray.


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