The red, white and blue banners are going up, the picnic plans are in place, and maybe you’re heading to a parade or fireworks display. While you make plans to enjoy Memorial Day, make plans to keep your pets safe.
If you’re celebrating with friends and family at home:
- Make sure guests know the house rules about whether Fido or Fluffy can go outside and inside. A pet that’s not usually indoors can get into mischief if left alone. And an indoor pet that roams into the yard is at risk of getting loose. Put notes on the doors as a reminder—and on any outdoor gates, as well.
- Protect pets in aquariums or cages from curious little hands. Make sure kids know the rules about Harry the hamster or Moby the fish, and to ask an adult before touching the pet or anything around it. If you’re not sure a child is old enough to obey the rules, just move your little guy into a room that won’t be used. Or find a way to keep him from view.
- If you’re grilling out, make sure the cooking area is stable. A frisky pet or errant ball could knock hot coals or food onto a pet or people.
- For indoor pets who might be shy or skittish, prepare a private place where they can relax and feel safe.
Heading off with Fido to someone else’s house?
- If the owners have pets of their own, make introductions between any four-legged friends slowly. Give each animal a place to feel safe.
- Don’t assume the yard or home is pet-proof. When one of my relatives was taking care of her “grand-dog,” she never thought to secure the cabinet under the kitchen sink. You guessed it: the dog got into rat poison. He’s okay now, but that lesson had everyone worried, cost lots of money and several trips to the vet. When you’re visiting, ask the owners about the best place for your pooch to play and rest.
- Plan ahead: bring a water dish and some form of shade for your pet.
Wherever you are, keep two special things at hand: hand wipes and a camera! To keep humans healthy, have everyone wash their hands after playing with the pets. And after the event, send us photos of you and your family celebrating the day!