Labor day pet health warnings include preventing risks caused by excess food intake, summertime heat and environmental risks associated with loud parties, open gates, chemicals and wildlife.
With this coming holiday and the “end” of summer for many people, please don’t forget about your pets and risks to which they may be exposed during your celebrations. The kids have started school, the days are beginning their shortening phase, and football is about to kick into full gear; so this long weekend is often a pivotal marker for many people. Parties abound to ring in the new season.
Food Related Risks for Pets
Often these festivities include lots of food. Not necessarily healthy food, but fun tasty food. Your dogs will especially like these foods but you might be in for a trip to the emergency clinic or your veterinarian if you are not careful here. Hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst, pork ribs, BBQ chicken drumsticks and wings are all often associated with pancreatitis. The bones or foil pieces dripping in juices get ingested and form severe blockages. Untreated, these can lead to expensive hospitalizations of surgeries. Untreated they could be the demise of your four-legged partner. So please be careful with what you feed them, what visitors feed them and what gets dropped or thrown in the trash. At minimum you may be ending your party cleaning up vomit or diarrhea.
Also if you have relatives visiting, there may be exposures that are not usually there. Prescription and non-prescription medications dropped or left out are a common source of poisoning. Often your visitors may not have pets at home, so they may not be aware of this danger. Sugar free candies and gums often use xylitol as a sweetener. This sweetener has sent many pets to the ER with seizures and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Don’t forget the chemicals used for your yard or for pest control, or your favorite lighter fluid
Heat Related Risks for Pets
It’s still hot out there! Make sure they have ample water, and access to shade at all times. Also, if you cannot press and hold the back of your hand firmly to the pavement for a complete five seconds without discomfort, it is probably too hot for your pets’ pads.
Dogs who revel in extended fetch games and running games will overheat faster than they realize, so please be aware of their condition during play. They will be having too much fun to know to rest on their own.
Please remember they cannot sweat as we do so panting is their main method of cooling. Dogs with short faces, small nostrils, heart disease, or weight issues or who are senior are at a disadvantage for this cooling and the effect is exponential!
Your car also can still become a veritable oven in a short time. Even quick trips into the store can be deadly if your pet is left in the car while you are trapped in checkout behind the person arguing over the sale price or fumbling through their coupons.
It is still the season of heat stroke! They may appear overly lethargic, have an absent stare and are excessively panting or having labored breathing, have their gums and tongue take on a very bright red or a blueish or purple tint, have difficulty standing or walking, act confused or disoriented, is profusely drooling, or acting anxious and restless. All of these can be signs of heat stroke. If these symptoms are seen, get them to a cooler place, apply cool (but not ice cold) towels to the feet and belly and groin areas. Then get them to the vet as soon as you possibly can to get that temperature down quickly but safely.
Those of you with pools, be sure your pets can swim and are not left unattended. Drowning happens with pets too. There are also life vests for pets, so do not be afraid to try these as well. Then your pups can enjoy the cooling of the water with minimal risk of drowning.
And remember if your pet is light furred, light skinned, or has a thin coat, they can get sunburn too! There are pet friendly sunscreens available so invest in these too if you don’t want your Maltese to look like a lobster.
Environmental Related Risks for Pets
With Labor Day parties, much time is often spent in the back yard. There are usually many people coming and going through the house and the gate of the fence. Please be aware and have your guests aware of the gates and doors. Be sure they are closed properly when the pets are about. It is very easy for someone to leave one slightly open enough for your pet to escape. Then they are at risk of injury from passing cars; other chemicals; and other animals, whether wild, domestic, or feral.