Memorial Day dangers

Memorial Day is a time for block parties, picnics in the park, barbecuing, or just sitting at your favorite stream, with fishing rod in hand and your dog at your side. Whatever you do to kick back this holiday weekend, keep in mind a few Memorial Day concerns regarding your pets, parties and outdoor activities.

Here are some common dangers:

Table Scraps

It may be tempting to give your pet all those leftovers to reduce the amount you have to carry home, but try to resist his soulful begging. Instead of reducing baggage, you may be cause gastrointestinal upset, which can result in vomiting and diarrhea. Mayonnaise and other dairy based items can be particularly bad. Dogs and cats do not have the necessary enzymes to digest dairy products and spoilage can cause food poisoning. Even if you feed your pet non-dairy items like fried chicken, hamburgers, etc., their pancreas may not be prepared for those foods. The pancreas can become inflamed, leading to pancreatitis and abdominal pain, anorexia and vomiting.

Foreign Bodies

Picnics and parties usually have a variety of disposable items, such as Styrofoam and plastic utensils. Unfortunately, pets may ingest some of these items, leading to gastrointestinal obstruction. Another concern is playing with small balls such as SuperBalls or racquetballs. Many dogs love to play fetch with these but if they are too small, the ball can become lodged in the throat and obstruct the airway. Make sure the toys you use are too big to be swallowed or stuck in the throat.

Heat Illness

Keep in mind that your pet may not be able to dissipate heat as well as you. Avoid exercise in the mid afternoon heat and always have water available. Stop all play and exercise if you pet seems disoriented or collapsing.

Water Safety

Water commonly accompanies outdoor family activities. Usually water activities are fun, relaxing and entertaining but tragedy can occur without proper caution. Pets can drown in lakes and pools just like people. Even if your pet seems to want to keep playing fetch in the water, at some point you will need to take a break. Older dogs weaken more quickly, even if they are excellent swimmers. Exhaustion can make swimming and keeping his head above water more difficult.

Another concern is related to stagnant pools of water. At certain times of the year, algae forms along the edges of stagnant or infrequently used bodies of water. Some forms of this algae, particularly blue-green algae, is very dangerous. Ingesting some of the algae can cause serious, rapid illness and can kill pets. Don’t allow your pet near stagnant water or algae unless you know for certain that it is safe, and make sure he doesn’t drink from these water sources.


Fireworks are sometimes set off as the moon rises. Their beautiful display is quite distracting and you may not remember to think of your pet. Loud noises and bright lights can easily frighten your pet, which can cause him to run away. After being lit, fireworks can be quite hot for a period of time and burns can occur if your pet is allowed to investigate. Fireworks can also go off near your pet, causing impact injury and burns. Be very careful when combining pets and fireworks. Keep your pet on a leash and confined. If he becomes frantic, it is time take him somewhere safe and quiet or even go home.  We have some a very good medications to help noise anxiety called Sileo – call our office if you would like more information. 740-587-1129.


Be aware that the bait you use to catch fish is also tempting to your pet. Many dogs and cats have eating bait, only to have also swallowed the hook and line. Pets have also been known to step on hooks, resulting in embedding of the hook in their skin. The most important thing to remember regarding swallowing a hook is NOT TO PULL THE LINE. This will result in setting of the hook and increasing the chance that your pet will require surgery to remove it. Tie the line to your pet’s collar to prevent him from swallowing more of the line and contact us.

We hope these tips keep your dog safe this Memorial Day.