PAWS AND PAGES: Memorial Day and pets

As we all know, Memorial Day is a holiday honoring the people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and have given their lives for our country.

Even though we are still dealing with COVID-19, Memorial Day weekend is going to be a busy holiday! People may be traveling out of town and will do so with their pets. This weekend also marks the beginning of all things summer-related, so there are a few very important things to keep in mind when it comes to protecting your fur-kids’ health and staying safe while celebrating Memorial Day.

It is highly recommended to keep an ID tag on your pet with updated owner contact information at all times. Research has shown that 87 percent of strays are simply lost dogs. Microchipping your pet (along with ID tags) is the quickest, easiest and safest way for pet owners to recover lost pets. If camping, hiking, or just spending time in the outdoors, please remember to have your pet leashed with a properly fitted collar or harness at all times! Pets can easily become curious or scared and wander off into unfamiliar territory.

Pets can become easily dehydrated, too. Cooling off by the pool, lake or clean drinking water is highly recommended while your pet relaxes under the shade. Always have fresh-filtered drinking water available for your pets. Dogs specifically do not sweat and they release body heat through panting.

Spending time in the outdoors with your pet increases the chances of mosquitoes and tick-borne diseases. Remember to always take with you pet safe flea and tick repellants. Do not apply your own (human) mosquito repellant or any other bug repellant as it can be deadly toxic to your pet. Always use pet safe products such as topical or chewable preventatives which can be purchased through your family veterinarian.

Do not apply human sunscreen on your pet as it can be toxic. There are several pet sunscreen products out there that are safe, but the best defense from the sun is to keep your dog in the shade at all times with access to drinking water.

Always feed your pet their own dog or cat food and avoid giving them any of the cookout or barbecue food. Human food may cause digestive problems such as diarrhea or vomiting and may require veterinary care. Keep pets away from alcoholic beverages as they can be highly toxic and even deadly. Barbeques and cookout parties are usually associated with toxic items such as citronella torches, human foods, alcoholic drinks, and cigarettes or tobacco. Always keep a very close eye on pets and never leave them unattended around these items, or around pools and lakes.

While (small) gatherings can be a happy time for everyone, always have a party-free zone for your pet so it can retire there for some quiet time. Remember to keep all gates and doors closed and properly secured at all times.

Lastly, party and travel smart by always keeping in mind what are the needs for your pet (example: any medications, special diets, quiet time, etc.) and by planning accordingly.

The Humane Society of Imperial County team hopes that everyone enjoys their Memorial Day weekend! As we all get ready for summer fun activities to come, we would like to kindly remind everyone to please be mindful of your health and the health of others. Please remember while celebrating with friends and family to practicing social distancing and to continue wearing those face masks.

We invite all pet-parents to come to the shelter to microchip their fur-kids if they aren’t microchipped already. Microchipping is done for $25 only and is done by appointment only for the time being. If you would like to schedule an appointment for your pet, please give our office a call during our business hours at (760) 352-1911.


Devon Apodaca is executive director of the Humane Society of Imperial County.

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