Labor Day is known as the last weekend of summertime fun, and a great time to travel with your furry family to a favorite vacation spot or just stay home and relax.

While holiday weekends are fun with your four-legged friend, they can also bring a few risks associated with the heat, food, and general festivities. Here are a few pointers on how to keep your pet safe this Labor Day weekend.

If you are traveling with your dog or cat

Getting packed for an action-filled weekend or vacation is exciting; however, be mindful that traveling with a pet requires a few adjustments to the usual road trip itinerary.

  • Make sure to plan for potty and water breaks – Offer your pet enough rest stops to relieve themselves to keep them comfortable and your car accident-free. Look for rest areas with dog-friendly spots, so you can give them a little walk to help use up some of the pent-up energy.
  • Buckle up! Keep your pet safe by buckling them in their crate or carrier to the seat belt. You can also invest in a pet seat belt or harness.
  • Keep the water coming! Even when you are en route to your destination, have plenty of extra water for your furry companion, including a collapsible or non-breakable water bowl.
  • Bring your pet’s medical records. Pack a copy of your dog or cat’s medical history, vaccination records, and medication (if prescribed by your veterinarian). Also, make sure to research and save the numbers of the local emergency veterinary hospitals along your route and at your final destination.
  • Make sure your pet’s ID tags and microchip are current. Sometimes, the unthinkable happens. You turn your head for a moment, and suddenly your pet runs off or becomes missing. Current ID tags and a microchip are the best ways to be reunited with a lost pet.

If you are enjoying the outdoors

Algae found in ponds can be deadly for your dog

To ensure your furry friend is having safe fun in the sun, follow these essential tips.

Water Pet Safety

Many dogs love to swim, but not all of them are good swimmers. Even if they are, they can become fatigued in the heat and be at risk for drowning. Always supervise your pet around water and if on a boat or in deep waters, outfit them with a fitted life preserver.

Check local water warnings before heading out to a lake, pond or river. Dangerous and deadly blue-green algae have plagued several bodies of water in the Southeast United States. Prevent your pet from possible algae poisoning by avoiding small ponds and certain lakes. 

Pet Heat Safety

If you’re planning on outdoor time with your pet, make sure they have access to shade and water. Pets are more susceptible to those intense UV rays and can dehydrate quickly. Always plan on keeping them near shade or shelter, where they can relax and cool off. Never leave your pet in the car. Read more tips on how to avoid heatstroke here.

BBQ Safety

What holiday isn’t complete with a smorgasbord of food? All the goodies off the grill or picnic table can certainly be appealing to your pet. Make sure to keep them away from the following:

  • Bones, corncobs, and skewers are all flavorful for your pup, yet can result in choking or a dangerous obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • A hot grill and meat grease can cause burns if your pet gets too close.
  • Items such as onion, grapes, and garlic are toxic to dogs.
  • Feeding a pet your own food, especially greasy foods such as hamburgers, can cause pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation of the pancreas that is linked to feeding a pet table scraps.

You can reward your pet for their good behavior by giving them a small amount of green beans or baby carrots. If you allow your pet outside with you during the festivities, make the grilling area, along with the outdoor table, off-limits to them while you are cooking or eating.

If your pet is staying at home with a sitter

Tips for your pet sitter.

Taking one last summer vacation without your pets? That is okay! But make sure their sitter is prepared for an emergency. In your pet sitting directions or information packet for boarding include:

  • Details of your pet’s daily activities so your sitter will know if your dog or cat’s behavior is abnormal
  • Primary care veterinarian phone number and address
  • Pet insurance policy and card
  • Vaccination records
  • List of medications with directions
  • The local 24/7 animal emergency hospital include the phone number and address/directions
  • And, if appropriate, you may want to make sure that your primary care veterinarian’s office has your pet sitter’s name on your pet’s records as an authorized care provider to make decisions if you are not accessible.

We hope these tips help you enjoy the last weekend of summer with your furry friend. While The COVE wishes you and your pet a Happy Labor Day, don’t worry, we will be open all weekend and on Labor Day. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for pet emergencies – located at 6550 Hampton Roads Pkwy, #113, Suffolk, VA. We welcome your call anytime, day or night, at 757-935-9111.

About Us

The COVE’s veterinarians and staff wholeheartedly embrace the core values of community, collaboration, commitment, compassion, and integrity. This focus ensures that pets, the people who love them, and their primary care veterinarians have as positive and affirming a healthcare experience as possible, regardless of the circumstances that bring us all together.