Many of us had a particularly harsh winter that seemed never ending, so it is with great joy that I look forward to Memorial Day and the start of a nice, warm summer. While the final Sunday in May is commonly known as the weekend that ushers in summer, of course we know the real importance of the day is to honor fallen men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces.

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Memorial Day ceremonies and parades are common in many towns, both large and small. They say that everyone loves a parade, but if you plan to pay your respects with a four-legged family member in tow, keep these safety tips in mind!

  • Parades are crowded with people and strange sights and sounds. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with an identification tag in case he gets lost. Having your pet microchipped is an extra guarantee that you’ll get him back if he’s lost—it’s an ID tag he can’t slip out of!
  • Leash your pet. No matter how well behaved your pet is, make sure his collar or harness is attached to a leash attached to your person. This will keep you both out of trouble.
  • Memorial Day is generally a weekend of mild weather, but if it’s already hot where you live, keep heat stroke in mind. Make sure your dog has shade and water available, and if it’s unseasonably warm, keep brachycephalic (snub nosed) and senior pets at home.
  • Pay special attention to your pet when the parade floats are rolling. Even though they are going slowly, accidents can and do occur. A hit-by-car accident can be prevented by being vigilant with your four-legged friend’s whereabouts at all time.
  • Speaking of parade floats, be mindful of the candy and trinkets thrown into the crowd. While these sweets are a treat for us, they aren’t so good for our pets, many of whom just can’t resist the temptation to retrieve.
  • If fireworks are a part of your town’s celebrations, it is best to leave your pet at home. Many dogs suffer from noise phobias associated with fireworks, and their first instinct is to run off.
  • If you must bring your pet to an event featuring fireworks, keep your pet well away from the action. Even if your pet is fine around the noise of fireworks, they can still pose a real threat. Both live and spent fireworks pose the risk of burns or toxicity if ingested.

While we take some time out of our busy lives to remember those soldiers who gave theirs, remember also to keep your pets out of harm’s way. Nothing will spoil your holiday weekend like a trip to the emergency clinic!

May 27, 2014
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