10 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe This Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and many people are out celebrating the warmer weather with a backyard barbecue, a day on the water or a road trip. While it can be fun to include our pets in the festivities, it’s important to make sure they stay happy and healthy. Here are 10 expert tips to keep your pets safe this Memorial Day.

1. Guard the food

Many typical Memorial Day barbecue foods—grapes, guacamole, chocolate, alcohol, etc.—can be toxic to pets. And even with foods that aren’t toxic, pets still can get sick if they consume them in excess.

If you’re hosting a barbecue or bringing your animal with you to someone else’s gathering, keep an eye on the food and beverages at all times, and let other guests know they shouldn’t feed any snacks to your pet without your approval. It’s better to be stingy with the treats than to have to manage an animal with an upset stomach or take a trip to the emergency vet.

2. Mind the fire

dog licking a grill

Credit: NRedmond/Getty Images

Along those lines, if you’re barbecuing or going to a gathering this Memorial Day weekend with your pet, remember animals and fire don’t mix. It’s often too tempting for an animal to see what’s on the grill, which can result in some serious damage. Likewise, your gathering might include candles or a bonfire that can injure your pet.

In these situations, it’s usually best to leave your animal at home, but if you can’t—or if you’re hosting the event—try to keep any flames in an area that’s off limits to pets.

3. Beat the heat

Access to shade and cold water is imperative if your pet will be outside with you on a hot day, and it should go without saying that you should never leave your pet in a car. “If it’s hot outside for you, it’s even hotter for your pet,” the American Veterinary Medical Association says.

Keep animals off hot surfaces, such as asphalt, which can burn them, and know the signs of heatstroke. Get your pet to a cool place immediately and contact an emergency vet if you see symptoms, including excessive panting or drooling, restlessness, unsteadiness, a deep red or purple tongue or collapse.

4. Watch the water

Just like with fire, always supervise pets around water. Odds are most cats probably won’t want to go for a swim with you, but if you’re taking your dog for a day on the water, remember they don’t automatically know how to swim.

Even water-loving dogs can run into trouble. “Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats,” according to the ASPCA. “Also, try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains potentially dangerous chemicals like chlorine.”

Plus, watch out for toxic algae and other dangers from natural water sources.

5. Know your neighbors

Maybe you don’t have big plans for Memorial Day, but your neighbors do. Protect your pet from gatherings where you aren’t in control of what goes on. For instance, if your neighbors plan to set off fireworks, try to get a heads up, so you can shelter your pet from the startling noises. “Sound-proof and white-noise your house starting well in advance of the festivities,” PetMD recommends. “TVs, radios, heavy curtains, closed windows and lots of AC (if you can afford it) work wonders. Hanging out in the most cozy, shut-in room can handle the problem, too.”

Many pets are lost over holiday weekends, so do everything you can not to add to that number.

6. Safely fight pests

Dog scratching

Credit: Christian Buch/Getty Images

The unofficial start of summer means the pests are coming out in full force. Make sure you’re keeping up with your pet’s flea and tick treatment, as well as heartworm prevention.

If you’ll be spending time outdoors with your animal, avoid using any human insect repellent on them or even around them, as it can be extremely toxic. “Signs of repellent toxicity include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy,” according to the ASPCA. “DEET, a common insecticide in products for humans, may cause neurological issues in dogs.”

7. Don’t overdo it

Even if you’re planning some pet-friendly activities, such as hiking, this Memorial Day weekend, it’s key not to overdo it. Both you and your pet might still be a little out of shape from sedentary winter months.

“Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature,” the Humane Society of the United States says. “On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing.”

And always remember to carry enough water for both you and your pet.

8. Practice vehicle safety

If you’ll be traveling with your pet for Memorial Day weekend, put vehicle safety first. For starters, take heat seriously. “On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes,” according to HSUS. “After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.”

Moreover, keep your pet safely restrained in the vehicle while you’re driving, and pack a travel kit of pet first-aid items and other essentials in case of an emergency.

9. Check their ID

cat wearing a harness and leash outside

Credit: ajr_images/Getty Images

Before going out and about with your pet, take the time to check all their forms of identification, as well as their gear. Make sure they’re always wearing a collar with an up-to-date ID tag, and get them microchipped if you haven’t already. Verify your information is still correct with your microchip company. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can have your vet scan your pet’s microchip to confirm it still works.

Furthermore, check for wear and tear on your pet’s leash, harness and any other gear you’ll be using. It’s always better to be safe and replace questionable items before they can cause a problem.

10. Go plant-based

As long as you’re ensuring your pet’s health and well-being for the holiday weekend, why not extend that care to all animals by opting for plant-based cuisine? Host a vegan barbecue, and show all your friends how filling and delicious plants can be. You can even stock up on the best fruits and veggies for pets, so you don’t have to feel guilty about slipping them a little treat.

Main image credit: scampdesigns/Getty Images


Maria P
Maria P13 days ago

thanks for sharing

Caitlin L
Caitlin L16 days ago


Dani Louise
Dani Louise18 days ago

Really amazing tips. I would like to add one more points in your post. If we will use invisible fence collars then we can keep our dog safe. The fence works great and last night I ordered invisible fence batteries from Circuitcell at a very reasonable price. Keep Blogging.

Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson19 days ago

Thank you.

Edgar Z
Edgar Zuim19 days ago


Marija Mohoric
Marija M19 days ago


Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn20 days ago

Many thanks to you !

Mark Turner
Mark Turner20 days ago


Hannah A
Hannah A20 days ago

thank you