Locally-Owned in Oakdale and St. Paul, Minnesota

Memorial Day Safety Tips for Pets

It’s Memorial Day! A holiday for many that involves outdoor activities, BBQ’s, family fun, and being in the sun. For everyone that enjoys this holiday with their pets, here are some safety topics to keep in mind to avoid a trip to the emergency clinic this Memorial Day weekend.

Heatstroke can happen in less than an hour, and in some cases, minutes. It’s easier for dogs to overheat than it is for humans. To prevent your dog from overheating, it is crucial to provide access to shade and fresh water at all times. DO NOT leave your dog outside unattended for extended periods of time 

and NEVER leave your dog in a car.

Signs of a heatstroke:

  • Excessive panting
  • Change in mentation/alertness/responsiveness
  • Wobbly walk or inability to walk
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Black, tarry stool

If your pet displays these signs of a heatstroke, seek immediate veterinary care.


Dogs and cats can suffer from sunburn, and just like for humans, it can be very painful. While any pet can get burnt, pets with lighter coats and thinner hair are at higher risk. The best way to prevent a sunburn is to use sunscreen that is specifically created for pets. DO NOT use sunscreen that was made for humans as some types of human sunscreen can be very toxic to pets.

Avoid bringing your pets on a boat if they appear scared or anxious about it. If your pet enjoys boating, ALWAYS have your pet wear a fitted lifejacket. These can be purchased at your local pet store or online. As with people, a lifejacket should fit snugly but not so tightly that it’s uncomfortable. A message to boat drivers – if there is a pet or small child on your boat, remember to avoid driving fast or making sharp turns as they could fall out!


The most common pet emergency during Memorial Day weekend is that a pet eats something he or she shouldn’t at a BBQ or picnic. If you are hosting a BBQ or bringing your dog to a picnic, remind guests NOT to feed your petleftovers or anything off their plates.

    • Corn on the Cob
    • Dogs don’t tend to chew the cob into small pieces before swallowing; thus, cobs are one of the most common
    • things to get stuck in the intestine and need to be surgically
    • removed. If your pet eats a corncob, bring your pet to your family veterinarian or local animal emergency hospital.
    • Bones 
    • Bones, whether chicken, beef, or pork, can cause a lot of damage. In addition to potentially fracturing or breaking teeth, they also pose a significant risk of causing an obstruction or intestinal damage.
    • Toxic Foods
    • Foods that are toxic to pets should also be kept out of your pet’s reach, including chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, and alcohol.
    • Human Food
    • Even “healthy” human foods like cooked chicken breast, seasoned carrots, or mashed potatoes may lead to an upset stomach or pancreatitis.

    If you and your pet are at a BBQ and you notice your pet is vomiting, lethargic, has diarrhea, or stops eating, contact your family veterinarian or local animal emergency hospital.

    We hope you and your pets have a safe Memorial Day weekend! If you are concerned about your pet’s health over the weekend, contact your family veterinarian. If your family veterinarian is unavailable, our emergency clinics in Oakdale and St. Paul are open 24/7 and our team will be ready to help!

    Looking for more Memorial Day safety tips? Click here!

By James Newton, DVM

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