Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching, and summer’s unofficial “last hurrah” usually finds many of us at the beach. If you’re planning on taking your furry friend along for some fun in the sun, there are a few precautions you should take to ensure that your pet is safe at the beach, in the ocean, or at the pool.

Water safety should be a top priority for your family and your pets.  Make sure your dog is always supervised near any body of water.  And be prepared to intervene, if necessary.  Heed any warning signs such as “Do Not Swim” because if the water is not safe for you, then it’s not safe for your pets either.  Along those same lines, ensure that your dog can swim since not all dogs are natural swimmers.  The water should be clear of contaminants in case your pet ingests some of it.  As a general rule, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) suggests avoiding “any water that is discolored or smells bad, or is known to receive runoff from industry, farm activity or municipal sewage”.

If you’re taking your dog to the pool, be aware that most pool chemicals, while safe in the correct balance, can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested in large enough quantities.  For those pets taking off to the ocean, a properly fitting life vest is always best since undercurrents and rip currents pose a danger to you and your pets.  Be on the lookout for jellyfish and other marine life that may harm your pet.  Finally, if your pet is spending the holiday on a boat, be sure he/she is wearing that properly fitting life vest.  And always keep him/her secured with a leash or crate while the boat is moving so your dog doesn’t end up falling off.

Whenever your pet is out in the sun, it’s a good idea to apply sunscreen, but make sure the sunscreen is safe to use on pets.  In general, sunscreens containing zinc oxide are toxic to dogs, and if ingested, can lead to anemia and a life-saving blood transfusion.  For cats, avoid any sunscreens containing salicylates.  Even small doses can land your cat in the hospital.  One veterinary dermatologist recommends Bullfrog sunscreen for pets at risk for sunburn and skin cancer.  It may seem like common sense, but always have plenty of fresh, cool water available for your pets whenever you’re out having fun in the sun.

Of course, your furry friend is always welcome to come stay with us while you get some time away.  As a matter of fact, we’ll be celebrating our own “last hurrah” of summer with our very popular pool and waterplay activities.  Both will come to an end with the end of the Labor Day weekend.  So, don’t forget to make your reservation to ensure your pet has a spot by giving our reservation specialists a call today at 301-258-0333.  We hope everyone has a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!