Lucerne Veterinary Hospital Blog

Memorial Day Pet Safety Tips

memorial day

Sizzling hamburgers on the grill, piles of golden corn-on-the-cobs glistening with butter, and the clamor of children splashing in the pool under the warm glow of the sun. Memorial Day is the time we commemorate our fallen servicemembers, but it is also a great occasion to gather with friends and family and spend some time outdoors. Festive situations like these, however, are not always the safest of times for pets. Avoid these potential dangers to keep your pets safe during this Memorial Day holiday.

BBQ Table Scraps

Refrain from giving in to your pooch’s pleading eyes, and keep that grilled food out of reach.  Too many table scraps, especially fatty and greasy foods, can lead to an upset stomach for your pooch, as well as increasing the risk of pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening in some cases. Greasy grill drippings are especially dangerous as frequent culprits for pancreatitis. Make sure to alert your guests to the no table scraps policy.

If you feel you must include Fido in the holiday feast, try to stick with specific dog treats or healthy alternatives such as carrots. Remember also that some human foods are quite toxic to pets, including grapes, raisins, chocolate, and onions. See our toxic food blog for more information.

Make sure to dispose of charcoal adequately. Some dogs find charcoal flavored with meat juices to be quite delicious.

Finally, keep those corn cobs out of reach. When swallowed, pieces of corn cob can become lodged in your dog’s intestines, requiring emergency surgery for removal.


While these adult beverages can add to the fun of a social gathering, keep in mind that these are often sweetened and therefore attractive to pets. Make sure to promptly clean up any spills and avoid leaving open containers around so that you can keep your pets sober this holiday.  Even relatively small amounts of alcohol can be dangerous to pets.  Alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, coma, and even death.


While the rest of us may soak in the rays for long periods of time with few adverse effects, pets can overheat and cannot always show us they are close to heat stroke. In very warm weather, refrain from excessively exercising your dog, and make sure there are plenty of breaks and shaded areas available. Keep fresh water accessible at all times. Remember that older animals and pets with flat faces such as bulldogs and pugs may be more prone to heat stroke. These pets are best kept in a cooled environment such as an air-conditioned room.

Bug spray

Refrain from using human insect repellants on your pets. Products containing DEET, for example, can cause vomiting, drooling, lethargy, and neurologic signs in dogs. Use a pet-specific insect repellent – talk to your veterinarian for recommendations. See our blogs about fleas and ticks for more information.

Fireworks and Crowds

Memorial Day is full of excitement and fun for humans, but some of our more timid furry companions may find it too hectic and stressful a time. Make sure to keep a safe and quiet place for shy pets when you have your guests over.  If you anticipate fireworks, keep pets indoors; many have been lost or injured because they panic and run away when fireworks go off.

Follow these tips to keep your pets as safe and happy as possible over the upcoming holiday weekend!

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