Memorial Day is the day Americans gather together to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It is also considered the unofficial start of summer and with that, there’s the chance you will celebrate with friends and family members, both two-legged and four!

From barbecues and beach trips to camping, boating, and other fun outdoor activities, here are some Memorial Day safety tips for your pets that you can use throughout the summer!

BBQ Safety

Like children, pets are susceptible to risks when it comes to BBQs and outdoor grills. These include things like burns, eye and skin irritation, choking, interacting with grilling tools, and more. To keep your pets safe around the BBQ this summer, the National Fire Prevention Association says that pets and children should be kept at least three feet away from grills and grilling devices. Be careful with lighter fluid as well, as this can be toxic to pets if ingested.

If your pet does get burned, Dr. Kevin Windsor, DVM, of Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, recommends carefully cleaning the burn area. “Rinse the burn immediately with cold water, cover the area with a light bandage to prevent the animal from licking it, and take the pet to an emergency vet.”

Food Safety

We know Fido may like to beg, especially from guests who will gladly give him or her some table scraps, some foods may be harmful to your pets. Things like raw meats, bones, onions can be toxic to dogs and cats and can cause intestinal damage, or lead to stomach issues and anemia. Also, be mindful of foods like corn on the cob. While the corn itself is fine, eating an entire cob can cause choking or require surgical removal. Other foods that are toxic to pets include avocados, grapes, chocolate, chives, garlic, raw eggs, and alcohol, so these foods and drinks should be kept away from dogs and cats at all times.

If your pet ingests any harmful foods or grilling items, seek veterinary care immediately.

Water Safety

Whether you’re celebrating in your backyard or at the beach, water safety is just as important for your pets as it is for your human family. Dogs are not always naturally gifted swimmers like you might think. If they are still learning, make sure to keep them on a leash and under your control in case they get scared or a wave knocks them down. And don’t force them in if they are not interested in getting wet. At the beach, pay particular attention to any riptides or strong currents. Chat with the lifeguards if you’re unsure. And definitely do not let your pet drink ocean water! Make sure your pet is wearing a life vest as even the best swimmers can have difficulty with currents and waves- even in pools and lakes. Dogs should always wear a life vest when boating.

Sun Safety

Just like us, our pets need to be protected from sun exposure. To keep your pet safe from sunburn and the risk of developing certain skin issues such as skin cancer, consider applying a pet-safe sunscreen to your four-legged friend. Pets with light-colored fur or a thin coat are more likely to get burned, so protect them as best you can! This might mean using an old t-shirt to protect them from the elements, finding them a dog hat that slips over the ears and fastens under their snout, or just limiting their sun time altogether.

Also, make sure your pet has plenty of access to cool fresh water and shade. Click here to check out more tips on how to keep your pets cool in the summer.

ID’s and Microchipping

Summer holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day also include fireworks, which can spook your pets if they aren’t accustomed to loud noises. As you get ready for the summer, now is a great time to make sure their ID tags and microchips are up-to-date with your correct contact information. May is National Chip Your Pet Month, so if your pet is not microchipped, consider the importance of this noninvasive procedure that could help reunite you with your beloved pet if he or she gets out and lost in the frenzy of the holiday festivities.

Should you lose your pet, put signs up in the neighborhood and surrounding areas with a good, clear photo of your pet, some basic information, including temperament and any approachability notes as well as the best phone number to reach you. Also, make sure to check your local shelter as animal control agencies pick up more pets during the summer holidays than any other time of year. Sadly, many unclaimed pets end up being euthanized, so make sure your pets are contained, have proper identification, and ensure their safe return home.

Insect Repellant

Our pets are not immune from the insect annoyances that warmer weather can provide. Mosquitos, in particular, can be a real pest for pets and can cause heartworm, but there are natural insect repellants (some DIY) that you can use to help ward off the little buggers! Essential oils can be a huge help here when mixed with witch hazel or carrier oils like almond, grapeseed, or fractionated coconut oil. You can also buy a pet-friendly insect repellant if you don’t want to make your own.

We hope that you have a happy, healthy, and safe summer with your pets! If you’re interested in adopting, fostering, or volunteering with Paw Prints In The Sand animal rescue, please reach out to us at We appreciate your ongoing support!

Author profile: Kyle Colton is a freelance copywriter, flight attendant and animal mom to Henri (a 13-year-old Landseer Newfoundland), Pearl (a 5-year-old PPITS alum kitty), and Ruby (a 2-year-old rescue kitty).