Labor Day Should Not Mean More Work

Ways to Ease the Stress of Labor Day for You and Your Pets

Do you plan on traveling with your pet?
For many, this long weekend may include a road trip.  Be prepared.  Does your pet get anxious or sick in the car?  If this is the first time you will be traveling in the car with your pet and you’re not sure, go for a test ride! This will help you recognize any issues in advance and ensure you still have time to discuss options with your veterinarian if needed. If anxiety medication is required, this will also provide you with extra time to see how your pet responds to the medication prior to travel. Planning ahead will prevent travel delays.

Will there be fireworks?
Many of us love firework on the holidays, but those with pets that have noise phobias dread them. This excessive fear of the sound of fireworks can leave the pet so panicked that they require anti-anxiety medications or sedation.  If your pet was never exposed to fireworks but fears other loud noises (i.e. thunder, alarms), this may give you an idea of how they will respond and if medication is needed.

Other pets are curious and can even eat fireworks! Ingesting fireworks often causes vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or thermal burns. Less commonly, they can also cause electrolyte abnormalities or heavy metal poisoning.  Fireworks should be safely stored and set off in areas out of reach for your pet. This also includes sparklers, which are another popular holiday novelty that have the potential to cause burns or lead to a foreign body obstruction in your pet.

What other outdoor activities are planned?
Boating is a popular event during this long weekend.  Since unforeseen accidents can occur even with dogs that strong swimmers, it is important to be proactive and use precautions.  Research flotation devices before deciding on which to purchase and ALWAYS supervise your pet when they are in the water.

If you choose to go on a hike instead, keep your eyes peeled for any warning signs about blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), which can cause neurological signs, liver damage, and skin damage. It may be found in fresh and brackish (not quite fresh and not quite salt) water, which may look pea-green with thick mats of green or blue-green algae on the surface. Respect the warning signs and keep your pet away!

What’s Labor Day without a barbeque?
To plan a pet-safe gathering, make sure that your pets do not have access to any human food or garbage.

Some common barbeque hazards include:

  • Corn on the cob
  • Grapes
  • Chicken bones
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol

Never leave your pets unattended when there is food displayed. Ingesting any of these items may lead to your pet spending the holiday at the vet.

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, our pets still manage to gain access to these items.  In the event your pet should ingest a potentially harmful substance or medication, have the phone number to your veterinarian and local veterinary emergency clinic available.  Pet Poison Helpline® is available throughout the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean for pet owners and veterinary professionals by calling 855-764-7661. Additional information can be found online at



Written by:
Seana Juliano, DVM student extern, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2023
Kathy Wolsieffer, CVT, Veterinary Information Specialist