With Canada Day just around the corner, many are preparing for a long weekend of celebrations and festivities. And what better way to celebrate than with a cold one while bonding over delicious food and rollicking fun with family and friends? Each year, Whistlerites and visitors alike celebrate the national holiday with a bang. From attending the many free concerts and street entertainment in the village, to going on 3-day camping trips, to viewing the dynamic fireworks displays. While entertaining for us, these celebrations, fireworks and other big-bang festivities can spook even the calmest furry companion. We’ve put together a list of things to avoid to ensure that you and your pet enjoy a happy and safe celebration time.
Very loud, unexpected noises and our pets’ sensitive ears just don’t mix. Fireworks can be traumatic to many animals and create a state of panic. In fact, many pets go missing after being scared, so prevention is key if we don’t want to have our pet run away. If you know that your pet is spooked by loud sounds, resist the urge to take your pet with you and keep them inside instead (perhaps stay home with them). Close doors and windows, turn on the TV or radio, and create a safe, quiet and comfy place with their favourite toy. If you must be outside with your pooch, make sure your dog is leashed and wearing their ID tags in the event they adventure off on their own. Also, if you co-habit with others who enjoy lighting fireworks, make sure to keep them in pet-proof containers and out of reach to avoid ingestion hazard by curious nibblers.
For general safety, ask guests not to feed your dog scraps, supervise kids around dogs, use lidded receptacles and keep dogs out of the trash. Also, don’t feed your dog bones! Cooked chicken bones in particular are a major health hazard, as they splinter easily. They can cause serious obstructions and other difficulties if consumed. Other common barbecue foods that are toxic to dogs include salty and fatty foods, raw meat, avocado, grapes, onions, and chocolate.
Pets suffocate in snack bags literally every day. It takes as few as 3–5 minutes for a dog or cat rummaging through a bag for crumbs to asphyxiate. It can happen to any pet, regardless their breed, size, or age. By simply putting their head in to lick up the crumbs, the bag creates a vacuum-like seal around their neck blocking their ability to breathe. To prevent your pet from getting hurt with bags, make sure you split the empty bags at the seams or make a knot before throwing them away, and ensure pets don’t have access to trash.
Although alcohol toxicity is rare, parties and celebrations can be overwhelming for our pets, causing them to act in ways they normally wouldn’t. If your pet does get into alcohol, it can either get him a little buzzed or, in the most extreme cases, cause him to wind up in the animal hospital. Make sure you keep all drinks out of nose range.
As marijuana has become easier for people to get, it has also become a more frequent hazard for dogs. Recently, we have seen several cases here at the clinic of drugged pets. Dogs (or cats) can ingest marijuana by eating the remainder of a joint, drinking the water from a bong, or getting into someone’s edible cannabis products. This can occur at home, in the village, in parks, or on trails. Some can even be found in human feces and we all know who loves human poop so keep this in mind when camping! Wobbly movements, a dazed or glazed look in a dog’s eyes and nervousness are just some of the signs of weed toxicity in a pet. Appropriate storage and disposal of marijuana and marijuana products is key to preventing pets from cannabis poisoning.
As we live in bug country, the use of citronella candles, insect coils, and other citronella-based repellants is common, however they are irritating toxins to pets. According to the ASPCA, if pets ingest citronella candles, coils or the oil itself, they may display symptoms ranging from an irritated stomach to central nervous system depression. It is important to keep citronella-based products out of the reach of pets. Also avoid the use of human suncreens and bug sprays on pets.
Like most holidays, Canada Day comes with accessories. Make sure that plastic decorations or toxic glow sticks stay far away from your animals.
Wishing you and your furry friends a happy and healthy long weekend!
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