Australia Day can be a great day to spend quality time with family and friends. Whether you’re enjoying the day over a sizzling BBQ, at the local river, or at one of the best beaches in the world, it’s important to ensure everyone enjoys the day safely – and that includes our furry companions! Below are some of our top tips to keep your pet safe during the celebrations.
A snag on the barbie with a cold one will be a common sight this Australia Day, and it’s not just us that love the sizzling smells of the BBQ. Dogs can be opportunists so it’s so important to make sure they can’t jump up and hurt themselves on the BBQ. As hard as it may be. try not to give in to the pleading puppy eyes that beg for just one sausage. Typical BBQ meats can have a high-fat content which can lead to Pancreatitis and other illnesses. Avoid feeding your pet any leftovers as these can make your pet very sick and be sure to contact your vet as soon as possible if your dog is vomiting, has diarrhoea or just seems ‘off’. Ensure that you never give your dog any cooked bones as these can easily splinter and cause internal tears, become a blockage, and even act as a choking hazard.
Do they really need to dress up?
As cute as it can be, some pets really don’t want to wear Australia Day costumes. Not only can they be uncomfortable, or ‘strange’, but some costumes can cause your pet to overheat – especially in summer. Other pet costume hazards include choking if your pet chews on it (attempting to get the costume off), restricted vision and restricted motion. Rather than a full costume, consider a cute lead or collar addition instead. A small accessory is a great alternative and can help everyone have a happy celebration.
If you really want your pet to look the part, it is important to prepare your pooch for dressing up on special occasions. Just popping a hat on their head or a cape along their back can cause your pet a fright. A short training session each day in the lead up to Australia day will ensure they are comfortable donning their costume on the day – and don’t forget to reward them with lots of treats!
Visiting the beach can be a fun Australia Day outing, and many dogs love to run and splash in the water. Before you take your dog, be sure to check that the beach is dog-friendly. You can check this with your local council, or visit www.doggo.com.au to find a local dog-friendly beach near you. Some dog-friendly locations stipulate certain areas or times when dogs are allowed so be sure to plan ahead and check this out before heading to the beach.
Just like us, dogs can get sunburn so Slip, Slop, Slap and apply pet sunscreen (available at many pet retailers) to your dog’s nose and ears. Dogs who are white or light-coloured are more prone to skin cancers so limit their time in the sun where you can. Not all animals like to swim, and some just aren’t good at it. A great investment is to purchase a dog lifejacket (especially if your dog is going out on a boat). Please do not force your dog to swim if they do not want to.
Wherever you take your pet, be sure to have a good supply of clean drinking water for them. Most pet retailers have handy portable drinking bowls for your pet, and poop-bag dispensers which are great for when you are out and about. Summer days can be hot, so make sure your dog has a shady area to rest and that they won’t hurt themselves on hot concrete.
Do NOT leave your pet in the car!
Under no circumstances should you ever leave your pet in the car. It does not matter if you have ‘left the air conditioner on’ or ‘the window is cracked’, the simple fact is that animals die in cars. Ensure that you have pre-planned your trip by making sure you have filled up your car or have ice for the esky. Every minute matters when your animal is left in a car.
Fireworks around the country will be let off on the night of Australia Day as part of the celebrations. While the fireworks display may be mesmerising for us, the sharp bangs of fireworks are terrifying for many of our pets, and some may try to escape their backyards in desperate attempts to flee the noise. In doing so, they are more likely to be injured, can be hit by a car, or become completely lost well away from home. Be sure to keep your pets microchip and identification information up to date as it can help reunite you with your pet should they become lost.
If your pet may be stressed or frightened by fireworks, keep them inside and stay with them. Background noise like a radio or TV can help drown out the sound, and playing safe games inside can help your pet be distracted from their fear. A walk earlier on in the day can help tire your pet out and they may sleep through the fireworks. If this is not enough to help keep your pet calm, speak to your vet about medication to help keep them safe.