For me, this holiday always marks the begining of summer and I'm so looking forward to spending some relaxing times at the beach, brisk ocean swims (I'm still trying to get my dog Penny to join me, but she's only comfortable wading up  to her underarms and nothing, not even the promise of her favourite treats, will lure her past that point… but maybe this summer?!), barbeques with friends, and lots of sun-filled outdoor activities. Here's to Summer! Of course, having Penny along makes most occasions more fun, but I try to be mindful of her not overheating, and also watching that a well-intentioned friend doesn't pass along too many barbequed treats. Penny is also terrified of fireworks so a little advance planning for our excursions together makes for a fun and safe time (I always bring along a bottle of Rescue Remedy to quell anxiety, it works like a charm!) and microchipping and an up-to-date ID tag are definitely essentials for any outing.

It never hurts to be reminded of some summer safety tips and this recent dispatch from the San Francisco SPCA pretty much covers it.

Have a safe and happy holiday!



• Keep cool! One of the most important tips for summertime is keeping your pet cool. Make sure your dog or cat has plenty of water and a shady place to cool off. Also consider that dogs are closer to the ground and don’t wear shoes, so be aware of hot asphalt pavement and your pooches’ sensitive paws. Furthermore, we cannot stress enough that dogs should never be left unattended in a parked car, even with the windows down. Temperatures within a parked car can quickly rise to dangerous levels, causing heat stroke or fatality.

• Fireworks are for people, not pets. While fireworks may be beautiful and exciting, they can be very scary for a pet. Resist the urge to take them to loud, crowded firework displays that often cause stress and anxiety. It's not uncommon for scared animals to run away from the loud sounds of fireworks, causing them to get lost (another reason to always ensure your animal has a tag and microchip). If your pet panics from the noise even while at home, talk to your veterinarian about options for relieving anxiety. Finally, keep in mind that curious pets can suffer severe burns if exposed to lit fireworks, or severe internal problems from ingesting unused fireworks.

• As the weather heats up, watch what your pet eats. Fourth of July fun may include parties and BBQs, but be aware that many of your favorite foods and drinks may be poisonous to your cat or dog. Foods that can cause health problems include chocolate, coffee, avocado, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, and raw meat. Keeping alcoholic beverages, matches, and lighter fluid away from pets is also crucial; if ingested they have the potential to poison pets.

By remembering to stay cool, avoid fireworks, and keep certain substances out of reach, you and your pet pals are on your way to a safer and happier Fourth of July holiday!

For more information about San Francisco pet adoption, call the San Francisco SPCA at (415) 522-3500 or visit