|For immediate release: August 29, 2023
Media contacts: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724
MDARD Encourages Owners to Help Keep Their Animals Safe this Labor Day Holiday
Keep animals happy and healthy as they enjoy the last days of summer fun
LANSING, MI—As Michiganders prepare to celebrate the last days of summer, this Labor Day holiday, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) would like to remind owners of some of the best ways to keep their animals healthy and safe.
“When making any holiday plans, it is important not to overlook the needs of our animals,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM. “From ensuring that they are fully vaccinated to making sure they are cool and comfortable when the heat index is high or the air quality is poor, there are many precautions owners can take to keep their animals safe this Labor Day.”
Keep animals safe this holiday by following these six easy tips:
Vaccinations are central to animals’ preventative care as the vaccines can protect animals against common diseases, such as rabies and distemper. Contact your veterinarian to ensure your animals’ vaccinations are complete and/or to schedule an appointment.
Just like people, animals can quickly get parched in hot temperatures. No matter the species, animals should have access to unlimited cool, clean, fresh water to prevent dehydration.
An animal’s age, breed, type of coat, and health history can all play a role in their ability to tolerate the heat. Keep an eye on them for signs of heat stress—like increased panting or drooling and being more lethargic. If they are showing these signs, it is time to immediately move them to a cooler area.
Also, consider talking to your veterinarian. They will have a greater knowledge of your animal(s) and be able to give more specific guidance on how to best handle them in hot weather.
HABs form due to a rapid growth of cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, which are naturally found in lakes, rivers, and ponds. To prevent illness in animals, keep them out of areas with scums or discolored water, rinse them off after contact with any lake water, and bring clean, fresh water for them to drink. If an animal becomes sick after contact with a suspected HAB, call your veterinarian right away.
Also, animal illness due to HABs is reportable to MDARD. To report cases, submit a Reportable Disease Form or call 800-292-3939.
With all the summer fun and outdoor activities, it can be easy for animals to sneak away and become lost. Make sure they have identification tags and/or microchips that are up to date with your current contact information, ensuring a better chance they can be returned home.
These tips can help keep your animals safe and healthy throughout the holiday. If there are any concerns about your animals’ health now or throughout the year, please talk to your veterinarian.