St. Patrick’s Day–the day when everyone is Irish–sets the stage for many festive revelers who enjoy celebrating with parades, parties and, often, a green brew or two. It’s also fairly common to see pets–typically dogs–incorporated into the activities. But whether they’re marching in a parade or just taking it all in with their parents, pets should be given extra care and protection during these spirited celebrations.
Pets should only be included if you know they don’t mind all the hoopla. Even though many will loyally follow their parents anywhere, a lot of pets may actually be overwhelmed by all that’s going on and would be happier in the quiet familiarity of home. If you do opt to include your pet, a harness or leash is absolutely critical, along with proper identification. Microchipping is always the best bet, and a secondary form of ID like a collar tag is good, too. Pets should be protected from loud noises like the roar of a fire truck’s siren or marching bands in a parade. Another sight seen too often is pets dyed green for the holiday. While the pet parent’s intention may be harmless, pets should never have their fur dyed for any reason. Some people have reported health issues caused by hair dye, so it’s very possible that pets could be at risk, too. It’s also important to remember that humans just dye the hair on their heads, whereas a dying a pet’s fur means exposing your entire pet’s body to the dye and the chemicals contained in it. This means burning, itching and skin irritation could occur all over the pet’s body. And since pets naturally lick their fur, chemicals from the dye could be ingested. If your pet doesn’t mind dressing up, and you want her to look festive, opt for a St. Patrick’s Day collar, bandana or other safe and comfortable accessory. Try to resist the temptation of letting your pet share your St. Paddy’s Day fare, too. Although corned beef might seem harmless enough, it has a high fat and sodium content, and it’s sometimes cooked with garlic and onions which can make your furry friend sick. And pets should never be given alcohol of any type, including beer. Also avoid coloring your pet’s food. Again, while your intentions might be based in fun, even edible dyes like food coloring may upset your pet’s tummy.
It’s natural to want to share life’s fun and happy events with those we love, including our pets. Just be certain that your furry friend is truly as eager to celebrate as you are, and make sure all precautions are followed to keep her safe.