World Pet Memorial Day

When you lose a pet, it is important to take care of yourself, allow yourself to grieve, and discover ways to honor your dearly departed loved one. World Pet Memorial Day is a day set aside for just that reason. It is a day to reflect, honor, and celebrate the love shared with pets who have passed. There are many ways to memorialize our pets who are no longer with us, from planting a memorial garden to sharing stories online. I’ve compiled a few of my favorite ways to honor the pets I’ve lost in the video below.

There is no right or wrong way to honor your pet, only what feels right to you. Most importantly, remember to take time on World Pet Memorial Day to feel, the loss of a beloved pet is never easy and the pain we feel in their passing takes time to process and heal. The bond and love we share with our pets mean that they will always be there with us.

For more resources for those experiencing the loss of a beloved furry, feathered, or scaly family member check out our When You Lose a Pet section.

Summer Safety Tips

The seasons are changing! As we gear up for all sorts of summer fun, it is important to keep our pets’ safety in mind. SPCA International’s pet health expert, Emma, has rounded up a few of the most common summer pet safety issues and shares how you can keep pets safe.

Prevent Animal Poisoning

March is National Pet Poison Prevention Month, so resident pet health expert, Emma has rounded up some tips to remind us all how to keep pets safe. From human medications to certain foods, some items are best kept out of our furry friends’ reach.

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

The holiday season is upon us, a time for families and friends to get together to share some cheer and good food. Our furry friends are never hard to find during this time of year, usually sitting right by our feet to catch any delicious treat that might hit the floor. While we may have a second helping of apple pie or sweet potato casserole, our dogs and cats should steer clear of these and other ingredients found in holiday treats.


September is Emergency Preparedness Month, so we have rounded up some tips about how to include Fluffy and Fido in your plan. Too often, pets are lost, hurt or traumatized during emergency situations. Check out this “Ask Emma” video to get the tips you need to be prepared.

When disaster strikes SPCA International mobilizes funding to support grassroots organizations doing everything they can to save animals during a crisis. We provide immediate assistance to dedicated partners who risk everything for the safety and well-being of animals in disaster zones. You can support these ongoing efforts by donating to SPCA International’s Disaster Relief Fund.

For more information on how you and your pet can prepare for an emergency check out our Emergency Preparedness resources.

Beat the Heat – Keep Pets Safe this Summer

Most of us enjoy summer hikes, swims, and other outings with our pets… follow these tips to keep them safe from the heat. 

  • Never leave your pet in a car! — A parked car quickly heats up and can reach temperatures 20 to 30 degrees higher than outside. Exposure to this high heat and low airflow can quickly result in the death of a pet. Please leave your pet at home or run that errand later.  
  • Always provide water – In the summer, your pet will naturally drink more water than usual. Make sure they always have plenty of clean water available, especially when you are out of the house. There are some great collapsible bowls for when you and your pet are on the go.  Hiking anyone?
  • Pets need shade – not a doghouse! If pets must be left outside during the day, hanging a tarp is a quick solution for a yard without tree cover. Unfortunately, a dog house can trap heat and become even hotter than outside.  
  • Avoid Asphalt – Hot asphalt can burn our pet’s feet – Consider walking your pet in the morning or evening to avoid the midday sunbaked asphalt.  
  • Trim haircut – Some dogs can benefit from a summer haircut, but they should never be shaved! Check with your vet to learn if you should trim your pet’s coat or not. Some long hair acts as a natural cooling system and daily brushing is the best advice.

If you detect any signs of heatstroke or heat exhaustion, such as excessive drooling/panting, red or blue gums/tongue, vomiting, lethargy, loss of consciousness, collapse and/or uncoordinated movements or if you suspect your pet is at risk, contact your veterinarian immediately for medical care that may save your pet’s life.

Pets and COVID-19: Your Questions Answered

Q: I’ve heard about dogs and cats testing positive for COVID-19, is my pet at risk?

A: The short answer is that most pets are at low risk. There are only limited cases of pets testing positive for COVID-19 and all of them have experienced mild respiratory symptoms and are expected to make a full recovery.

Q: How should I protect my pet from COVID-19?

A: Try to limit your pet’s interaction with other people and animals. For now, walks and fetch with family members is safer than the dog park and cats should be kept indoors if possible. If you are diagnosed with or suspect you have COVID-19, try to limit contact with your pets. If you must interact, wear a mask to protect them.

Q: Can an infected pet spread COVID-19 to my human family members?

A: There is currently no evidence that household pets are a source of COVID-19 infection in humans and there is no reason to believe that pets can spread the disease to humans. Taking proper social distancing precautions for your human family members and pets is the best way to protect all family members.

Q: I’m worried about the possibility of my pets spreading COVID-19 to my family, should I surrender them.

A: Please don’t surrender or abandon your pets because of COVID-19 fears. Again, there is absolutely no reason to believe that pets can spread COVID-19 to humans. Right now, pets can be an incredible source of comfort and they are best off staying with their human families.

**This content is based on information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA).

COVID-19 Safety

For up-to-date information on how to keep yourself and family safe please refer to the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control.

Please refer to the EPA list of approved cleaning products to ensure that your cleaning products can kill COVID-19 and properly disinfect surfaces. Remember to read the label and follow the approved contact time for your products.

Check out SPCA International’s disaster kit essentials to help prepare your pets for emergency situations.

Veterinary professionals should refer to the American Veterinary Medical Association for guidance during this time.

Use to find a shelter in your area that you can support through adoption, fostering or food donations.

Remember to wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm soapy water. Here are some songs that will help you time yourself.

If you’d like to help us continue to provide vital support to shelters and animals around the world in this most challenging time: 

Ice Melt and Antifreeze

Dear Emma,

I live in the Midwest and we see a lot of snow and ice during the winter. I have 2 dogs who love to be outside, but I’ve heard that ice melt isn’t pet-friendly. Is there a safe way I can de-ice my driveway? – Marcia L.

Ice melt and snow go hand in hand. It helps keep our sidewalks and driveways free and clear of ice but it isn’t always nice to our furry friends. Technically there is no 100% pet-safe ice melt, there are some that are safer than others but they all carry some risk. Even “pet-safe” ice-melts can cause GI upset or irritate your pet’s skin. The safest ice-melt to use in a household with pets is one that has a propylene glycol base, however, you should still take precautions when your pet is around ice-melt. You can protect your pet’s feet with booties during the winter months. If your pet is bootie adverse like mine is, then pet wax like Musher’s Secret can help protect their paws, and make sure to clean their feet off once they’re back inside. Of course, you should not allow your pet to ingest ice-melt, contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect they might have, even the “pet-safe” kind.

Dear Emma,

My sister told me I shouldn’t use antifreeze because I have cats and it could kill them. I live in Michigan, so I need to use it. How toxic can it really be? – Janice H.

Antifreeze is incredibly toxic and one of the most common poisonings seen in small animals. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol which, even in small doses can be lethal, affecting the brain, liver and kidneys. Antifreeze can taste sweet which makes it inviting to eat for our pets. Signs of poisoning include uncoordinated movement, confusion, depression, vomiting, excessive thirst, excessive urination, diarrhea, increased heart rate, weakness and seizures.

If you have to use antifreeze in your home follow these simple steps.

  • Keep antifreeze containers tightly closed and stored out of the reach
  • Clean any spills immediately.
  • Dispose of used antifreeze containers properly.
  • Check the radiator of your car regularly, and repair leaks immediately.
  • Do not allow your dog to wander unattended where there is access to antifreeze (e.g., roads, gutters, garages, and driveways).

Additionally, the FDA has labeled propylene glycol safe and it is now used for antifreeze, look for antifreeze with this ingredient instead of ethylene glycol. As always if you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, even if it not showing any symptoms contact your veterinarian immediately.