HOUSTON -

The Houston Humane Society wants all animal lovers to take steps to ensure pets have a happy, healthy and humane Labor Day Weekend. Here are some tips.

Picnics and barbeques are popular ways to celebrate Labor Day outside. Keep in mind that animals can suffer from heat stroke just like humans. Make sure you give pets plenty of breaks from the heat. If you plan to be out in the heat all day, you may opt to leave your pet at home or inside.

If you are taking your pet outside with you, be sure they have access to fresh water at all times.  If you are planning to spend the day at the beach, by a pool or at a river, monitor your pet at all times. Even dogs that are strong swimmers can get into danger.

Don't give your pet "people" food.  It may seem like a great idea to reward your pet with scraps from the grill, but many foods can be hazardous. Keep your pet on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can lead to severe indigestion and upset stomach. Examples of everyday hazards include avocados, grapes, raw/undercooked meat and onions.

Never leave your dog unattended with a barbecue pit while it is in use. That delicious food might be too much for them to resist. An overturned pit could cause serious damage to your pet in the blink of an eye. It is also a potential fire hazard.

There are a few barbecue staples you need to keep out of your dog's reach.  Alcoholic drinks have the potential to poison pets.  Matches and lighter fluid, if ingested, can cause harm to pets.  Lighter fluid can cause skin irritation as well.  Citronella candles, insect coils and oil products can cause stomach irritation and possibly damage a pet's central nervous system.

Mosquitoes are a way of life in Houston, but repellant products made for humans often contain DEET, which is an ingredient that can induce vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and drooling in our pets.  Look for a pet specific mosquito repellant to use on your dog this holiday.

Keep gates, fences, and doors closed.  Labor Day is a high traffic holiday with many people coming and going from cookouts, pool parties, picnics and other outings. Save yourself the heartache of a lost pet by keeping entryways secured.