July 4th Pet Safety Tips
Make Your Pet's Celebration Risk Free
The fourth of July is one of our nation's most celebrated holidays, filled with fun backyard activities, barbecue dining and booming fireworks lighting up the night sky.
If you include your pets at a 4th of July celebration, take safety precautions to ensure that your dog or cat is protected from some common maladies.
Pet noise phobia—an extreme fear of a sound—can cause our pets to act aggressively during a fearful event, such as ongoing fireworks. Pets can injure themselves while trying to escape or looking for a place to hide.
Signs to be aware of: hiding, trembling or shaking, sudden urination or defecation, pacing, chewing, digging, barking or howling, and an abnormal clinging behavior around the pet’s owner.
If your pet is left home on the 4th of July, reduce the noise level in your home by running a fan, playing the radio, or closing the windows and the doors to help block out any bothersome noise.
Pet owners can also create a safe haven where their pet can retreat to when he feels threatened. Some animals find refuge in small spaces, such as a closet or their crate. Consider putting their favorite blanket and toys in these areas to create a sense of familiarity and security.
Barbecues can offer tantalizing treats for pets; however, most of them are toxic to our pets:
- Fatty and rich foods such as hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken and baby back ribs can wreck havoc on your pet’s stomach, often leading to indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea and ultimately pancreatitis.
- Raw meat and fish contain bacteria or parasites that are extremely dangerous to our pets and can be fatal.
- Onions and garlic, a common ingredient or condiment in many foods, are toxic to dogs and cats and can lead to fatal poisoning.
- Discarded bones from ribs, steak or chicken can cause an obstruction or lacerations of your pet’s digestive system.
- Make sure to keep pets away from alcohol; wine, beer and other spirits are extremely toxic, often causing life-threatening seizures or respiratory failure.
Many 4th of July parties may be held poolside, at the beach or on a lake, with dogs tagging along. Thousands of pets die in drowning incidents each year. These incidents are avoidable if safety measures are taken.
- Don’t assume your pet knows how to swim; familiarize your pet with water from a young age.
- Supervise pets at all times while they’re around a pool. Your pet should have an easy way to exit the water. Pet-safety ladders can be installed in most pools.
- Never leave your dog unattended at the beach. Dogs can easily become overpowered by tides and currents and become pummeled by a wave.
- If you're taking your dog on a boat, buy a life jacket made specifically for your four-legged companion. This simple but effective accessory can save your pet's life, whether on a boat or swimming in a pool, at the beach or a lake.
Pets can easily become separated from us during a celebratory event: too many people at a party can create confusion, a backyard gate may accidentally be left open, or your dog could get pulled in the opposite direction while swimming unattended at the beach.
Pets left at home may also become anxiety ridden during a firework display and find a way to escape from the house.
Make sure your pets wear a durable collar with up-to-date information on identification tags. Microchipping your pets is another way to increase the chances that your pet is reunited with you should he become lost.
The 4th of July can be a safe, fun celebration for all members of your family. If there’s an emergency, don’t wait to have your pet treated; locate a 24-hour veterinary clinic if your family veterinarian is not available. Keep the phone number handy.