The Fourth of July conjures images of sunshine, boating, BBQ and fireworks! However, as a pet owner, you also need to think of the safety of your four-legged friends as the summer holiday approaches.
1. Here Comes the Boom!
While many of us enjoy a beautiful fireworks display, our pets can be scared and even injured by the show. Fireworks are loud and scary to our pets. Unfortunately, this is a holiday that leads to many escaped and missing pets. Many dogs that are in a fenced-in backyard become frightened and find a way over, under or through the fence. Those brought along to the show may likewise run away after a sudden “boom.” This is why it’s important to make sure your pets have a collar with ID tags. If your pet is microchipped, be sure that you have registered the chip with your most recent address.
It is best to leave your dog indoors at home with windows closed, shades drawn, and a TV or radio on for background noise. If your dog is kennel trained, the kennel is a perfect safe haven. If you absolutely must take your pet with you, use a strong leash and consider using a chest harness for added security–dogs have been known to slip out of collars. Stay away from the fireworks launch point both during and after the show. Smoke and fumes from fireworks can be irritating to an animal’s airways, which are often more sensitive than ours. In addition, the empty fireworks containers can contain harmful residual chemicals.
If you pet does go missing, start searching immediately! The sooner you start looking, the better the chance of finding your missing pet. Learn more about bringing a lost pet home here or this ASPCA smart phone app provides a personalized recovery kit with step-by-step instructions on how to best search for a lost animal.
2. The Heat is On!
Dogs, cats and our other animal companions can become overheated easily. Avoid outdoor activity with Fido during the hottest time of the day and take walks during the morning and twilight hours. Any pet that is outdoors should always have access to fresh, clean and cool water. Likewise, a shaded spot is a must! And of course, no pet should be left in a vehicle.
3. Just Keep Swimming!
Many dogs enjoy a dip in the lake, but precautions should be taken to avoid accidents or illnesses. Be sure that your furry friend is monitored at all times while swimming. Use a life jacket, not only to prevent accidental drowning but also as visual marker. Avoid areas of the lake with excess plant growth and high boat traffic.
Your dog will inevitably ingest some water while swimming which comes with inherent risks. Help to mitigate those risks by avoiding shallow lakes with algae growth, as blue-green algae is highly toxic to dogs. Dogs can even become ill from drinking too much clean water!
4. I’ll Have What You’re Having!
Many of us love the variety of delicious foods we eat on the Fourth, but don’t share with your pet! Unsupervised pets are likely to eat foods they shouldn’t during cookouts and well-meaning guests may over-indulge your dog with scraps from the picnic table.
- Gastro-intestinal upset is a common malady among pets during the summer holiday.
- Many foods can cause stomach upset, even in small amounts.
- Grapes or raisins can even cause kidney failure in dogs.
- Corn cobs are a notorious cause of intestinal obstruction in dogs around the Fourth of July.
- And no alcoholic beverages for your pets!
Keep your dog on a leash and keep a close eye on your cat during parties. Stick with their normal diets and tell your guests not to feed the pets.
We hope you and your family have a relaxing, fun and safe Fourth of July! If your pet does experience an emergency over the holiday and your family veterinarian is unavailable, both of our clinics are open 24/7, every day of the year.