With 4th of July celebrations right around the corner, we wanted to share some helpful tips and suggested precautions to keep your four-legged friends and family members safe!
Check your pet’s ID tag. Be sure your dog is wearing an up-to-date and visible ID tag on their collar at all times. This way, in the unfortunate event that they get lost, they can be returned to you promptly! Each year, many dogs run away trying to escape the commotion of fireworks. Animal shelters across the country are prepared for receiving these “4th of July dogs.” If you find a lost pet, check their tag first and contact their owner, but if they don’t have a tag, we recommend that you take them to your local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.
Never use fireworks around pets. When curious pets get too close to fireworks, whether activated or unused, there is the potential for severe burns and/or trauma. Many types of fireworks contain toxic substances including arsenic, potassium nitrate and other heavy metals. Also, the noise and sight of fireworks displays can spook pets, leading to anxiety and distress. As previous mentioned, many pets will try to get away from the commotion so it is best to keep them in a safe and secure place, preferably at home.
Never leave your pets alone in a vehicle on hot days, even if it is just for a few minutes. Leaving the windows down and/or parking in the shade is not good enough! Temperatures rise very quickly inside a vehicle and since dogs sweat differently than humans, they are not able to cool themselves down enough and can suffer from serious health effects, including death. Due to this, many states have made it illegal to leave a pet in a car during extreme weather.
Keep your pets on their normal diet. Human food and drinks should be out of reach of pets. Any change in a pet’s diet can result in indigestion and diarrhea. Foods and drinks such as alcohol, onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough are especially harmful and can be potentially toxic to animals. Ingestion of alcohol may cause intoxication and weakness that could lead to a coma and/or respiratory failure. Keeping dog treats on hand will allow guests who want to give your dog food a healthy and safe alternative.
Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of pets’ reach. Many types of matches contain chlorates, which if ingested can damage blood cells and lead to difficulty breathing, in the most severe cases it can result in kidney disease. Lighter fluid is also very harmful and can cause skin irritation or gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression if ingested. If inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products away from pets. If a pet were to ingest any one of these products, it can lead to stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. Much like lighter fluid, when these oils are inhaled they can cause aspiration pneumonia.
Never apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet unless it is labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and drooling. Insect repellents that contain DEET are especially harmful and can lead to neurological problems.
If needed, take additional precautions to keep your pet calm. Even well-adjusted pets can get anxious during out-of-the-ordinary events. If your pet is prone to anxiety, please consider consulting with your veterinarian on ways to alleviate their fear and anxiety prior to the 4th of July festivities. There are many natural calming products that may help. We also recommend exercising your dog early in the day, whether they are prone to anxiety or not. Make sure that any off-leash time is securely fenced and any walks have a good leash as some people may set off fireworks before dark.
We hope these tips are helpful, and wish you and your pets a fantastic Independence Day filled with safe summertime fun!