Fireworks, picnics and other July 4th traditions can be great fun for people; but all of the festivities can be frightening and even dangerous for animals. Noisy fireworks and other celebrations can startle animals and cause them to run away; holiday foods can be unhealthy; summer heat and travel can be dangerous; large crowds can create unexpected anxiety, and potentially dangerous debris can end up lying on the ground where pets can eat or play with it.
Whether or not you’re planning your own Independence Day celebration, it’s important to take precautions to keep your pets safe both during and after the July 4th festivities.
Here are some tips to keep your pet safe during your celebrations!
Without question, the most important step you can take to protect your pet is proper identification, whether it’s microchipping or updating their tags. It also helps to always keep a current photo of them on hand. If your pets aren’t already microchipped, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. This simple procedure can greatly improve your chances of getting your pets back if they become lost.
Make Sure Your Pets Are in a Safe Area
Make sure the environment is safe and secure. If your neighbors set off fireworks at an unexpected time, is your yard secure enough to keep your pet contained? Evaluate your options, and choose the safest area for your animals, and make improvements if needed to make the area more secure. If your pets are outside with you, remember that too much sun and heat (and humidity!) can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid; make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors; don’t leave them outside for extended periods in hot weather and know the signs that a pet may be overheating.
Keep Them Inside and Think About Leaving Fido Home
Loud noises and large crowds can easily startle your pets and make them run to seek shelter. According to national statistics, more dogs go missing on the July 4th than any other holiday. Try to keep them inside if you plan on being at a fireworks display. Play music or leave the TV on to drown out the noise of fireworks, and make their surroundings as comfortable as possible. Leave out their favorite toys and items that make them feel comfortable.
Be Aware of Food
If you plan on bringing your four-legged friend around food, make sure it is up high enough where they won’t be able to get into potentially deadly foods and drinks like alcohol, avocados, bread (specifically yeast rolls), or grapes. Additionally, keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets. If you think that your pet has accidentally ingested any of these items, contact your veterinarian immediately. Be especially careful to keep them away from these common foods that are toxic.
Lighter Fluid is a Forgotten Danger
Be mindful when lighting fireworks, the grill, or candles. Chlorates are a harmful chemical found in matches that can cause kidney diseases or breathing problems in pets if ingested.
After the Celebration
Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris could make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat. If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.
And Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
Most importantly, have fun with your pets! Only you know your pet’s limits. If they are used to loud noises and crowds, then your Fourth of July celebrations might just seem like another day to them! However, if they have not been exposed to a lot of noise, or don’t do well with crowds, it’s best to leave them inside and comfortable. If your dog has higher anxiety than usual, consider speaking with your veterinarian to look into anti-anxiety options like thunder vests.
“July 4th Safety.” July 4th Safety. N.p., n.d. Web.
“July 4th Safety”, avma.org