The Fourth of July is a fun holiday for those of us with opposable thumbs, capable of grilling out and shooting off fireworks. However, when surrounded by new people and fireworks, this holiday can be a very frightening time for dogs and cats. The following nine steps will help you keep your pets calm and relaxed while you celebrate our country’s independence!
- If possible, leave your pets at home
Fireworks displays, parades, and parties are loud, unfamiliar environments that can be frightening to pets and might cause them to run away.
- Keep your pets in a safe spot away from loud noises
Many pets suffer from anxiety related to loud noises or can become agitated as new people enter their home. It’s a good idea to isolate your pet from the festivities in a safe, quiet room or crate to keep them away from stressful environments.
- Make sure your pets have identification tags with up-to-date information on their collars
These tags will allow your pets to be returned to you if they run away.
- Microchip your pet
This simple procedure drastically improves the likelihood of your pet being returned to you if it ever runs away or goes missing. If someone finds your dog after it runs away, they can take it to a local veterinary clinic or animal shelter and have it scanned for a microchip. When the microchip is activated by a scanner, it transmits an identification number, which can be used to find your contact information and inform you that your pet has been found. It’s also important to update your information to make sure that your pet can be returned to you.
- Don’t use insect repellant or sunscreen on your pets unless it is specifically labeled for animals
Ingestion of sunscreen can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling, and insect repellant contains compounds that can cause neurological problems in animals.
- Keep an eye on what your pet eats or drinks
It’s important to keep your pet on its normal diet. Any addition of “human food” or other things other than what your dog usually eats can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Additionally, many foods, like onions, chocolate, avocado, and grapes, can be toxic to animals. Alcohol can also cause serious illness for pets, so keeping your beer or mixed drinks out of reach is important to keep your pet safe.
- Don’t put glow jewelry on your pets or let them play with glow sticks
The liquid inside glow sticks isn’t toxic for pets but can cause them to drool excessively, become nauseous, and vomit.
- Never use fireworks around pets
In addition to causing fear and stress, fireworks can cause burns to the face and paws of curious pets. Even unlit fireworks can be dangerous. Many contain compounds that can be toxic if ingested.
- Monitor your pets for signs of heat stroke
The symptoms of heat stress are as follows:
- Anxiousness, restlessness and agitation
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
- Very bright red tongue, very bright or very pale gums
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
If your dog shows signs of heat stress, remove them from the heat and begin cooling them with water by using a water hose or putting them in the bathtub. Immediately contact your veterinarian. For more information about keeping your pets safe in the heat of the summer, click here.
If you believe your pet will suffer from anxiety during this holiday, make an appointment to discuss treatment options with a veterinarian at the Northside Animal Clinic. We are happy to help you manage your pet’s stress to keep them calm and comfortable so you can enjoy your holiday!