For Americans, July 4th is a time known for pride, exuberance, and festivity. But while we happily celebrate the nation's independence, the day can be confusing and downright frightening for our pets.
More pets are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year, so please keep these Independence Day pet safety tips in mind.
- Stay Shady. Like humans, dogs can also suffer from heatstroke, so keep your dog in shaded areas. Remember that dogs sweat from the pads of their feet and cool off by panting, so they need extra help cooling down in warm weather. Protect your pet from the heat by keeping your pet shaded when the temperature rises.
- Stay Hydrated. Make sure you have a generous amount of fresh water on hand to quench your dog’s thirst, especially during and after a game of 4th of July fetch. Keep a large bowl of water under a shaded tree or pavilion to keep the water cool, and for good measure fill the bowl with half water and half ice.
- Scaredy Cat, Scaredy Dog. Your dog can become easily frightened by 4th of July fireworks and loud celebrations. Make sure your pet is wearing a properly fitted collar with proper identification and tags just in case your pet becomes scared and runs away from home. Better yet, have your pet micro-chipped as a precaution and to make it easier for your pet to be returned home safely and promptly.
Fireworks are no blast for some pets, with many dogs becoming easily frightened by unfamiliar loud noises and lighting. Unfortunately the 4th of July is filled with the deafening sound of loud fireworks bursting with light and loud celebrations. Even if your dog has never tried to escape before, don't assume they will react well to the extra stimulation. When they are frightened, an animal is able to run faster and jump higher than when they are normally just playing. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
- No Booze Hounds. If you and your dog are invited to any Independence Day picnics or BBQ celebrations, remember that alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets so never leave your beverage unattended. If alcohol is ingested, your pet could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed, or could go into a coma. In very severe instances death from respiratory failure caused by alcohol consumption can result. So keep an eye on that party animal!
- Keep Them On Their Diet. Always be aware of what friends and family are sneaking your dog under the table. While tempting on such a festive occasion, human food (especially onions, avocados, grapes, and raisins) should be off limits at all times to your dog. Some human food may be toxic or dangerous if ingested, so advise friends and family not to feed your dog table scraps.
- No Glow. While the luminescent substance contained in glow sticks and glow jewelry is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers. Keep these products away from your pet, and never adorn your pet with them.
- No Coppertone Babies. Unless specifically designed for animals, never apply sunscreens or protective lotions to your pet. They may have skin irritation, and since animals often lick themselves to groom this poses the risk of poisoning through ingestion.
- Grillmasters Be Vigilant. Certain items used to light grills contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop. Make sure whoever is manning the grill is aware of this and vigilant.
Have a fun and Happy 4th of July!