Independence Day is the quintessential summer holiday, often accompanied by fireworks, food, sun, and fun. It is also an important day with regard to pet safety, as this holiday poses many risks to our four-legged friends. Consider the following tips to ensure you and your pets enjoy a safe, yet fun, Fourth of July. 

1: Ensure your pet is properly identified

Did you know that July fifth is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters? Many pets flee in fright because of the loud noises of fireworks. Proper pet identification is smart year-round but essential at this time of year.

  • Microchipping is a reliable way to protect your pet. The chip is inserted under the skin in a quick and relatively painless process. After registering the chip, your pet can easily be traced back to you should she become lost and found. If your pet is already microchipped, confirm that your registration information is up-to-date. Call us to schedule an appointment to have your pet microchipped.
  • Collar identification tags are a popular way to identify pets and serve as a good back-up option. Ensure that the collar is secure and fits appropriately. Again, make certain your contact information is current.
  • Take a few photos of your pet. If she escapes, you will have her updated pictures to distribute to neighbors and shelters. 

2: Leave your pet at home

It may seem that your pet will miss out on all the fun if you leave her at home, but she may actually prefer it. More importantly, your home is the safest place for her. People may enjoy fireworks, but most animals find them frightening. If you know your dog or cat is afraid of fireworks or loud noises, consider staying home to comfort her. If your pet suffers from a severe noise aversion, consider consulting with our veterinary team to see if calming supplements or medications could help. 

3: Keep your pet on the same diet

Picnics and barbecue gatherings are filled with foods that can be harmful to pets. Protect your pet by avoiding giving her foods, such as:

  • Corn on the cob — This summer treat is known to cause problems in dogs and cats if swallowed. The large cob can become lodged in the stomach or intestines and cause an obstruction that requires surgery.
  • Barbecue ribs or other meats — These foods pose several risks to our pets. Not only can the bones cause blockages or perforations in the gastrointestinal tract, but the rich sauces and rubs can cause problems like pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas gland, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Grapes, onions, garlic, or chocolate — These examples of potential toxins can cause varying problems, such as vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, and kidney or liver failure. 

4: Keep potential hazards out of reach

Foods aren’t the only potential risks for pets at summer gatherings. If your pet must join the party, keep the following items out of reach:

  • Charcoal, especially used charcoal — This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or liver problems and is particularly tempting for pets if covered in food drippings. Throw away charcoal immediately after use and keep the bag inaccessible.
  • Fireworks — Unused fireworks may resemble toys and lure pets to chew and ingest them, which can lead to gastrointestinal or other serious problems. Never light fireworks near your pet.
  • Alcohol — Popular alcoholic beverages are often sweet and appealing to pets. Ensure these drinks are out of reach and monitor pets for signs of alcohol ingestion, including stumbling, stupor, and depression. 

5: Be mindful of the heat

If your pet will be present for any outdoor festivities, establish a heat-safety protocol. Visit our post, Beat the Heat, for more information. 

The Fourth of July should be enjoyed by all, including our furry friends. If possible, safely leave your pet at home this holiday. However, if you are hosting a party or will be at a gathering with other pets, please consider these safety tips. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or are concerned your pet may have ingested something hazardous or toxic.