The 4th of July is around the corner and while many people are excited to this long holiday weekend, many pet parents are dreading it because of how it affects our dogs and cats. Many shelter workers are not excited by this holiday weekend as it is followed by the busiest day for shelter animals. Every year we warn pet owners to take precaution, but it falls on deaf ears. We love fireworks, but pets don’t associate the lights, booms and flashes with a celebration, but it is frightening. Most pets are terrified of fireworks, and the smells, noises and lights they produce. Their senses are inundated and generally this leaves them uneasy and some just plain frightened.
So once again, we want to remind people that they should take steps now to make sure their animals are safe.
Microchip your pets. This can be done at vet offices or clinics. VIP clinics only charge $10 to microchip your animal. If you have moved, make sure to call the company and give them your updated information as well.
Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and tags. This is hands down the fastest way to get you pet home. Microchips require a scanner to read and often that means a trip to the shelter to find it. A tag can help people notify you before your animal ends up at the shelter.
On the 4th
Keep your Pet Indoors at All Times! I can tell you to microchip your pet, however, the way to keep your pets the safest is simple. Even if your pet is used to being outside, the resulting panic caused by fireworks or other loud noises may make them break their restraint or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety. This can also lead them into a street where they can be injured and killed. So for everyone’s safety the best way to keep your dog safe is to keep it indoors. Try to potty before it gets dark so they are less likely to get spooked. Do NOT bring your pets to fireworks displays.
NEVER Use Fireworks Around Pets. While lit, fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets and potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.
Keep Your Pet Calm
Whether that mean playing a movie loudly to try to cover up the booms, crating them, using a thundershirt or calming collar or giving them a treat, try to keep your pet calm. If your pet has severe anxiety and none of the items mentioned help, then you may want to speak to your veterinarian about medication that may help (although that is a last resort for me knowing that can be even more traumatic since they are still scared but then cannot show it).
Other summer safety tips
Use products meant for dogs
Sunscreen, bug spray and other topical medicines can be hazardous to your pets. Just because these are safe for you, does not mean that it is safe for animals. Since dogs lick themselves, there are many chemicals that should not be use. DEET, which is used in many insect repellents, can cause neurological issues. Human sunscreens can also make animals sick. If you think you are going to be out in places where too much sun or insects are a concern, perhaps leave your dog at home. According to the ASPCA, even citronella-based repellents are irritating toxins to pets. The result of inhalation can cause severe respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, and ingestion can harm your pet’s nervous system.
Alcoholic Drinks and Marijuana are Poisonous
We have seen how many people think it is funny to give their pets alcohol and marijuana, but these can be VERY toxic to pets. If your pets have accidentally consumed alcohol or pot, make sure to tell your vet. Their first priority is to help your animals.
Short faced, short legged, long haired and young dogs are at highest risk for heat stroke. Heat stroke can be deadly so, in as much as possible, keep pets indoors and cool. Do not exercise them when it is hot outside, give plenty of cool water and shade and if the asphalt is too hot for you to keep your hand on, it is too hot for their feet!
Avoid giving pets too much table food
Chances are, if you give your pets lots of table scraps, you will regret it. Generally it may cause gas, diarrhea or some stomach discomfort, but too much fat can cause pancreatitis and we know things like bones can cause obstructions and perforations. So please be careful with giving pets “people food” as their bodies are built differently than ours.
When all is said and done, we wish you a happy and safe 4th of July with your family and pets.