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July and Pet Safety

Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2024
When gearing up for a fun-filled Fourth of July, it's important to keep in mind all of the potential risks to our pets during the festivities. While this holiday will likely include many potential stressors for our pets, there are steps we can take to minimize the impact.

Here's how to keep your pets safe this Fourth of July.

1. Keep your pets inside. It's best to keep your furry friends inside as much as possible during firework hours. When you have people coming in and out of your house, it's a great idea to have a barrier - such as a baby gate - put in place. Dogs and cats often bolt when fireworks start exploding, and they can quickly become lost!

2. Make sure your pet has an up-to-date ID tag and their microchip is current. Even when taking precautions, accidents can still happen and if your pooch gets loose and bolts, it will help for a finder to call you directly instead of the pound, because then you may have fines to pay. It's also a good time to make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccinations just in case they do bolt and get picked up by the shelter, to avoid extra costs.

3. Make sure your pets have enough water at all times in a cool dish inside. Never use stainless steel bowls for water in direct sunlight as it just makes the water extremely hot. And who wants to drink hot water to cool down? Also make sure your pets are able to have an area to cool off when they start to get hot. Please note that outdoor dog houses increase temperatures dramatically when it's hot outside and it does not serve as a good shelter for them.

4. Create a safe space for your pets. For animals more sensitive to noise, a room with low noise exposure can be a safe haven for them. Pets would appreciate a cozy bed, and sometimes you can play a radio or the tv to drown out loud noises. I really like to close the windows, leave a light on, as well as the tv, for some light and noise so firework booms don't startle my pets. And if you have a pet that gets startled easily, I suggest looking into a few of these things to help them feel safe:
- Pheromone diffusers in pet stores to help calm your pets.
- Check with your vet for a medication that will help calm your pets down - just make sure you do it prior to the holiday - not just the day before!
- The pet store also carries calming chews over the counter to help.
- Anxiety vest, such as a Thundershirt, or a tightly wrapped t-shirt around your pet.

5. People food can be harmful to pets. I know I love giving my pets snacks off my plates, but I have done some research on what they can and can't have. Check out the site here for what your pet can enjoy off your plate this BBQ season and what they cannot.
Avoid letting your pets around alcohol. Alcohol is toxic to dogs and cats, often causing organ failure and death. So, if your pal is trying to sneak your dog a drink of his beer, just no. Think of them as your kids, and you wouldn't want your pal sneaking beer to your 8-year-old, would you?

6. Glow sticks are a cool and fun accessory for everyone on the Fourth of July - but did you know it's EXREMELY TOXIC to pets? They contain the chemical dibutyl phthalate and if it's ingested by your pet, it can cause toxic reactions, such as agitation, vomiting and drooling.

7. Another backyard no-no for pets is citronella. The insect repellant can be found in candles, strays, oils, plant form and torches. Burning citronella can be a respiratory irritant for pets and if they eat the candles, it can cause some serious GI issues. So, if your spraying bug spray around your pets, it's best to step away from them and spray yourself. And it's just best to keep all forms of citronella away from your pets!

8. Keep your pets away from open flames - which includes BBQs and bonfires. Dripping grease can smell good to your pup, and he may try to lick the grill, and bam, instant tongue burns. This goes for open flames on a fire as well. As we all know, dogs can sometimes get the zoomies and take off at full speed, and that's a quick ticket to the fire pit that they usually don't have to avoid. It's best to put your pets indoors while your grilling, cooking out or having a bonfire.

9. Know the signs of your pet overheating. Heavy panting, labored breathing, drooling, increased heart rate and dilated eyes are all signs of a pet overheating. Dogs with shorter snouts (like bulldogs) are at higher risk for overheating. Always provide cool water and ample shade when outdoors with your pets.

10. Do not take your pets to the firework show. You may not think they will get startled, but if they do, you will be searching for them in a thick crowd. And if your dog panics, it could potentially bite someone, even if they have never shown aggression.

11. And lastly, just as a reminder... DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS IN A HOT CAR this summer!

What other tips should we share with pet owners?