July Fourth celebrations are a wonderful time to enjoy all the summer delights. From grilled food and tasty side dishes at a cookout, to a lazy day spent floating in a swimming pool, this summer holiday is the perfect time to relax. However, don’t relax your guard when it comes to your furry pal’s safety, as July Fourth can pose many hazards for your pet. Avoid an Independence Day catastrophe by following these seven tips to keep your pet safe.
#1: Exercise your pet during the coolest part of the day
From the first moment you step outdoors, you may realize it’s going to be a scorcher of a day. Keep your pet as cool as possible by exercising them early in the morning before the sun has baked the asphalt. Additionally, humidity levels, which can make your pet miserable, are typically lower in the morning, despite a comfortable temperature.
#2: Know the warning signs of impending heatstroke in your pet
Heading outside during the relative cool of the morning can still put your pet at risk for developing heat exhaustion or heatstroke if they are too active, or the conditions are less than ideal. Keep a close eye on your furry pal to ensure they do not succumb to heatstroke. Warning signs include:
- Excessive drooling
- Heavy panting
- Bright red tongue and gums
At the first hint of overheating (i.e., heavy panting), bring your pet indoors to cool off. Place a fan in front of them, or run a cool-water bath to help dissipate excess body heat.
#3: Practice water safety when your pet is around a pool or lake
Not all pets naturally know how to swim, so keep your four-legged friend out of the deep end unless they’re wearing a safety vest. Block your pet’s access to your pool so they cannot enter while unsupervised, as many pets are drawn to the cool water and may drink the chlorinated water, or fall in.
If you’re taking your pet out on a boat, keep them restrained at all times while the boat is in motion, and carefully supervise them if they jump in after the boat has been moored. Also, check the lake conditions before you or your pet go in the water, as blue-green algae can pose a serious health threat, as can additional toxins and pathogens.
#4: Block your pet’s access to the picnic table
Although your July Fourth cookout is the talk of the neighborhood, don’t invite your pet to join in the feast. Many barbecue food items can cause pets serious gastrointestinal illness, so keep their paws off the following foods:
- Hamburgers and hot dogs
- Condiments and seasonings
- High-fat side dishes
- Corn on the cob
Meat bones can shatter and pierce your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, or become lodged and require emergency surgical removal. Corn cobs can also cause a blockage. Side dishes, condiments, and relish can be full of potentially toxic ingredients, like onions, garlic, and chives, plus many pasta dishes and other side items are often high in fat. Fatty foods can lead to life-threatening pancreatitis in your pet, so avoid all items except the vegetable tray when sharing with your furry pal.
#5: Ensure your pet’s microchip registration and ID tags are current
More pets go missing on July Fourth than any other day of the year. If your four-legged friend bolts out the door in terror during the fireworks show, ensure you can be reunited by double-checking their microchip registration and ID tags for current information. Update your phone number and address if needed, and check the tags for legibility.
#6: Create a safe space for your pet to ride out the fireworks show
Most pets, unlike people, do not enjoy the bangs and booms of a fireworks display, and would much rather hunker down in a safe spot than watch the show. If your pet suffers from noise aversion (i.e., the fear of loud noises), create a haven where they can ride out local fireworks. Choose the quietest room in your home, and outfit it with all your pet’s favorites. A cozy bed, a new toy, a food puzzle, and a long-lasting treat can help your pet settle in, while a white noise machine can help drown out fireworks sounds. Some pets also find comfort in a compression wrap that applies gentle pressure to calming points on the body. And, your furry pal will likely appreciate you hanging out with them to help comfort and distract them.
#7: Ask your veterinarian for help with your pet’s noise aversion
Some pets become so frightened by loud noises, they can cause harm to themselves or their homes. If your pet’s noise aversion is unmanageable, ask our veterinarian for help. Anti-anxiety medications and supplements can help soothe your pet’s fear without sedating them.
We hope your pet stays safe during the summer holidays. However, if your furry pal gets into a misadventure on July Fourth, our Emerald Animal Hospital team is here to help. Call us to schedule an appointment.