Philadelphia, PA - Americans will soon be partaking in annual patriotic festivities for Independence Day. Good food, good company, and exciting pastimes, including fireworks, are a hallmark of this holiday.
However, if your pets were aware of what lies ahead, would they be as excited? Sadly, probably not. Veterinarians from sea to shining sea would like pet owners to understand the potential hazards that this patriotic holiday imposes. Loud noises, large crowds, accessibility to party foods, and summer's heat can pose threats to your pet's health and safety.
How should you prepare for the Fourth of July regarding your cat or dog? Consider the agenda for the day, stay aware, and prepare accordingly.
1.) Keep your pet indoors and identified - Are you going out to a party or hosting a gathering yourself? More pets are lost over the 4th of July than any other day of the year. If you are leaving your pets at home for the holiday, remember to ensure your pet is wearing their collar and identification tags. Consider having your pet microchipped and verify that the microchip contact information is up to date. Take a current photo of your pet to have on hand. Keep your pets indoors if at all possible. Ensure that your pet is kept in a safe, secured area, especially in the evening during active displays of fireworks.
2.) Create a calm environment - Soothing music in the background can help ease your pet’s anxiety and can help cover the sound of outdoor fireworks. Need a music playlist? Check out Austin Vet Peaceful Pups and Austin Vet Calm Cats custom playlists on Spotify. If your pet is exceptionally anxious about crowds or firework noise, consider asking your veterinarian about a sedative protocol tailored to your pet.
3.) Prevent food hazards - If you are taking your pet to a party or gathering, be conscious of what foods your pet may be exposed to in the party environment. Well-meaning friends can offer your pet food that may wreak havoc on their digestive system later, or even cause an intestinal obstruction (corn cobs, bones). Dogs left unattended may also take advantage of the food available around them.
4.) Keep it cool in the heat - Another common medical emergency following Independence Day is heatstroke, due to severe temperature and humidity elevations in Texas during summer. If outside during the day, keep your pets in cool, shady areas with access to plenty of water.
5.) Stay aware of pet interactions - Dog fight wounds are not uncommon after Fourth of July parties, since unfamiliar pets mixing at a social gathering can lead to aggression. Be sure to keep a protective and watchful eye on all pet interactions.
“You, the pet owner, have the ability to make wise decisions to ensure your pet’s safety during holiday activities,” says Dr. Sarah Kneupper. “Take these proactive steps to keep pets cool, secure, and comfortable.”