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Pet Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

Fourth of July celebrations are wonderful opportunities for family and friends to gather and celebrate our nation’s independence. These celebrations include camping, picnics, barbecues and of course, fireworks. Fireworks are a staple of the 4th of July, but they can be a huge source of anxiety for our pets. Because the loud noises can be scary and disorienting, shelters usually see an increase in lost animals around this time.

Here are a few tips to minimize your pet’s stress and keep them safe:

Stay indoors
Avoid being outside after dark, when fireworks are likely to be starting. Plan any necessary walks for earlier in the day. Although you may feel that you always have a good grip on your dog’s leash, it’s possible to lose control of a panicked dog.

Secure doors and windows
A spooked pet can find ways through a door or window screen that they otherwise might not attempt. Keeping doors and windows shut will minimize the chance that your pet can escape if they get scared, and will block out noise at the same time.

Create a safe space
Your pet may benefit from being kept in one small room. This will help them feel safe and secure. Provide blankets, dens, or other places to hide.

Provide distractions
Puzzle feeders and other enrichment toys will give your pet something to keep their mind off the noise.

Over-the-counter calming aids
Pet stores sell over-the-counter calming chews, treats, and sprays for dogs and cats that may have a soothing effect.

Ask your vet
If your pet has severe anxiety that isn’t helped by any of the above tips, your veterinarian can prescribe sedatives to help them get through the 4th. Remember, only give your pet medication at the direction of your veterinarian.

Tag and chip
Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with a visible ID tag and has a microchip. Check that the contact information associated with both is up-to-date with your current phone number.

Fireworks

  • Fireworks are scary to our furry friends and a fireworks display is no place for a pet. Dogs can hear high-pitched frequencies up to 60,000 Hz (Hertz or cycles per second), whereas the human range reaches a mere 23,000 Hz, tops.
  • Please don’t leave pets outside during fireworks as they could become spooked and run away or hop a fence. Even with an electric collar or an enclosing fence, a frightened pet can become capable of Olympian feats in an attempt to find safe haven.
  • Don’t leave your pet home alone if he/she gets upset by loud noises. Have someone stay with the pet during firework activities.

Celebrations
Before any day-long parties begin, spend some one-on-one time with your pet. The idea is to tire them out with a little play and mental stimulation – to help release those feel-good proteins and endorphins in their brain. They will be calmer for it and better able to handle the excitement of the day’s celebrations. And, so, very likely, will you.

Before you start the celebration, take some time to protect your pets from the dangers this holiday poses to them. Here are some safety tips for your pets:

  • Keep harmful items away from pets. Lighter fluid, matches, tiki torches, citronella candles and other flammable items can burn and irritate the hair or skin.
  • Don’t leave alcoholic beverages where pets can reach them. They are toxic and may cause weakness, depression, or death.
  • Keep pets on their normal diets. Even the choicest tidbit can be problematic to a sensitive and delicate digestive system. Avoid chocolate, grapes, raisins, bread dough, barbecued meats, and bones.
  • Use only veterinarian recommended sunscreen and insect repellants on your pet.
  • Keep pool chemicals in their original containers and safely stored to avoid spillage and contact with eyes and skin.
  • Don’t let your pet drink pool water. It is low in sodium and could cause weakness, seizures or coma. If you’re traveling beyond your backyard, seawater exposes pets to more sodium than they would normally encounter.  Swallowing large amounts of salty water can cause vomiting, tremors, or seizures.
  • Don’t leave jewelry or other pieces of paraphernalia on your pet unsupervised as they could swallow or choke on them.

Play it safe with this holiday. While pets are a part of the family, and it’s only natural to want them around for the festivities, this is the holiday when it’s best to find your pets a safe, secure spot in the home while you enjoy the day’s festivities.

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