Are your patriotic pets ready for the Fourth?
Fortunately, preventing pet problems on Independence Day is possible by simply planning ahead and taking some basic precautions. With a little bit of planning and forethought, you can enjoy the excitement of the 4th of July and know that your pet will be safe.
See Your Vet
If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety they will experience during fireworks displays.
One of the busiest days of the year at most animal shelters is the day after the Fourth of July. Thousands of lost, scared pets are brought in, and at the same time, a stream of sad families arrive, searching for theirs. Needless to say, identification on your pet can change how a shelter story ends. Even a pet with a chip can benefit from wearing an ID tag; if a neighbor finds your pet near your home, they can read the tag and bring your pet to your home instead of driving it to a shelter. And even just by wearing a collar and tag, it lets everyone know that this animal is someone's loved pet.
Leave Them At Home...
Resist the urge to take your pet to the fireworks displays. What is a beautiful and exciting display to us is often frightening and overwhelming to our pets.
- But Don't Leave Your Pet Outside. Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain or caught on a fence, risking injury or death.
- Keep Your Pets Indoors. Some animals can become destructive when frightened. Be sure to remove any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed or swallowed, or confine your pet to their kennel. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep them company while you're away.
If You Do Take Them With You...
- Do Not Leave Your Pet In The Car. Temperatures inside a car rapidly climb to more than 100F and can cause death sometimes in as little as 10 minutes! One study reports that when the outside temperature is 78ºF, a closed car will reach 90ºF in five minutes, and 110ºF in 25 minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen. If you need to leave your pet in a car for any period of time, please do your pet and yourself a favor and leave them at home.
- Never Leave Your Pet Unattended. Tethering you pet to a chair or picnic table at a party or picnic can pose obvious risks, such as insect bites, dehydration, heatstroke, undue stress and escape. Other, less obvious hazards also exist, such as entanglement injuries, attacks by people or other animals, and accidental bites to strangers.
- Watch Their Diet. Do not allow friends and relatives to give your pet special treats. It could ruin everyone's holiday. Pets should never be offered human foods or drinks, this can lead to gastrointestinal upset, pancreatitis, kidney or liver damage or even death.
- Some foods are toxic, such as: onions and garlic (which can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage) and grapes/raisins (which can cause kidney failure).
- Others contain toxic components, such as: methylxanthines, caffeine, theophylline and theobromine found in coffee, tea and chocolate (methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death) and xylitol, a sweetener found in gum, candy, packaged baked goods, etc. (which can cause hypoglycemia, liver failure and death).
- If you plan to take your pet with you during holiday visits, make sure that your pet is welcome first (with all the activity or family members who may be allergic to your pet, it may be better to board your pet or hire a pet sitter).
- Holiday treats, such as rich, fatty food scraps, meat (cooked and uncooked), bones, alcoholic beverages, and chocolate, can be harmful or toxic to your pet. Do not allow friends and relatives to give your pet special treats. It could ruin everyone's holiday.
- Always be sure your pet is wearing a current identification tag on their collar (a city/county dog license or Rabies tag is no substitution for a proper ID tag with your current address and phone number).
- Always take a copy of your pet's medical records with you when you travel, should your pet require emergency treatment while you're away from home.