Summer is here and that means the Fourth of July holiday is right around the corner! While parties and fireworks are fun for people, they can turn your cool cat into a scaredy-cat and roll over Rover into a nervous Nelly on Independence Day.
When loud sounds and flashes of light scare pets, they may panic and try to escape. More animals go missing around Fourth of July than any other time of the year, causing shelters to fill up and sleepless nights for worried pet parents.
Here are some tips to keep your pets safe this coming holiday whether you’re celebrating with fireworks, a family BBQ, or a car trip.
Make Sure They Have Proper Identification
Be sure to have current identification tags on your pets and confirm your microchip information is current. Want some added security? Consider a GPS tracker for your pet. These allow you to track your pet with a collar device from your smart phone. Some websites offering GPS trackers: whistle.com, furtrieve.com, thepawtracker.com.
Take a Picture
If you’re anything like us, your phone is probably full of cute photos of your furry friends. Have a current picture on hand… just in case. If they do get lost, you can make posters for your neighborhood and post on social media.
Tire Them Out
Before the festivities get going, get moving with your pet. Take them for a long walk or extend playtime. Don’t forget to stay hydrated–both you and your pet!
Keep Pets Inside & Create a Safe Space
Ok, maybe your pup doesn’t need a whole teepee set up, but you could close the windows, lower the blinds, and turn on the TV or some music to help mask noises outside. Keep comforting toys nearby or consider giving them a special treat to keep them distracted. Pets are far more likely to bolt if they are outside and surrounded by explosions that they don’t understand. Even the highest walls can be jumped when they are terrified and looking for safety. Bring them inside and escape-proof the area.
Take a Chill Pill
Talk to your vet about products and medications that can help ease your pet’s anxiety. Remember to give the proper dose before they start to panic.
Don’t Leave Pets in the Car
Going on a car trip? Make sure your pup goes where you go! Temperatures can skyrocket to deadly temperatures within minutes inside a car, causing brain damage or death from heatstroke or suffocation. Even if you leave the air conditioner on, your animal is visible and can become a victim of theft.
If you see a dog in distress and can’t find its owner, California law states that you are legally allowed to break into the car to rescue the dog – as long as you call the authorities FIRST. You’ll be expected to wait with the dog until an authority arrives to the scene.
Avoid Insect Repellents and Human Sunscreens
Keep citronella candles, insect coils, tiki-torch oil products, insect repellents and sunscreens not specifically for pet use out of reach. Ingestion and/or inhalation can produce stomach and lung irritation and possible nervous system depression.
Watch the Grill
Many pets will be drawn to the delicious smells permeating from the grill or smoker. Keep pets away from matches, lighters, kabobs, and the BBQ to avoid burns or fire hazards.
Be Cautious of Party Foods
Keep table scraps away from sniffing noses! Dispose all meat trays, bags, foil, and other food containers to help prevent ingesting plastic or Styrofoam. Some common foods that are toxic to pets include anything with xylitol (a sweetener found in candy, gum, peanut butter, and baked goods) chocolate, onions, avocados, grapes, raisins, and yeast products. More on what not to feed your pets: www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/people-foods-avoid-feeding-your-pets
Don’t Cheers with Your Pet
Alcohol is poisonous to cats and dogs. Pets can become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma, or die from respiratory failure. Make sure cups, cans, and glasses are kept out of reach. ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Number: (888) 426-4435
Keep Fireworks Far Away
Lit fireworks can cause severe burns or trauma to the face and paws, but even unused fireworks can be dangerous. According to the ASPCA, many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic, and other heavy metals.
Stay Cool, Calm and Collected
Animals pick up on human behavior. Yelling at them during a time of stress will cause confusion and extra anxiety. If they are nervous, consider staying home with them or getting a pet sitter to keep them company.