The Fourth of July is just around the corner—Happy Independence Day! In addition to yardwork, bug-proofing your lawn, and collecting party supplies, you need to consider your pet’s safety, too. Us humans might enjoy the thunder and brilliant display of fireworks, but it can be a terrifying experience for our furry friends. Did you know July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters? An influx of lost pets fleeing from firecracker noises flood local shelters, and sadly some of these pets never find their way back home. To help your dog or cat have as much fun as you this weekend, follow these 10 simple guidelines to keep your pets safe this fourth of July.
Keep Your Pets Inside
On July 4th—and the days just before and after the holiday—keep your pets inside. Even outside dogs and cats should be kept safely indoors. The loud noises of fireworks can cause your pet to break their restraint or attempt to escape your backyard, accidentally harming themselves or others in the process. Please—and this should be a no-brainer—never use fireworks around your pets. Ever.
Create A Safe Space for Your Pet
In addition to keeping them inside, we recommend creating a calming environment for your pet during Fourth of July celebrations. Placing your pet in a quiet room with soothing music or television sounds will help distract them from the loud crashes going on outside. If your pet is crate-trained, placing them inside their crate in a quiet location and covering it with a blanket can help make your pet feel much safer.
Close All Doors, Windows, Curtains and Blinds
When frightened by the alarming sights and sounds of fireworks, pets often panic, attempting to flee the perceived danger at all costs. Pets have been known to break glass and jump out of second story windows in order to find safety. To avoid any such dangers, firmly shut all windows and doors, and pull closed curtains and blinds. Keeping your pet secured in a windowless room during July 4th is even better.
Double Check Collars and I.D. Tags
Even full-time indoor pets should never be without a collar and up-to-date tags. Before July 4th, verify that your pets' tags are current (including microchip info), and that both tags and collar are securely fastened. If your pet has yet to be microchipped, we recommend speaking with your veterinarian about having it done. Lost pets reach an all time high during July 4th, and microchips statistically improve your chances of recovering your pet if they escape.
Prep For Your Pet’s Escape
Even after taking all the proper precautions, your pet can still escape. To prepare for this situation, take current photos of your pets to insure you can help shelters quickly identify them in the event they become lost. The ASPCA Mobile App can be very useful, too, providing pet owners with a step-by-step guide on how to search and recover lost pets as soon as possible.
Keep Your Pets Away From Alcohol
Summer holidays are a fun time to grab a drink and spend quality time with family and friends. Because alcohol is more abundant during July 4th weekend, it’s important to be cautious about leaving beers and cocktails unattended and within reach of pets. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is toxic for pets, and can be fatal if too much is ingested. Make sure holiday guests understand the risks, and keep a close watch on their drinks at all times.
Don’t Feed Pets From the Table
Onions, chocolate, avocado, coffee, salt, raisins, grapes, dough—all are toxic and potentially fatal for your pet. However tempting, you should never feed your pet from the table. Making sure that holiday guests understand this, too, is important. For more info on which human foods are toxic for pets, click here.
Many pet owners use bug repellents and sunblock on their pets during the summer months. However, most bug sprays and sunscreens are not formulated for animals, and can cause serious harm to your pets. Make sure that any and all topical products used on your animal friends are pet-specific or pet-safe. (Tip: It’s recommended that you use an all natural, pet-safe insect repellent on your pet anytime they’re exposed to biting insects like fleas, ticks and heartworm-carrying mosquitoes. July 4th is no different!).
Guard Against Heatstroke and Dehydration
While your pets should remain inside during fireworks and other loud July 4th celebrations, they’ll likely be outside at some point during the holiday weekend—whether for a walk, hike, or just playtime in the backyard. It’s going to be a hot weekend, and because nothing ruins a holiday like a panicked trip to the vet, you should monitor your pet for dehydration and heatstroke. Make sure to take regular breaks in the shade when playing outdoors with your pet, and insure they also drink plenty of water. For more hot weather safety tips for pets, click here.
Do A Post Holiday Safety Check
Beer bottles, firecracker debris, BBQ skewers, lighters, matches, and discarded food can all seriously harm your pet. After the holiday festivities have concluded, do a thorough sweep of your house and yard to remove all potentially dangerous items that guests may have been left behind.