Many Americans are preparing for a weekend of barbecuing, hanging by the pool, trips to the beach and of course enjoying the fireworks! Unlike people though, pets aren’t the biggest fans of fireworks, some pets are actually terrified of fireworks and often panic when they hear the load booms. It’s important to keep your pet safe this weekend and fireworks aren’t the only thing you should worry about when it comes to their safety. If you plan on having your pet alongside you during the festivities this weekend keep these safety tips in mind:
Keep Your Pet Indoors
This may sound obvious, but even if your pet is used to being outdoors, they may not be used to the loud noises. The American Humane Association reports that July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters, due to pets that panicked from the noise of firecrackers and fled from their owners or backyards, winding up lost or injured. The best way to avoid this is to keep your pet inside during the noisy evenings. If you are going to have your pet out be sure he/she is on a leash and has an identification collar on or has been microchipped.
Watch What You Put on Your Pet
If you are planning on having your pet enjoy the festivities during the day, you will need to apply sunscreen and bug repellent on your pet. Never use products that are meant for humans on your pet. Many ingredients found in human sunscreen and insect repellent can be toxic for your pet. DEET, which is commonly found in human bug spray is toxic to pets when it is licked or ingested, you can learn more here.
Adult Beverages & Pets Don’t Mix
Whether you plan to bring your pet to a barbecue or you are hosting one of your own, you need to watch them around alcohol. When pets drink alcohol they can become dangerously intoxicated, causing them to go into a coma or, in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Keep a good eye on your pet, even a beer can be toxic.
Be Prepared with Food & Water
Whenever you plan on being out all day with your pet, you should always bring food and water with you. Water is especially important in the hot summer months when your pet is at risk of heat stroke. If you're going to a barbecue don't assume you can just feed your dog a burger or a hot dog off the grill, any change in a dog’s diet, even for just one day, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. Keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals. Learn more about what foods can be harmful to your pet on ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control page.
Say No to Glow
Everybody loves glow jewelry and you might think it looks adorable on your pet, but did you know that the luminescent substance contained in these products could cause excessive drooling? Gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.
Keep It Out of Reach
Fourth of July weekend or not, matches and lighter fluid should always be kept out of reach from your pet. The ASPCA states that certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop. You should also be cautious with your pet around citronella candles, insect coils and tiki torch fluid, these can also harm your pet. Dogs have a tendency to eat anything they find, you need to keep a close eye on them, especially if you are bringing your pet to a barbecue, don’t assume others will watch your pet.
Avoid the Crowd
This kind of goes back to keep your pet indoors, but if you are planning to go to an event this weekend, perhaps a firework show, where there will be a large number of people, you should seriously consider leaving your pet at home. Pets can become quickly disoriented with load noises and crowds, it really isn’t as fun for them as it is for you. The best way to keep your pet safe during the festivities is to keep them at home, we know that is not ideal for everyone, but know that your pet will appreciate the safe, quiet spot at home over the loud booms, bright lights and masses of people. And, remember once the festivities come to an end check your yard and clean up any firework debris before you let your pet run around. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!