July Fourth will soon be here, along with dazzling fireworks that explode across the night sky, illuminating the darkness with bursts of vibrant colors. However, while you look forward to ooh-ing and aah-ing in response to the sparkling bursts and booming symphony, your pet likely dreads the display.
And, really, who can blame them?
When you put yourself in your pet’s paws, you can easily understand why July Fourth feels anything but festive to our frightened furry freinds. Independence Day can be stressful, posing many dangers to your pet. Fortunately, you can mitigate your pet’s fear and ensure their safety by following our Wellness Animal Hospital team’s tips when planning your July Fourth festivities.
#1: Stick to your pet’s routine
Pets thrive on routine. However, holidays often disrupt our usual schedules. Small changes in your pet’s feeding times, daily walks, and other routines can cause them to feel uneasy. Maintaining your pet’s routine on July Fourth can help minimize their stress. To support your pet’s wellbeing during the holiday, follow these tips:
- Stick to their usual meal times — While your eating schedule might be anything but routine on July Fourth, help create a sense of normalcy for your pet and try to feed them at their usual times.
- Maintain your pet’s exercise routine — If your pet is used to a daily walk or exercise session, find time to support this before the day’s chaos begins. Strenuous exercise will also help your pet release anxious energy and feel calmer later in the day.
- Ensure your pet has regular bathroom breaks — You can easily become distracted during a backyard barbecue, pool party, and other events, but you should strive to ensure your pet has regular bathroom breaks throughout the day.
- Keep your pet’s bedtime routine — Try to keep your pet’s bedtime routine as normal as possible. You may stay up later than usual to celebrate, but ensure your pet has the opportunity to go to bed at their usual time.
#2: Provide a safe space for your pet
Creating a safe haven for your pets is crucial to help them cope with July Fourth’s loud noises and commotion. Choose a quiet and secure room in your home where your pet can retreat during the fireworks. Provide a comfortable bed, engaging toys, and calming background noise to help keep your pet calm. If your four-legged friend has extreme anxiety or noise aversion, schedule an appointment with our Wellness Animal Hospital team before the big day. We can prescribe medications that can reduce your pet’s anxiety and noise sensitivity.
#3: Protect your pet from getting lost
During Independence Day celebrations, more pets go missing than at any other time of year. If your pet runs away and becomes lost during a July Fourth celebration, help ensure you will be reunited by outfitting your furry pal with a secure collar that has up-to-date identification (ID) tags and by having them permanently microchipped. Our Wellness Animal Hospital team can quickly and easily microchip your pet during a veterinary visit. Microchipping is a simple and effective way to help ensure that your pet can be returned to you if they become lost.
#4: Keep food out of your pet’s reach
While this summer holiday is a time for indulging in delicious food, many popular dishes can be harmful or toxic to your pet. Keep these common July Fourth foods away from you pet:
- Fatty foods — Barbecue staples, such as hot dogs and hamburgers, are often high in fat and can cause a pet to experience gastrointestinal (GI) upset and life-threatening pancreatitis.
- Corn on the cob — Corn is not toxic to pets. However, if your pet ingests a corncob, they can experience an intestinal blockage or obstruction. Keep corn cobs out of your pet’s reach, and dispose of them in a secure trash can.
- Chocolate — Chocolate is highly toxic to pets, especially dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Keep all chocolate desserts and candies out of all pets’ reach.
- Alcohol — If alcoholic beverages are available at a holiday gathering, ensure your pet does not imbibe, because alcohol is extremely hazardous to your four-legged friend. If your pet ingests even a small amount of an alcoholic beverage, their reaction can be fatal. If your pet ingests alcohol, they can experience vomiting, incoordination, disorientation, respiratory distress, and other serious health issues. Keep alcoholic beverages safely out of all pets’ reach, and clean up spills quickly.
- Onion and garlic — Onion and garlic, common burger toppers and side-dish ingredients, contain compounds that can damage your pet’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Avoid feeding your pet foods that contain raw, cooked, or powdered onions or garlic.
- Grapes and raisins — Grapes and raisins, often included in fruit salads and desserts, can cause a pet to experience kidney failure. Keep grapes and raisins away from your pet. If you suspect your pet has ingested any toxic food, immediately contact the Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.
- Artificial sweeteners — If your pet ingests sugar-free candies, desserts, and beverages that contain artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, their blood sugar level can plummet rapidly, which can lead to seizures and liver failure, potentially causing their death. Keep all products containing xylitol away from your pet.
Follow these tips as you prepare your pet for July Fourth festivities. Before the celebration begins, ensure your contact information is current on your pet’s ID tags and in the microchip database registry. If your pet is not microchipped, schedule this quick and easy procedure with our Wellness Animal Hospital team as soon as possible.