By Tim Falk
Published: 06/24/2021, edited: 10/07/2022
While the 4th of July might be a fun and joyous occasion for people, it’s not always that way for our pets. From fatty table scraps to fireworks, there are plenty of things we take for granted as part of 4th of July celebrations that can actually cause stress, anxiety, and even physical harm to our fur-babies.
So if you’re heading out to enjoy the festivities this holiday weekend, or hosting your own BBQ at home, these simple tips will help you keep your pets safe this July 4th.
You’re probably well aware that a lot of pets go missing or run away from home on the 4th of July. So with this much-loved holiday approaching, there’s no time like the present to make sure you and your pup can be reunited if they happen to escape. Make sure they’re microchipped with your current contact details and that their ID tags make it easy for someone to contact you if they find your lost pet.
If you’re well and truly getting into the spirit of Independence Day, you’ll no doubt want to add a few decorations to enhance the party atmosphere. But just be aware that decorations can also pose a health hazard to cats and dogs.
For example, while those dangling streamers might look great, they could also look like an exciting toy to a curious kitten or something worth chewing to an anxious dog. If they’re swallowed by your pet and cause some sort of blockage, you could be spending the 4th of July at an emergency vet clinic.
You don’t need to be an animal expert to know that dogs and fireworks simply don’t mix. Some dogs simply find them downright terrifying, which is a big reason why so many pooches go missing on holidays like the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve.
The loud noise of rambunctious holiday celebrations can also be overwhelming for anxious pets, so the safest option is to keep them inside and well away from any potential dangers.
To help combat the stress and anxiety caused by 4th of July celebrations, give your dogs and cats a safe, quiet space to retreat to. This should help make the stress of loud parties and fireworks a little easier to bear.
Some dogs will feel safest in a crate, while cats might need to be put in an escape-proof room to prevent them coming to any harm. Provide comfortable bedding, their favorite chew toy, and even a couple of treats to help them stay calm.
Closing the curtains and playing music or leaving the TV on might help calm your pet. Other options, such as anxiety wraps and even medication, could also help depending on your pup’s anxiety levels.
Related: 11 Vet-approved Products to Soothe Your Pup's Anxiety
One way to help reduce the stress of 4th of July celebrations for your dog is to tire them out before the festivities get underway. If you take them for a nice long run, give them lots of playtime, or even work on some training during the day. This should help them stay calm when parties are in full swing nearby. Who knows? If you’re lucky, they might even enjoy a restful sleep rather than spending the whole night as an anxious mess.
"The loud sounds fireworks make can be extremely traumatizing to your dog," says Dr. Cindy Bressler, NYC and Hamptons, Long Island veterinarian. "Exposing your dog to fireworks can oftentimes result in them needing tranquilizers or other medications to calm them down."
The noise of fireworks isn’t the only thing pets need to worry about. Fireworks can also cause serious burns and injuries if your pet comes into contact with them when lit, while they may also contain toxic substances that could be extremely harmful to your fur-baby.
"Accidents involving fireworks are seen every summer. If burns occur, seek emergency help immediately," recommends Dr. Bressler.
Sparklers, glow sticks, and other common celebration accessories can pose their own (potentially serious) dangers, so be sure to keep them well away from pets too.
Some dogs find crowds overwhelming or even downright scary. Combined with the terror that fireworks can induce, this makes the 4th of July one of the most stressful days of the year. So instead of taking your pup along to a loud party packed with people, leave them at home where you know they’ll be safe.
Hosting a 4th of July BBQ at your place? Make sure that all your guests are informed of the key safety steps that are in place for your pets. For example, no feeding your dog scraps of meat (no matter how adorable those puppy dog eyes may be), or making sure not to let the cat escape when they open the door.
If everyone is on the same page, you’ll hopefully be able to stop worrying about your pet so much and relax and enjoy yourself a little more.
Hosting a 4th of July BBQ? With so much food around, you might be tempted to spoil your pup with an off-cut or two. But this can be dangerous. Fatty scraps aren't just unhealthy for your pet, but they can also cause an upset stomach or even life-threatening pancreatitis.
There are also plenty of human foods that can be toxic for dogs and cats. Make sure to keep your pet well away from the dinner table so they can’t sneak a dangerous snack (or sample an alcoholic drink) when you’re not looking.
Finally, don’t forget that as well as all the sights, sounds, and smells of 4th of July celebrations, your pup will also need to cope with the summer heat. So make sure they always have an ample supply of fresh water on hand to stay hydrated, plus shade or shelter where they can escape the sun. Watch them for signs of overheating, and take immediate action if you think they may be suffering from heatstroke.
The 4th of July can be a stressful and even dangerous time for our pets, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few simple precautions, you can make sure your dog celebrates the 4th of July in safety and style.
Did you know more dogs go missing on July 4th than any other holiday? Consider investing in a pet insurance plan to keep your fur family safe in case of an emergency. Pet insurance can reimburse up to 100% of vet bills in as little as 3 days. Start comparing pet insurance providers today to find the "pawfect" plan for your star-spangled mutt!
From all of us here at Wag!, happy Fourth!
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