Summer is almost here, and you may be eagerly anticipating outdoor activities and gatherings with family and friends, especially the four-legged ones. The Fourth of July is right around the corner, just in time to kick off the summer with a celebration of our nation’s independence. Filled with fireworks, food, and fun, the Fourth is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but many holiday hazards abound for our pets. Steer clear of these Fourth of July pet pitfalls so everyone can safely join in the fun.

Pet safety with fireworks

We love our pets and want them to experience new situations we consider fun and exciting, such as an explosive fireworks display. When we questioned pets how they felt about this, the answer was a resounding “Please don’t invite us to a fireworks show.” Your dog may be leaping at the door, begging to go on a car ride, but she won’t understand the terror that awaits her until it’s too late. Prevent a firework freakout by leaving your beloved pet safely at home, and when the Roman candles begin screeching overhead, help her battle her firework fear by following these tips:

  • Create a noise-proof shelter — Create  your pet’s personal “comfort shelter” to eliminate the loud booms and shrieks of fireworks and summer thunderstorms. Set up your pet with her favorite bed and blanket in a roomy closet or bathroom with no window access. Stock the shelter with treats, toys, and puzzles to keep your pet’s mind occupied on scooping treats out of food puzzles and distract her from the outside noise.
  • Investigate calming supplements — Pet anxiety has created a booming market for calming supplements, but you must thoroughly investigate any supplement before you buy, since they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Choose products whose claims are backed up by scientific trials. Our veterinary team is always ready to help you choose a product that may help your pet.
  • Check out calming aids — Compression wraps can help reduce your pet’s anxiety by applying pressure to certain acupressure points on her body.
  • Crank up the calming music — While heavy metal may drown out the sounds of exploding fireworks, it does not alleviate a pet’s anxiety. Download a pet-soothing playlist to play instead.
  • Ask us about anti-anxiety medications — Pets often display such severe signs of anxiety and fear of loud noises that pharmaceutical management is needed to prevent them from harming themselves. Some pets are generally anxious, but storms and fireworks make them worse, and they may need a long-term anti-anxiety medication coupled with an as-needed medication during scary situations. Talk to us about your pet’s anxiety triggers and we can determine the correct course of action to reduce her fear.

Trust us—your pet won’t mind being left home alone instead of tagging along to the neighborhood fireworks show. Distract her with a long-lasting chew or an engaging food puzzle, and she’ll have a much better time.

Pet safety with barbecues and picnics

Enticing aromas tempt even the best-behaved pet to the picnic table when the grill is fired up. Many of our favorite barbecue treats spell disaster for pets, so avoid sharing your cookout goodies. Keep the following foods out of paw’s reach:

  • Corn on the cob
  • Barbecued meat
  • Deli salads
  • Desserts

These delicious foods can cause various gastrointestinal problems in pets. Corn cobs and rib bones can lead to an intestinal blockage that requires emergency surgery.  Meats and deli salads are often loaded with sugary or spicy sauces and dressings, as well as high fat levels. Fatty foods can inflame the pancreas, potentially causing life-threatening pancreatitis. Be on the lookout for vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy if you suspect your pet has snuck a snack.

Pet safety with hot weather

Steaming temperatures call for a dip in the nearest body of water, but our furry friends may not always appreciate a refreshing swim, since not all pets know the doggy paddle. Keep a close eye on your pet around swimming pools or at the beach to prevent accidental drowning or water ingestion. Always rinse off any chemicals or salt from your pet after she has been in the water.

If your pet has no way to cool off outdoors, consider leaving her inside during the heat of the day. Young and old pets, pets with thick fur, and pets with flat faces can’t handle high temperatures and humidity, so limit their time outside. Provide plenty of fresh water, ensure there’s shade and ventilation, and watch for signs of heatstroke with any pet enjoying the outdoors. Your pet requires immediate medical care if you notice these heatstroke signs:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Disorientation
  • Bright red gums
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Collapse

Although many holiday hazards surround the Fourth of July, with proper prevention, you and your furry friend can celebrate in safety. But accidents happen, so give us a call if your pet runs into trouble during the festivities. And, don’t forget to stock up on anti-anxiety aids before the fireworks are lit—we can schedule a consultation to create a plan that will relieve your pet’s anxiety during the fireworks show.