The Fourth of July is a time for barbecues and horseshoes, games and, of course, fireworks. While we all look forward to good food and fun times, our pets have a vastly different experience. They have no way of knowing that the loud bangs and explosions, the bright flashing lights, and the acrid smell of burning gunpowder are a celebration, and not harmful to them.
There are many considerations in keeping your pet safe and content on the day. In addition to fireworks, there are also food dangers, heat and humidity complications, and even choking hazards that should be planned for.
The day after the fourth is one of the busiest days of the year for animal shelters. They overflow with pets who fled the noises in the night and end up lost, injured, or killed.
How do you plan for and keep your beloved pets safe during the festivities? Here are some tips and considerations:
1. Have current identification tags: Make sure your animal has up-to-date identification tags. If your pet panics and runs or is lost this will help in finding and returning them. You may consider micro-chipping your pet. In which case, you should make sure your pet’s chip registry is up to date.
2. Take a current photo of your pet: Just in case your pet is lost or missing.
3. Create a safe environment: Keep them indoors or enclosed with barriers that are strong enough to prevent your pet from escaping. Closing window shades and turning on soothing music to drown out the noises outside is also helpful. Be careful to consider the temperature wherever your pet is being kept ensuring that they do not overheat.
4. Tire them out: Exhaust your pet before the festivities begin so that when the noises and smells and people come around, they are more inclined to sleep through it.
1. The best option if you are going to a party or fireworks display is to leave your pet at home.
2. If you’re hosting an event, ask your guests to be mindful of your pets and their safety. Post signs on exits to make sure everyone is aware, and a door isn’t accidentally left open.
3. Keep your cannabis in a secure location where your pets cannot access it.
4. Keep “people food” away from your pets. Foods that are delicious to humans can often be harmful or toxic to our pets. Its best to make sure everyone is encouraged not to feed animals.
5. Do not give your pets alcoholic beverages and be sure to keep empty containers and drinks away from them. Alcohol can be poisonous.
6. Keep your pets away from glow jewelry like glow sticks and necklaces. They can be toxic if chewed on by a curious or excitable pet.
7. Do not use sunscreen or insect repellent on your pet unless it is specifically designed for pet use. These may cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy. Deet, which is common ingredient in insecticides, can cause neurological issues.
Does your pet need a little extra help with anxiety and stress?
1. Wrap them up. Confining movement by use of an anti-anxiety wrap or coat has a calming effect. You may use a scarf in a pinch.
2. Try terpenes. Lavender essential oil is beneficial for soothing stressed animals thanks to its high content of the terpene linalool. Do not rub it into the skin as it will cause irritation. Simply rub it into a collar or harness so that they are surrounded by the smell.
Take a few moments to consider your four-legged loved ones this holiday. They love us unconditionally and we owe it to them to make sure they are safe and supported during this exciting (and terrifying) time.