While the 4th of July is traditionally celebrated with barbecues and fireworks, it can be one of the most dangerous days of the year for pets. From matches and lighter fluid to barbecue scraps and beer, common methods of celebration can lead to your pet running away, suffering an accident, or even dying. To keep all patriotic pets safe this 4thof July, below is a list of the top 10 safety tips for pet owners.
“July 4this one of the busiest days in the emergency room,” states Dr. Justine Lee, a petMD spokesperson and emergency critical care veterinary specialist. “It’s important for pet owners to know how they can prevent avoidable and costly accidents. petMD’s tips equip pet owners with the knowledge they need to keep their pets safe.”
- Leave Your Pet at Home: As you celebrate the 4th of July in a park or even your own backyard, keeping your pets home and inside your house is one of the safest things you can do for them. Fireworks and other loud noises can terrify your pets and cause them to run away.
- Provide a Safe Spot Away from Loud Noises: If your pet is crate-trained or normally relaxes in a confined area such as a closet, corner, or small room, having them in such an area during fireworks displays can help reduce anxiety since they identify the location as a place of comfort. On the contrary, if your pet is not used to crates or small areas, confining them to one can further induce panic and is not recommended!
- Use Pet-Friendly Insect Repellants and Sunscreens: Not applying repellant and sunscreen on your pet is bad enough, but applying ones made for humans is even worse! Many human products are toxic to dogs and cats and can cause side effects such as drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. Make sure to apply only pet-friendly products and talk with your vet to find out which products he or she recommends.
- Pass on the Beer: Alcohol is poisonous to dogs and cats. If ingested, pets can become weak, depressed, have difficulty breathing, and could possibly go into a coma or even die. Making sure that alcoholic beverages are stored and placed in an area inaccessible to pets can help prevent accidental ingestion.
- Leave Scraps on the Table: Although you may be tempted to give your pet some scraps of food from your barbecue, many things on your table on the 4th are harmful to your pet. Corn-on-the cob, fatty meats, onions, garlic, caffeine, grapes, and even some baked goods can result in various health complications for your pet. It is best for your pet to avoid them every day of the year!
- Forgo the Glow Sticks and Jewelry: Few things are cuter than seeing your pet dressed up as Uncle Sam, but such costumes usually contain small pieces of plastic and harmful chemicals. Pet costumes can be cute but can easily lead to your pet choking on plastic or swallowing toxic chemicals.
- Have Your Pet Properly Identified: It’s not uncommon for pets to go missing on the 4th of July, but proper identification could help you find them. Making sure your pet has an ID collar, microchip, or other form of identification can have you reunited sooner than you otherwise would be. Having recent photos to share with neighbors can also help speed up the process of finding your pet.
- Beware of Lighter Fluid and Matches: Just like you would protect your children from lighter fluid and matches, you should also do so with your pets! Some matches contain chlorates which can cause breathing difficulties and red blood cell damage if your pet were to accidentally consume one. Lighter fluid can also irritate your pet’s skin and can cause gastrointestinal irritation if swallowed.
- Never Use Fireworks Around Pets: While it’s obvious that lit fireworks are dangerous around curious pets, unlit fireworks can be just as harmful. Fireworks contain toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and heavy metals, which if ingested can result in serious health implications.
- Keep Emergency Contact Info Handy: Store your nearest vet or local animal hospital’s information in an easily accessible place so you can contact someone quickly should your pet need help. Another number to keep handy is the Pet Poison Helpline. They can be reached at 1-855-213-6680.