Content for Cities: 4th of July Pet Safety Tips

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Keep Pets Safe on 4th of July!

The 4th of July brings fun and festivities, but it can also bring fear for your pets. From the booms of the fireworks to new experiences like parades and parties, many pets may be uncomfortable or even frightened in the days leading up to 4th of July and throughout the day itself. Here are tips to help you plan for their safety and comfort.

1. Be ready for the booms.

The noise of fireworks can be a source of significant anxiety for pets. Consider staying home to be with them during the most active time for fireworks in your neighborhood. Set up a safe space for your pet in a part of your home that’s quiet, like a bathroom or basement, and put some of their favorite comforts there, like a beloved blanket or toy. Turn on a radio or white noise to block out some of those unwelcome sounds. Be sure to talk to your vet if you think your pet’s stress may be more than they can handle.

2. Assess your pet security.

While you can plan for the noise of fireworks on the 4th of July, your pet may be in earshot of unexpected additional booms throughout the days leading up to the 4th. Check that any screens, doors and fences are secure in case a surprise round of fireworks makes your pet panic and try to run from your home.

3. Keep pets where they feel safe.

While it’s tempting to bring your pet along for a parade or party, consider their temperament before making your plan. If your pet might be upset or startled by loud noises and crowds, keep them at home where they’ll be more likely to be calm. You don’t want them to be surprised while out in public and try to run away to hide.

4. Be sure to microchip.

In case your pet is startled and runs away during the festivities, be sure they are wearing a collar with an ID tag that includes your current contact information. Also, be sure your pets are microchipped and the chip registration is up to date. The American Veterinary Medical Association says microchipped dogs are 2 times more likely to be returned to their family if lost, and microchipped cats are 20 times more likely!

5. Avoid overheating.

Since it’s a day many people spend outside, the 4th of July also presents a risk of pets overheating. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh, clean water if you’re outside with your pet, and give them a shady place to rest. Never leave a pet in a car, even for a few minutes. If you think your pet might have heat stroke – for example if they are panting, having trouble breathing or seem lethargic – contact your veterinarian and start cooling your pet down with a garden hose, wet towels or immersing them in cool water in the sink or tub. Don’t use ice or ice water.

6. Keep pets away from hazardous temptations.

Keep 4th of July items like glow sticks, sparklers, plastic beads and other items out of the reach of your pets. These can be chewed, causing a choking hazard or health issues like a stomach blockage. Plastic bags, like chip bags, are also a concern, since they’re a suffocation hazard for pets. Accidents can happen quickly when a pet puts their nose in a bag to look for snacks and the bag tightens when they inhale.

7. No people food!

Enjoy picnic treats yourself, but keep pets away from people foods, many of which can be a hazard for dogs and cats. Onions, grapes, garlic, alcohol, chocolate, nuts and bones are all a danger. Make sure food waste is thrown away in trash cans with lids that pets can’t open. Also, be cautious when grilling! A curious pet can topple an unsteady grill or be burned if they get too close.

8. Check your yard on July 5th.

It’s not unusual to find hazardous items around your home after a holiday, such as sparklers, broken glass, party debris or even fireworks that failed to ignite. Items from your neighbors may have ended up in your yard, too. To be safe, walk through all areas of your yard and check for hazards before letting your pets out to play.

Be safe and have a great 4th of July!

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