4th of July Pet Tips

America celebrates its Independence today, and many will be using the long weekend to celebrate with parties, BBQ and fireworks.  While these celebratory traditions are great for people, they can be dangerous for your pets.  Here are some important tips to observe for your pets over the holiday weekend.

  • The Fourth of July Weekend is one of the worst times of the year in terms of people losing their pets.  Animals are frightened by the explosion of fireworks and many, who otherwise could be trusted to stay in their yards, will seek escape in an attempt to avoid the noise.  To help your pets feel better, keep them in an indoor area of the home, one which ideally can also help muffle some of the sounds coming from outside.   If your dog gets particularly anxious during fireworks (his/her reaction to loud storms is a good indicator of how they’ll handle fireworks), consider herbal calming remedies or products like a Thundershirt which should be available at your local pet shop.  You should also have your pet microchipped and wearing tags with your current contact information for easy identification in the event he/she does get away from your home.
  • Even if your pet handles the sounds of fireworks well, you still need to make sure any fireworks, lighters and matches are kept out of reach.
  • Most Fourth of July celebrations take place outdoors and the natural inclination is to want to keep your pet from the sun and insects.  Do NOT apply any sunscreen or insect repellent to your pet that isn’t specifically labeled as being for pets.  Products which are perfectly ok for external use on humans can be extremely toxic to pets if ingested.  This also applies to citronella candles and other environmental insect repellents.
  • Enjoy your Fourth of July Weekend responsibly.  Keep any and all alcoholic products out of the reach of your pets.
  • Firing up the grill is a time-honored Fourth of July tradition and it might seem like a nice thing to share something from the grill with your pets, but no matter how much they beg you should keep your pets on their normal diet.  Any change in diet, particularly if it’s something exotic, can cause severe digestive issues for your pet.  Additionally, a great many foods that are staples of grilling and Fourth of July meals (onions, avocados, grapes/raisins, chocolate, garlic, tea and many spices) can be toxic to animals.

The Fourth of July should be a fun time for the entire family, and there are many outdoor activities your pets would love to be part of.  Just keep in mind that any time you are going outside of your normal, daily life you are likely also introducing a range of potential dangers to your pets.  Observe these tips and you and your four-legged pals can have a fun holiday weekend together.