5 Tips for Pet Safety on the 4th of July

5 Tips for Pet Safety on the 4th of July

5 Tips for Pet Safety on the 4th of July

The Fourth of July is a great summer holiday filled with some really fun activities...for humans. Pets can find this holiday pretty stressful between extra people, overstimulation from increased activity, and of course the loud fireworks.

July 5th is one of my busiest days for city animal control and the Sioux Falls Area Humane Officers. Between assisting with loose pets, helping reunite families, and more serious reports, there are lots of calls to take. Here is a list of ways you can help keep your holiday celebration good for your pets as well as your friends!

Secure doors and fences
One of the most common reasons pets go missing during the 4th of July holiday is due to sneaking out when guests arrive, running full speed at a door or fence when a firework scares them, or when owners or guests are distracted and leave doors open. If you have cats, keep your windows closed to prevent cats from making an escape through a loose window screen. Make sure if you are having people over, they are aware as they are going in and out that your dog or cat is not following along.

Even better, give your pet their own space for the night away from guests, loud noises, or access to the outdoors. Playing soothing music or play a tv. Consider getting products like Thundershirts or calming collars. If you are worried about your pet, think about skipping the festivities and stay at home cuddled up with them so they know they are safe with their person. 

Going to a fireworks display? Don't bring your pet. 
As much as it may seem fun to bring the entire family out, bringing a pet to a firework display, no matter public or private is not a good idea. This is typically a crowded, unfamiliar, and noisy environment for your pet. If someone approaches your dog too quickly or if a firework is too loud, your pet may panic and desperately seek shelter. Keeping your pet in your car during the fireworks is also not an option, as your pet may suffer from a heat stroke on top of being panicked.

Keep collars on, update your information and get your pet chipped!
If your pet manages to get out, the best way to get them back is to make sure they have the proper identification. Consider getting your pet microchipped. If your pet is already microchipped make sure your information is up-to-date. Your pet's identification tag should be up-to-date with at a minimum your current phone number and the pet's name. *TIP: It is a great idea to add "Microchipped" to your pet's tag as well! Pets can be microchipped for just $20 at the humane society.

Keep pets away from glow sticks, alcohol, and citronella insect control products
While it may look cute to add a glow necklace to your pet, it could do lots of harm if they chew and ingest any of the material. The ASPCA says that while not highly toxic, "excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still results from the ingestion, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing pieces of the plastic casing".
If your pets accidentally drink alcohol that is left out they can potentially go into a coma, or, in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Liquor and beer are toxic to pets.
Oils, candles, insect coils, and other citronella-based repellants are irritating toxins to pets, according to the ASPCA. The results of inhalation could be severe respiratory illness such as pneumonia. If your pet should ingest these products, it can be harmful to their nervous system and severe stomach cramping can occur.

Keep them cool
The Fourth of July can be one of the hottest days of the summer. Animals are at risk for heatstroke, just like people. Be sure your dog has plenty of shade and cool water and limit exercise. Watch for warning signs like excessive panting, drooling, muscle tremors, and limited urine output. Contact your veterinarian or the emergency vet immediately if you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke. Make sure you do not leave your pet in the car during any activities, especially fireworks. It's best to keep them at home. 

Keep these in mind and your pet and you will have a great holiday!