With every holiday celebration comes some consideration for our pets. We want to enjoy the day but also not frighten our furry friends away. The 5th of July is the busiest day on record for animal shelters and the Animal Control Officers according to the American Humane Association reports. These facilities and officers become inundated with panicked pets from the frightening noises of the nightly celebration. Countless pets escape or run away during the big booms of the firework displays – finding themselves frightened, injured, lost or worse – killed.
While you celebrate the birth of our nation, keep these tips in mind to help it be a fun and safe holiday for every two-footed and 4-footed member of your family.
1. Keep Your Pets Inside
It may seem obvious, but even if your pet is used to being outside, the resulting panic caused by fireworks or other loud noises could cause them to jump the fence, chew through their leash or dig under the gate to get out. They do not need to experience the fireworks and cannot understand why it sounds like the world is ending.
2. Make Certain You Have Pet Safe Insect Repellent
Bug repellents made for humans are not safe for pets. The issue isn’t only that their skin is different but they can lick their bodies and human repellents are not made to be ingested by anyone – let alone a pet. DEET, a common ingredient found in human bug repellents can cause neurological issues in our pets. Consider bug repellent pet clothing that is also reflective so your pets can be seen safely in the dusk hours.
3. Keep Alcohol Out of Their Reach
Alcohol is poisonous to both cats and dogs. The symptoms are similar to what you would see in a drunk human but they can turn quickly as alcohol is processed faster in our pet’s bodies – which makes it much more dangerous for alcohol poisonings that lead to the death of your pet. Alcohol suppresses breathing so while one minute Tucker is tipsy, the next he could be totally tanked and unconscious.
4. Leave Them at Home
If you think it would be nice to bring them to the local park to watch the fireworks please reconsider. You cannot explain what the loud bangs are to your pet and they will feel the need to run away from the explosions. The safest place for your pet is at home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar and noisy place. Remember, leaving them in the car is not a wise solution either. Not only can heat be an issue, they could panic from the noise, get destructive or worse, hurt themselves.
5. Tag Everyone
Now is a great time to check those ID tags. Sometimes I find the name has worn off of mine making them hard to read. It could be a good time to spruce up Sparky’s collar.
6. Keep Your Pet Away from Glow Sticks and Jewelry
Glow sticks are not good chew sticks. While they are not considered highly toxic by the ASPCA, these glowing glamor sticks, bracelets of necklaces are not safe to be ingested by your pet – yet they are super interesting and fun to chew.
7. NEVER Use Fireworks Around Pets
They shouldn’t be used or accessible around pets. Not only will a firework set off near a pet cause panic, it could burn them as well. Also keep in mind some may be filled with toxic substances and many look like the very sticks they would like to chew.
8. Skip the Scraps
Don’t be tempted by their beg-face. If you give your pet a handout of the last bite of burger, keep in mind grandpa might have done the same, and cousin Jimmy and Uncle Rob. This could earn you a visit to the ER vet and an extremely sick pet. Keep food out of your pet’s reach – remember cats can climb. My cat has an affinity towards buns – hotdog or hamburger, she loves them equally and will eat right through the plastic to get to them and plastic certainly isn’t safe for her digestive tract.
9. Lighter Fluid and Matches Are Harmful to Pets
The ASPCA lists chlorates as a harmful chemical substance found in some matches that, if ingested, can cause your pet difficulty in breathing, damage blood cells or even cause kidney disease. Matches are like mulch and mulch is like sticks and sticks are fun to chew. If exposed to lighter fluid, your pet may sustain skin irritation on contact, respiratory problems if inhaled, and gastric problems if ingested. You might not think these would be of interest to your pets, but don’t leave them out to find out if they are.
10. Citronella Insect Control Products Harm Pets Too
According to the ASPCA poison control center, oils, candles, insect coils and other citronella-based repellants are irritating toxins to our pets. If your pet inhales them they can experience severe respiratory illnesses, and ingestion can harm your pet’s nervous system. Like with lighter fluid and matches, these are not something we would think our pets would get into but you would be surprised.
Have an Emergency Plan
Before you go opening the door for your first guests or packing the car for the beach, take a minute to make certain you’ve thought about your pet’s safety before the festivities of the 4th of July start. Accidents happen and the better prepared you are to prevent and handle them – the better the outcome for your pets will be.
Have the pet poison control hotline saved on your phone and stuck to the fridge. Double check your fence for holes or week spots remembering to look down towards the ground. Keep your pets inside as soon as it gets dark or you hear the sounds of fireworks and keep them on leash for heading out while dark. Double check that they cannot back out of their collar or harness and remember to check that tag.
Enjoy your 4th of July celebration with your pets. These tips are here to help you have some fun without having to worry if you left the onion filled spinach dip in your cat or dog’s reach.
If you’re curious as to how you know that they got into something, take our pet first aid and CPR course so you are even more prepared to handle when something happens.