The 4th of July is a time of celebration. It’s all about food, family, fun and fireworks. However, it could be a dangerous and frightening time for your dog or cat. Fireworks and thunderstorms can be traumatic for pets, causing many to bolt in fear and become lost.
Unlike people, pets don’t associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of pyrotechnics with celebrations. Pets are terrified of fireworks, and often panic at the loud whizzes and bangs they produce.
There is a 30-percent increase in the number of pets reported lost in the week surrounding the Fourth of July. Because of this, the American Humane Association reports that July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters. Why?
For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including the four-legged members of the household.
Both the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and PAW have listed ways you can prevent your holiday celebration from turning into a tragedy.
1. Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
2. Keep your Pet INDOORS at All Times! It may seem obvious, but even if your pet is used to being outside, the resulting panic caused by fireworks or other loud noises may make them break their restraint or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety. Perhaps you can guide your cat or dog into a “safe room” with the door shut. That way, there’s no chance of an escape into the great outdoors. If your pet is crate trained, then put him in there until the fireworks are completely over.
3. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
4. Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
5. Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.
Recommend Reading: List of TOXIC FOODS PETS SHOULD NOT EAT!
6. Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.
7. Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
8. NEVER use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
9. Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home. Crates are extremely useful in a situation like this. Make sure doors are locked and windows are closed. Many pets are escape artists.
It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pets in case you have to put up signs. If you don’t have clear, current photos of your pet, take them today. This could be the key to finding him quickly. Take photos from all angles to include his entire body, face and any unusual features.
The safest and best bet for celebrating this Fourth of July with your pets is to exclude them from holiday festivities, at least this time around.
Instead, find a safe, secure spot in the home for your pets while you go out and enjoy the loud bangs, bright lights and spectator fun. Your pets will appreciate the quiet a lot more than you’ll enjoy the noise.