The Fourth of July holiday is right around the corner, and in all of the excitement and people-hubbub, it’s easy to forget about pets.
Fireworks can be terrifying for some cats and dogs, according to the Humane Society. Dogs and cats tend to have super-sensitive ears, and the sounds of fireworks going off can make them feel like they are under attack. They respond by retreating, hiding and worse, running away. According to Humane Society CEO Beth Ward, more dogs run away on the Fourth of July than on any other day. The Humane Society of the United States reports that animal shelters across the country are used to receiving “July 4th Dogs:” dogs who run off during fireworks celebrations and are rescued by animal control officers or helpful citizens who take them to the safety of a local shelter.
To prevent your dogs from panic, we’ve compiled this list of precautions to protect your pet this Fourth of July, so everyone in your family can enjoy a fun and safe holiday!
• If you plan on going out to see fireworks or parades and other celebrations, it is better to leave your pets at home in a sheltered and quiet area. Don’t take them along. They’ll hate the noise and all of the people. Why needlessly stress them out? Just make sure to keep them at home in a safe place they can’t escape from (see below).
• Leave some comforting white noise on, like the TV or music, to mask foreign noises, and to keep him company while you’re out.
• Remember that some animals can become destructive when frightened, involuntarily eliminating in fear, or displacing their anxiety by chewing, scratching, digging, and so on, so leave your dog with a few favorite chew toys or puzzle toys to keep him mentally occupied and distracted.
• Pets should never be left outside unattended during fireworks, even neighborhood fireworks, because even those that normally would not leave a fenced-in yard may try to escape in their panic, and get lost and possibly injured or killed.
• Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags that display current contact information in the event that they do become “misplaced” in all the commotion.
• If you see an animal running loose without any identification, take them to a local vet or humane society, as the dogs may be implanted with a microchip: readable by scanners at all veterinary offices and animal shelters, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.
• Even though you’re indulging, resist the urge to indulge your pet! Your pet will most likely happily eat up anything you give him, but remember that onions, salt, avocados and chocolate can all be fatally toxic to dogs and cats. In all of the festivities and crazy activity, it can be hard to keep track of what your pet has eaten, or what guests have “spoiled” him with, and too much “people food” can make your pet very sick.
• And this goes for ALWAYS… Never leave pets inside a car, even with windows partially opened; the heat can cause them to suffer serious health effects, including death, within a matter of minutes, especially in this particularly scorching summer.
• If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic substance, or is displaying signs of overindulgence: Contact your vet or the 24-hour Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.