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Do’s and Don’ts of July Fourth Fun for Pets

When July Fourth, the biggest celebration of the summer, rolls around, you don’t want to miss out. You also don’t want your four-legged friend to miss any of the food, fun, and festivities, but this holiday can expose your pet to a multitude of holiday hazards if you do not plan ahead. To help your pet enjoy the festivities, our Village Veterinary Hospital team has compiled a do’s and don’ts list for July Fourth pet safety.

DON’T leave your pet unattended outdoors

While your backyard fence may seem secure, stray fireworks lit off during the days and nights preceding the holiday can startle your pet enough to make them bolt for cover, performing usually improbable feats. Your scared pet may find a way to scale the fence, push through a weak fencing area, or dig and squeeze through a hole. During the week before and after the holiday never leave your furry pal unattended outdoors. 

DO keep your pet cool when outside

Although Bellingham doesn’t get quite as steamy as southern parts of the country, the high temperatures and humidity levels can still pose a heatstroke risk for your pet. When outside, ensure your pet stays cool by regularly providing fresh, cool water, and by keeping them out of direct sunlight and enclosed spaces. Stagnant buildings, like garages or sheds, can quickly overpower your pet’s cooling system, as can the blistering sun, especially if you walk your furry pal on sizzling pavement.

Monitor your pet closely for heatstroke, especially pets with flattened muzzles, excess weight, or cardiac and/or respiratory disease. These conditions make pets more susceptible to overheating. Even perfectly healthy pets can succumb to heatstroke, however, so watch out for heavy panting, thick drool, and lethargy, which are initial overheating signals that could mean your pet needs help to cool off.

DO exercise your pet before the fireworks show

The worst time to take your pet outdoors for exercise or a bathroom break is in the middle of the neighbor’s fireworks show. A better plan is to burn off energy with an early morning jog before temperatures climb and fireworks explode. Also, a tired pet will relax better during the festivities later in the day.

DON’T share a plate from your cookout with your pet

Your barbecue menu is likely loaded with mouthwatering dishes that can be more tempting than your pet’s willpower. Be the voice of reason, and keep hazardous cookout foods out of your pet’s reach and avoid sharing your favorite foods with them. Especially watch your pet around these toxic foods:

  • Grilled foods — Meat with bones or high fat levels are some of the most dangerous for pets. Ribs, steaks, and hot dogs can lead to an upset stomach, pancreatitis, or a gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction. Kebab skewers and corn cobs are other popular cookout items which have the potential for GI problems if ingested.
  • Side dishes — Dishes containing large amounts of fat, dairy or eggs, onions, and garlic are popular barbecue foods that can cause serious GI issues in your furry pal. Also, a pet who eats too much garlic or onion can develop anemia.
  • Desserts — S’mores, ice cream, and other chocolatey or frozen treats are a July Fourth favorite, but they can cause pancreatitis, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures in pets.

DO double up on your pet’s identification

More pets go missing around July Fourth than any other time of year, so ensure your four-legged friend is carrying plenty of identification in case they get scared and run away. Carefully check that your pet’s collar ID tags are legible, secure, and up to date, and make an appointment to have your furry pal microchipped, if they aren’t already. A microchip is the only permanent identification form that can’t be removed or lost, and will continue working for the life of your pet. A chip can be implanted quickly and  painlessly as part of your pet’s regular wellness screening. 

DON’T be shy to ask for help with your pet’s fireworks fear

Many pets are so fearful of fireworks or other loud sounds, like summer thunderstorms, that these events can cause serious emotional distress and can result in destructive, self-harmful behavior. Avoid letting your pet’s fear of loud noises affect their enjoyment of life by asking for their veterinarian’s assistance. Anti-anxiety medications, as well as specially designed treats can be used as needed to calm your pet and prevent dangerous behavior. Your pet’s veterinarian can come up with a plan specifically designed for your pet as part of a behavioral modification program to change your pet’s reaction to scary sounds.

When it comes to keeping your pet safe during July Fourth festivities, you can count on our Village Veterinary Hospital team. Whether your four-legged friend needs microchipping, or would benefit from anti-anxiety medication for their fireworks fear, give our team a call to schedule an appointment.

By |2023-06-23T20:08:52+00:00June 23rd, 2023|Environment|0 Comments

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