It is amazing how quickly the Fourth of July has come around. Next week people around the country will be celebrating the birth of our freedom with BBQs, parties, celebrations and fireworks. Although this is a very exciting holiday and time for us, it can be a very dangerous and scary time for our pets. As a small animal veterinarian, this is one of the busiest times of year for seeing pet emergencies at the animal hospital. So, today I would like to give you my top tips on keeping your pets safe during the Fourth of July holiday. Let’s get started!
Keep Your Pets Away Indoors and Away From Fireworks
Many pets are terrified of the loud sounds of fireworks. They can show mild signs of anxiety like hiding, and more severe signs like destruction, shaking and harming themselves. If your pet has a fear of fireworks make sure to be prepared. If possible, bring them to a place where the fireworks cannot be heard. I recommend not taking them with you to the fireworks display, even if your pet is not fearful of loud sounds. In areas with many people and loud sounds, your pets may become frightened and show unpredictable behaviors. Leaving your pet in the comfort of their home is always a safer bet.
BBQ’s and Parties Can be Dangerous for Your Pets
The Fourth of July is a big holiday for BBQs, but these cookouts can be harmful to our pets. I see a lot of upset stomachs during this time of year because of table scraps and foods that guests give pets.
Dogs and cats are used to eating the same food every day. Their gastrointestinal tracts develop a natural flora or bacteria, that specifically digests their regular food. When they get something that they aren’t normally accustomed to, such as burgers or hot dogs, they can develop severe inflammation with vomiting and diarrhea.
It can also lead to more serious conditions such as pancreatitis. In addition to an upset belly, many of foods in large quantities are toxic to our pets, such as grapes, onions, garlic and raisins. Grapes and raisins are safe for cats, but keep onions and garlic away from them. Some cookout foods can also be a risk of choking or obstruction such as corn on the cob, fruits with pits, and foods with bones, toothpicks or skewers. Make sure to talk to any guests, especially kids, before summer parties and remind them not to feed your pets any food.
You want to enjoy the party too, not spend it looking after a pet with an upset stomach. There is no need for your pets to feel left out. I tell all my pet parents to have treats and food easily accessible during the holiday festivities and spoil your pets rotten. I absolutely love and trust Wellness CORE and it is what feed my own dog. Wellness CORE is a balanced diet that is grain free, contains all the highest quality ingredients, added supplements (omega 3 fatty acids, and glucosamine) and higher protein for lean body mass and muscle tone. You can check out more details on hosting a pet-safe BBQ here.
Make Sure to Have Your Pet Microchipped and Properly Identified
Try to keep your pet calm and easily identified. With all the noise and celebrations, the Fourth of July can often be scary and stressful for pets. I recommend dogs and cats be kept in a separate room away from access to outside. Also, the Fourth of July is one of the most common times we see lost pets. With the celebrations and loud noises, pets become extremely frightened which leads to them escaping to find shelter. Always make sure your pet is wearing proper identification. I have reunited many pets with their families by using microchip identification. I always recommend microchipping your pet.
Speak to Your Veterinarian About Giving Your Pets Probiotics A Few Days Prior to the Fourth of July
We all know the benefit of probiotics for ourselves, but did you know that they have the exact same positive effects for our dogs as they do for us? As a small animal veterinarian, I prescribe probiotics all the time for my patients. I utilize probiotics are preemptively if I know my patients will be stressed, such as the Fourth of July. Stress in pets can lead to upset bellies which result in diarrhea. Probiotics are a great way to keep your pets gut healthy and prepared for the stress of the holiday. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is a candidate.
Speak to Your Veterinarian About A Possible Sedative For Your Pet For The Fourth of July
I see many of my clients right before the Fourth of July for sedatives for their pets. If your pet exhibits extreme anxiety from the sounds of explosion, contact your veterinarian for mild sedatives or anti-anxiety medications that can be given to your pet in preparation for the holiday.
Happy Fourth of July everyone! I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday. I want to ensure that you get to celebrate and enjoy this holiday and not be spending it at the veterinary hospital with a pet emergency. As always, your pets’ health and wellness are my top priority.