PROTECT YOUR PETS ALL SUMMER LONG

FireworksRegistered vet technicians should be prepared to deal with large numbers of injured dogs around the Fourth of July. Though humans view Independence Day as a summertime holiday to celebrate with outdoor barbecues, parades and fireworks displays, dogs and other animals can be traumatized by the thunderous booms. While a bottle rocket might sound harmless to us, to a dog this burst of noise is terrifying. Keep your animals safe this summer season with these helpful tips:

Make sure pets have up-to-date tags

Pets, particularly dogs, have a tendency to flee when they hear fireworks. If for some reason your pet runs away, up-to-date identification tags will help ensure that he or she is returned to the right place when someone finds them. Identification tags should include your name, address, phone number and any other pertinent contact information. Microchips are another method for keeping track of your animal. One in three pets go missing within their lifetime, and microchips will give you the security of knowing their constant location.1 These devices are nice in that they cannot be removed by your dog, while a collar can be shaken or pushed off. Use both a collar and microchip to help ensure your pet stays off the streets.

Don’t bring your pets to Fourth of July celebrations

Your gut reaction might be to tie an American flag bandana on your dog and go walk him or her around at the local parade or festival. Resist this urge. The best thing to do is leave your dog indoors and let them find a place they feel safe.2 For some dogs this might be the basement, for others it might be the bathtub. Don’t try and remove your dog from this spot, as trying to relocate them can potentially increase their anxieties. Keeping dogs indoors will help muffle the sound of fireworks. To mask the sound even more, turn on the television, radio or air conditioning.3 

Don’t leave pets in the yard

Leaving pets outside unattended gives them more opportunity to run away. It’s also a bad idea to tie dogs to a tree or post. If fireworks scare a chained up dog and they try to run off, the chain could be potentially harmful, or even fatal.4 This tip is especially pertinent when using fireworks. Curious pets could get burned or harmed by poking at fireworks. Explosive devices also contain toxic substances, so if a pet tries to eat or chews on unlit fireworks it can still have serious health repercussions.5

Invest in a secure shirt

A Thundershirt is a garment made for cats and dogs that tightly clings to them to help eliminate stress and anxiety.6 This pet habiliment is made specifically for calming animals during storms or other loud events. This piece of clothing works in a similar way to swaddling a baby. Shirts such as these are relatively inexpensive and will help keep your pet trauma-free.

Man the barbecue

Don’t leave your grill unattended, as pets will likely be attracted to the smell. Keep an eye on your pet to make sure they don’t poke at anything that is too hot. Vets generally also see an increase in poisoning during the summer months.7 One of the reasons for this is people feeding their animals party food or alcohol, which can be dangerous for pets to ingest. If you’re throwing a backyard barbecue, make sure no one else is feeding your pet without your knowledge and consent. If you decide to feed your pet from the grill, cut up food into small chunks and make sure it is properly cooled. Food that is served too hot can cause animals stomach ulcers and dehydration.8

1http://public.homeagain.com/

2“July 4 fireworks terrifying for many dogs” by Javier Soto. AZFamily.com. July 1, 2014. http://www.azfamily.com/news/Pets-and-fireworks-265389141.html

3“Fourth of July fireworks pose risk to dogs, other pets” by Natalie Ornell. The Patriot Ledger. July 2, 2014. http://www.patriotledger.com/article/20140702/NEWS/140709260/12361/LIFESTYLE

4“July 4 fireworks terrifying for many dogs” by Javier Soto. AZFamily.com. July 1, 2014. http://www.azfamily.com/news/Pets-and-fireworks-265389141.html

5“July 4 fireworks terrifying for many dogs” by Javier Soto. AZFamily.com. July 1, 2014. http://www.azfamily.com/news/Pets-and-fireworks-265389141.html

6http://www.thundershirt.com/Product/Thundershirt.aspx?item_guid=ad60b946-f758-45e2-a589-331dda09637e

7“Summertime Barbeque Safety For Dogs” Vets Now. http://www.vets-now.com/pet-owners/dog-care-advice/bbq-safety-dogs/

8“Summertime Barbeque Safety For Dogs” Vets Now. http://www.vets-now.com/pet-owners/dog-care-advice/bbq-safety-dogs/

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