America’s birthday is nearly here! Don’t forget about your furry friend while planning your Fourth of July celebrations. Use the following checklist to keep your pet safe and secure this Independence Day.
Reduce your pet’s fear and anxiety
Fireworks displays are beautiful and fun for us, but they can be terrifying for our pets. Many pets suffer from noise aversion and phobias, and the sounds of fireworks can cause your sweet pup’s fight-or-flight response to kick in. To help your pet through the scary noises:
- Create a safe place for your pet — Dedicate an interior room of your home to your furry friend. Close all windows, doors, and window treatments, and place a few of your pet’s favorite items in the room, including her crate, bedding, toys, and long-lasting treats or food puzzles. Plug in a pheromone diffuser, and play calming music in the room.
- Desensitize your pet to the sounds — Before the big day, begin playing the sounds of fireworks at a low volume in your home. While playing the sounds, give your pet plenty of high-value treats and praise. Each day, increase the volume slightly while still providing treats and praise, until the volume is similar to the real thing. This will help your pet develop a positive association with the once-scary sounds.
- Calm your pet with compression — Like infants, many pets are comforted when they are “swaddled.” A pet’s equivalent to this can be accomplished with compression products, like the ThunderShirt.
- Ask us about supplements and medications — Some pets experience extreme anxiety and may benefit from anti-anxiety supplements or medications. Call our office to discuss the options that would be appropriate for your pet.
Update your pet’s identification
More pets are lost over the Fourth of July holiday than any other day of the year. To increase your pet’s chances of being reunited with you in case she becomes lost:
- Have your pet microchipped — A microchip is a permanent form of identification that is injected just beneath the surface of your pet’s skin. It is a simple, in-office procedure that is similar to your pet receiving a vaccine. The microchip is registered with your contact information, and if your pet is lost and taken to a shelter or veterinary hospital, she will be scanned for a microchip, and you will be contacted.
- Ensure your pet’s ID tags on her collar are current — Your pet should always wear a collar with up-to-date identification tags.
Don’t include your pet at the party
Fourth of July gatherings often include delicious food, fun backyard fireworks, and friends and family coming and going—all of which can mean danger for pets. To keep your pet safe:
- Keep dangerous food out of paw’s reach — Animal bones and corn cobs can become lodged in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, causing a life-threatening obstruction that would require surgery to remove. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, alcohol, macadamia nuts, and other popular party foods are toxic to pets. And, foods high in fat can lead to gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, or pancreatitis.
- Keep dangerous items out of paw’s reach — Firecrackers and sparklers, tiki torch fluid, citronella candles, and other popular backyard party items can lead to an emergency veterinary visit if your pet consumes them or comes into contact with them.
Keep your pet cool
Independence Day is often a scorcher. To prevent your pet from suffering from heat exhaustion or heatstroke:
- Don’t leave your pet in the heat — Ensure your pet always has access to fresh, cool water and shade. Limit outdoor time during the hottest parts of the day to short bathroom breaks. And, never leave your pet in a car alone—even for only a few minutes—on a warm day. Instead, leave your pet at home in the comfort of the air conditioning.
- Know the signs of heatstroke — Some pets are more susceptible to heatstroke, including those who are young or old, overweight, thick-coated, and brachycephalic (short-nosed and flat-faced) breeds, but any dog or cat can succumb to heatstroke. The signs of heatstroke in pets include excessive panting, glazed eyes, difficulty breathing, bright red gums, excessive thirst, lethargy, lack of coordination, vomiting, and sudden collapse.
- Know what to do if your pet becomes overheated — Heatstroke in pets is an emergency. If your pet shows signs of heatstroke, immediately move her to a cool area and give her water to drink. Wet her down with cool—not ice-cold—water. Then, bring her to our hospital or the nearest emergency veterinarian.
Ready to enjoy the Fourth of July responsibly with your pet? Call our office if you have questions about keeping your pet safe this Independence Day.
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