Summer is a time of fun and enjoyment. Your pet may normally be comfortable going with you to the beach or park. The Fourth of July gives us the opportunity to enjoy and participate in family, neighborhood, and community activities.
We can get so caught up in the "day" that we overlook the care and safety of our four legged family members. Your pets may not enjoy the day as much as you and your family do. The noise and commotion can be very stressful - even for the calmest of critters.
Fireworks (both public and private) can bring it's own set of challenges for your pet.
Our pets rely on us to keep them safe.
With a few tips, you and your pets can enjoy a safe holiday:
- Do take your pet for a first walk before the fireworks begin. It may prevent an accident later.
- Do keep your pets indoors on the Fourth of July in a quiet and isolated room with covered windows, or the basement where there are no windows, to help them feel safe and secure. The bathroom is also another place where your pet can be quiet and feel safer. Turn on a fan, radio or television to muffle the sound of fireworks. This will provide familiar indoor sounds and may help soothe your pet if they must be alone on this noisy holiday. If your pet is left home alone, make sure your home is secure and safe. They may panic and destroy objects (your couch) or jump through a window and/or screen. Do keep the windows shut, AC on, shades closed.
- Do provide your pet with adequate amounts of fresh, clean water. If the day is hot, fill the bowl half full of fresh water and half full of ice. It will stay cold longer.
- Do keep your pets sheltered/shaded. Like humans, pets can suffer from heatstroke. Dogs sweat from the pads of their feet and cool off by panting.
- Do keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier if they need to be outside with you.
- Do have some form of identification on your pet. Make sure they always wear an appropriately-fitting collar. If your pet is a dog, you should be able to slip no more than two fingers beneath its collar. If your pet is a cat, they should be wearing a stretch or safety collar. Your pet should always wear an identification tag with your current phone number and address, as well as a current license/rabies tag. You may want to talk with your veterinarian about also providing your pet with a microchip identification implant in case they lose their collar and tags. Most animal shelters and impound facilities have scanners that can read the microchips.
- If you take your pet out of town, have tags with the phone number you can be reached at. Should your pet get lost, the finder will not be calling your home number when no one is there to retrieve the call. Someone needs to be able to contact you in your current location or vacation spot.
- If your pet has a tendency to loose the tags, perhaps a collar with your number embroidered into the collar itself. This information is easy to read and will not fade or wear off.
- If your pet does stray away from home, it's important that you visit area animal shelters and impound facilities as soon as possible. You can find addresses and phone numbers of municipal shelters listed in the telephone book. You can also call information and ask for the listing of the local animal shelter or impound facility. At each shelter, provide a photo, specific description of your pet, the date your pet was lost, and the area in which your pet was lost. These steps will greatly increase your chances of finding your animal friend.
- Do plan ahead if you are going away for a holiday or weekend vacation. Make arrangements ahead of time so your pet is properly taken care of during your absence.
- Don't allow your pet to ingest alcohol, picnic scraps etc. Keep your glasses and plates up and out of your pets reach. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. In addition, some human food may be toxic or could cause stomach upset. Your pet may seem fine - but disaster could be right around the corner - or in the middle of the night. No one wants to get up to accidents!
- Don't allow your pet to chew on or play with July 4th decorations.
- Don't apply human insect repellent or sunscreen to your pet. These products can be licked by your pet and can be toxic. Don't let your pet lick you either if you are wearing sunscreen and/or insect repellent.
- Don't take your pet to fireworks displays.
- Don't leave your pet in a car. Open or partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air. Remember, a car can reach high temperatures in minutes. Heat exposure can result in organ damage, heart problems and/or sudden death. Open or partially opened windows could also allow your pet to be stolen.
- Don't leave your pet outside unattended - even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In fear, your pet may escape from the yard or become tangled in the chain which could cause injury.
- Do not allow your pet to ride or stay in the bed of a pick up truck. Yes, there is ample air - however - the bed of a pick up truck can get pretty hot. It would be like standing on top of a tin roof. Not good! Also, even though your pet may love to have the breeze blow through its fur - any particle (it only takes a speck) could cause eye injury. We know how irritating and sore an eye can be when some foreign object gets into it. While we are talking about riding in the bed of a truck, your pet is not secure. Imagine the damage to a body as it flies out of the bed of a truck and hits the black top. Yes, it does happen regardless of how steady we think our pet is.
- If you find a lost pet, check to see if it has any identification. Contact the owner immediately. If the pet is without identification or the owner cannot be reached, contact your nearest animal shelter or call local law enforcement. Please do not keep a lost pet. Their owner will not be able to find them.
Think ahead and plan so the holiday is safe and enjoyable for your entire family.
Stay safe & Enjoy...