7 Practical Pet Precautions for a Great, Safe July 4th

By Friday, July 3, 2015

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However, all opinions and anecdotes are my own, and I never promote any products or brands I don’t believe in.

Barbecues, backyard pool parties and fireworks make for the most patriotic of summer celebrations. However, as much fun as the festivities are for the two-legged members of our families, it’s best to do a little prep work to ensure that our four-legged “party animals” stay safe and happy during these celebrations.

It’s important to know that more family pets become lost this holiday weekend than any other time of the year. Because of that, PetHub, a Pet Living partner, has designated July as “National Lost Pet Prevention Month” and created a fur-bulous resource center for pet parents at www.LostPetPrevention.com.

As a matter of fact, today I appeared on Daytime to talk about this important month and how we can protect our pets.

Additionally, consider the following practical and sometimes life-saving tips in the days and weeks leading up to the Fourth of July:

  1. Party Foods—Be sure to keep holiday fixin’s for people out of your pet’s reach. Also, warn guests not to feed pets, as they can end up being over-treated by multiple well-intentioned guests, or worse, ingest something that makes them sick. It’s important, especially over the holidays, to be aware of pet treat dangers.
  2. Fireworks—It may seem obvious, but keep sparklers, firecrackers, and all forms of exploding or crackling fireworks far from pets’ reach. It’s important for an adult to supervise any fireworks celebration when pets are nearby. Pets may try to sniff (or eat) fireworks and pet hair can easily catch fire if it is too close to the fireworks.
  3. Water Safety—If you are headed to the pool or lake with your pet, consider that not all pets (especially small or elderly pets) are good swimmers, and can drown just like people can. Keep an eye on your pet just the same way you would keep watch over a small child. Pets can become over-tired, heat-stressed, have trouble getting out of the pool, and even get sunburned and dehydrated. Rinse your dog after swimming to remove chlorine and salt from fur, and try and keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chemicals that could cause stomach upset.
  4. Heat Precautions—When it comes to pets, we should realize that it’s hotter for them than we think it is. Consider the fur coat they wear and their inability to perspire as we do. Prevent pets from succumbing to heatstroke by keeping them indoors and limit walks and outdoor playtime to early morning or early evening when temperatures are cooler. Make sure fresh, clean water is accessible at all times. Watch for overexertion on hot, humid days, and don’t ever leave a pet in an unattended automobile!
  5. Noise Anxiety—If you know your pet suffers from anxiety during thunderstorms, or even when a door slams, you can expect the same results during the Fourth of July fireworks. Consult you veterinarian about helping your pet cope with anxiety. Desensitization methods can reduce a dog’s response to fireworks, but that can take weeks or months before you see positive results. There are a number of additional ways to manage your pet’s noise-induced stress through natural remedies, but more severe anxiety could require medication.
  6. Lost Pets: July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelter lost and found. Why? Because pets left outdoors, even in a fenced yard, are often so frightened by the various explosive noises that they run off, attempting to escape the sound. It’s best to keep pets safely indoors on the 4th, and even in the days before and after, as firework celebrations often take place throughout the entire week. When pets do go outdoors, be sure to supervise them or keep them on a leash. Ensure that your pet is always wearing proper identification—a tag with current contact information along with a microchip is a great combo. One potentially life-saving device that my dog Chilly wears is PetHub’s Signal Tag™, featuring Bluetooth technology. At a time when one in three pets will go missing at some point in their lives, the Signal Tag’s technology provides a more advanced way to get pets home safely and quickly. The versatile, durable tag combines the most effective elements of lost pet prevention and recovery tools, with a 3D motion sensor and a battery life of up to two years.
  7. Emergency Vet—As a precaution, locate the nearest after-hours pet emergency hospital. If an emergency takes place during the holiday or in the evening, your family veterinarian may not be available. For a reference, try calling your family veterinarian to find out where they refer after-hours emergencies.

Despite these precautions, there are plenty of safe ways to include your dog in the holiday festivities. Bring them along to a picnic, a beach outing or include them in family gatherings at home. Just be sure to tuck your dog or cat away safely when the noisy celebrations begin.

Additional summer pet safety tips, particularly those about lost pet prevention can be found at www.lostpetprevention.com.