When your local celebration with a gorgeous fireworks display fills the sky, you likely “Ooh” and “Ahh.” But, does your pet go into a frenzy of howling and digging, or cling more closely at each cacophonous boom? They likely have a noise aversion to loud sounds, which are common around July Fourth. Fireworks displays are one of the problems that can put a damper on Independence Day festivities for your pet, but with proper preparations, you can keep your four-legged friend safe from the most common holiday dangers.
#1: Fireworks, summer thunderstorms, and loud festivities can scare your pet
You’re more likely to notice your pet’s noise aversion during the summer. Some of the most common noises that can trigger anxiety in your pet include fireworks, thunderstorms, vacuum cleaners, construction, traffic, and perhaps laughing and shouting children. While you may think that your pet’s shaking and clinging during a fireworks show is normal, left unmanaged, their anxiety can escalate. Noise aversion signs in pets can include:
- Trembling and shaking
- Excessive shedding
- Inappropriate elimination
- Destructive behavior
If your pet becomes anxious because of loud noises, they likely have noise aversion, and would benefit from a multimodal treatment plan. Reduce your pet’s exposure to loud sounds, pair scary noises with rewards to help desensitize your pet and create a positive association, and use anti-anxiety medication as needed to help your furry pal cope with their fear.
#2: Hot weather and high humidity can be dangerous for pets of all coat types
One of the biggest dangers for pets during a July Fourth celebration is heatstroke. While you are outside enjoying all the fun activities that come with festivities, your pet can easily become overheated, no matter their coat type. All pets can quickly become overheated, since they can cool themselves only by panting, but some pets are at higher risk, including those with thick double coats, flat faces, heart and respiratory conditions, and other issues, like obesity. Ensure your pet has plenty of cool, clean water when outdoors, and access to shade and proper ventilation. Keep in mind that some pets do not regulate their activity well, and need to be encouraged to rest and cool off before they play too much in the heat. If your pet begins to pant heavily, drool excessively, or appears weak or disoriented, bring them indoors to cool off.
#3: Swimming does not come naturally to all pets
You may think that every pet would instinctively know how to dog paddle and handle a dip in the pool, but swimming does not always come naturally. Always watch your pet in water, and keep them out of deep water unless they are wearing a safety vest. Remember that pets who are good swimmers can tire easily. Do not let them drink chlorinated pool water, or water from ponds and lakes. If you are heading out on a boat with your pet, ensure they remain leashed to keep them from jumping overboard.
#4: Summertime foods can be hazardous for pets
A barbecue is a must on July Fourth, but all those delicious cookout foods can be dangerous for your four-legged friend.
- On the grill — Many items that go on the grill are high in fat (e.g., hot dogs, brats) or contain bones (e.g., steak, ribs, chicken). Your pet may drool over a piece of meat smoking on the grill, but do not be tempted to feed them, which would put them at risk for serious pancreatitis or a gastrointestinal obstruction.
- Sides go with that — Popular cookout side items include mayo-rich side salads that also contain onions and garlic. Mayonnaise is high in fat and can inflame and irritate your pet’s digestive tract and pancreas, while onions, garlic, and chives can cause red blood cell damage that leads to anemia.
- Forget dessert — The dessert table is no safer for your pet. Chocolate bars for s’mores, sweets with high amounts of sugar, and xylitol found in sugar-free baked goods are all dangerous for pets, and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, a sharp drop in blood sugar, and liver damage.
#5: Insects can make your pet miserable and cause disease
Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects can not only put a serious damper on your celebration, but also cause diseases in your pet. Mosquitoes transmit heartworm disease, ticks are notorious for Lyme disease, and fleas can cause severe scratching in an allergic pet. Keep your pet safe from insect bites—not by applying a DEET-based spray, which can be toxic—but by administering a quality, veterinarian-approved parasite prevention product. Our team can recommend the best preventive for your pet’s lifestyle.
Help your pet make the most of the July Fourth celebration by keeping them out of mischief. However, if they sneak a rack of ribs off the grill, refuse to forgo the sides and desserts, or play too hard in the hot sun, our Homestead Animal Hospital team is here to help—give us a call.