Every year Americans set out on July 4th to celebrate the independence of our great nation. Barbeques, pool parties and fireworks are wonderful ways for families to celebrate. But, what about our pets?
Summer parties are great fun for families to get together, and while your dog is part of your family, he’s better off being confined to an air conditioned space. That doesn’t mean he can’t go out for a few minutes and enjoy some of the fun, but be wary of the immediate signs of heat stroke:
- Heavy panting
- Excessive thirst or drooling
- Bright red or dull gray gums
Fireworks may be fun for us, but they are not fun for our pets. The loud popping, fizzing and screaming sounds can cause our pets to panic. While some communities have outlawed fireworks and mandate attending public celebrations, many of us have neighbors that enjoy lighting fireworks. Here are some things you can do to help your pets through this frightening experience.
- Keep them inside. Pets are easily terrified by the sound of fireworks exploding. While there is little we can do to keep neighbors from celebrating, we can manage our pets differently.
- Loud TV or radio. Turning on a television or radio at a higher than normal volume can help drown out the sound of fireworks. The pet acclimates to the sound of the TV, and will naturally pay less attention to the fireworks outside.
- Dark and cozy space. Create a den for your dog, by blanketing the top and 3 sides of his crate. This will give him a secure place to rest and relax while you’re out enjoying all of the action. Some pet owners secure their pet inside the covered crate and add lavender aromatherapy near their dog’s environment to keep him as calm as possible.
- Leash your pets. If you have a very nervous pup, he is a flight risk when frightened by fireworks. Even if you take your pet into the backyard, we recommend that you leash your pet. Center for Pet Safety has received many stories about pets jumping the fence in panic from fireworks. In some cases the terrified dogs were killed when they ran into traffic trying to escape the fireworks.
- Tour your backyard the morning of July 5th. After all of the celebrating and neighborhood fireworks are over, take a few minutes to walk the backyard before your pet goes outside. Pick up any empty food containers and firework debris.
Beware of Pet Suffocation Risks
At the barbeque, chips are inevitable. According to Bonnie Harlan of Prevent Pet Suffocation, chip bags are the #1 cause of pet suffocation.
- Don’t leave open chip bags lying around unattended.
- Cut the bottom off of the empty chip bag before disposing.
- Secure all trash and food containers away from prying paws. Find a way to lock or secure your trash can.
As you head out to celebrate July 4th – remember, your dog is safer when secured in familiar surroundings in an air conditioned environment.
Wishing you and yours a very happy July 4th Celebration!
The Center for Pet Safety Team.