In the United States, the 4th of July is a euphoric holiday filled with pool parties, barbecues, and all things Americana. While this is basically a dream-come-true for most humans, July 4th can be an unsafe nightmare for your pets if you’re not careful.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the 4th of July is a dangerous time of year for pets.
“Noisy fireworks and other celebrations can startle animals and cause them to run away; holiday foods can be unhealthy; summer heat and travel can be dangerous; and potentially dangerous debris can end up lying on the ground where pets can eat or play with it,” they write.
The days after Independence Day are actually the busiest time of year for animal shelters because of escaped pets. In fact, the Humane Society of Utah reported that Utah shelters receive 30 percent more dogs on July 5th than any other day of the year. According to spokesperson Callista Pearson, only 32 to 35 percent of dogs who wind up in shelters around July 4th are returned to their owner.
“We expect to see a flood of dogs available [leading up to the 4th], in the shelter for no other reason that they were terrified,” Jodi Monaco, a volunteer with the animal foster organization Rescue Rovers told KUTV.
With this (and the other holiday risks) in mind, it’s imperative that responsible dog owners take steps to keep their pets safe on July 4th. Here are our tips:
1. Keep your pets at home.
Should your pet escape, it’s important that they’re wearing tags and are microchipped, so that shelters or veterinarians can return them to you.
“Many times when a dog is scared, their collar will get stuck on something and fall off. A microchip can’t fall off,” Pearson said.
2. If you’re traveling without your pet, hire supervision.
Pearson explained that shelters typically wait three to five days to put a dog up for adoption after it is brought to a shelter.
“If you’re on vacation, your pet could be adopted out or euthanized by the time you get back,” she warned.
When in doubt, make sure there’s someone to watch your pet while you’re away to prevent this.
3. Distract anxious pets.
“Create a safe haven for them at home. Turn on a radio, TV or stereo to distract them from any outside revelry (many folks swear by classical music and Animal Planet). And be sure all windows are secured so that your pet can’t escape if it gets startled,” they advise.
Or, you can always let them watch dog videos with headphones.
he's scared of the fireworks so my mom put on some dog videos for him ❤️ pic.twitter.com/VTjYa6YIcK— emily (@spaghemily) July 5, 2016
4. Keep ’em cool.
“Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid, make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors; don’t leave them outside for extended periods in hot weather; and know the signs that a pet may be overheating,” The AVMA instructs.
5. Watch what they eat!
“Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements,” explained the ASPCA.
We hope you (and your furry friends!) have a safe and happy 4th of July!