From fireworks, picnics, and parades, the 4th of July can bring much excitement for people but for our pets, it can bring an unsettling amount of stress and anxiety, to our pets. Extremely loud noises from fireworks and other celebrations can startle even the most docile animal causing them to run away; holiday foods can be unhealthy and even dangerous to them; and summer heat and travel can be dangerous and scary.

Whether planning your own celebration or there will be one (or many) surrounding your pet in your neighborhood, it's important to take safety precautions ahead of time so you're well prepared for your pet's best interest.

Prepare in advance:

  • Ensure that all your pet's have a collar with an identification tag on with up to date information. If you have horses, consider keeping a breakaway halter on with your contact information.
  • If your pet isn't already microchipped, call the shelter to set up an appointment. This simple and quick process improves the chances greatly should your pet become lost. If your pet is microchipped, be sure your information is up to date with the microchip registry.
  • Take a current, quality photo of your pet, just in case.
  • If your pet is known to become anxious around this time, or you have reason to believe they will become unsettled, consult your veterinarian for or a veterinary behaviorist.
  • Make sure the surrounding environment is safe and secure. Are pastures safe and secure? Is your yard secured in the event that a neighbor sets off an unexpected firework? Ensure that your yard is the safest it can be for your pet, especially during this time.

Safety during the 4th:

  • Leave your pet at home when going to parties, parades, and other celebrations. As tempting as it can be to bring along a pet, loud noises and unfamiliar places and crowds can all be extremely scary for pets. These uncertainties can lead to a pet becoming spooked and running away.
  • Keep horses and livestock as far away from celebrations as possible and ensure that their pastures are secured.
  • Consider using a crate or a secured room in your home during parties and fireworks. Covering the crate with a blanket will add another layer of a sense of security for dogs.
  • Keep things such as glow sticks, sparklers, fireworks, and kabob sticks away from curious pets.
  • Keep pets away from hot barbecue grills.
  • Avoid the urge to feed pets table scraps or other food that is considered people food that may be toxic to your pet. Foods such as onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, avocado, macadamia nuts, fatty/friend foods, and food containing Xylitol are all considered to be toxic.
  • Pets can get overheated just like people and it's even more dangerous to keep animals in the heat and humidity because they can't tell us they are too hot. When outside, make sure there is plenty of fresh water available and shade for your pet to lay in. Don't leave them outside for extended periods of time and watch for signs of overheating: anxiousness, excessive panting and/or drooling, restlessness, collapse, abnormal gum color, unsteadiness
  • Never leave your pet in the car when it's warm out, even for a short period of time. The interior of a car heats up much quicker than the air around them and even a short amount of time in a locked car can be fatal for an animal.
  • If traveling out of town, consider leaving your pet at home with a pet sitter or at a boarding facility.

After the celebrations:

  • Check your yard for firework debris. Even if you didn't set off fireworks, debris can travel from far away. Be sure your yard is safe before letting a pet outside.
  • Check pastures for firework debris to ensure safety of livestock and horses.
  • If you hosted a celebration, ensure that all people food is cleaned up both in the home and in your yard. Ensure trash such as sparkler sticks and kabob skewers are placed in the trash.
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