With so many animals going missing or ending up at shelters around the 4th of July, please follow these tips to keep all your pets safe:
If your pet has a fear of or aversion to loud noises:
- Something as simple as turning on some soft music and moving your pet into an interior room with no windows can be helpful.
- An anxiety vest may work in some cases—if you don’t have one, try a snugly fitting t-shirt.
- If you and your veterinarian do decide that anti-anxiety medication is your pet’s best bet, there are a few things to remember. First and foremost, give a practice dose of the medication before the big night to see how your pet responds to the medication. Second, never share the medication with another pet or give more than the recommended amount. If you do, you may end up spending the holiday at your local veterinary emergency clinic.
- While noise phobias are not as common in cats, they can and do happen. Fortunately, cats tend to hide when frightened. Checking in on your cats, having some quiet music on and keeping them indoors during the height of the fireworks is always a good idea.
Keep the following tips in mind while celebrating this summer holiday with your pets:
- Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended. It’s no secret that alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, your pet could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
- Keep an eye on those chemicals. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of certain sunscreen products could result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellents that contain the chemical DEET can lead to neurological problems. You should also keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of pets’ reach, too.
- Be wary of where you keep your matches and lighter fluid.Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases—if ingested. Lighter fluid comes with its own set of dangers, and can be irritating to skin. If ingested, it can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
- Keep your pets on their normal diet. Sudden changes in your pet’s diet (even if it’s just for one day) can sometimes lead to indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and specific nutritional requirements. Not to mention, foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals. Consider packing some of your pet’s favorite usual treats to give them something special on the holiday!
- Remember to keep a no-glow zone. For parties and celebrations that last into the night, glow sticks and glow jewelry are popular party favors. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestion, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers. Be sure to keep those items reserved for your human guests and avoid putting them on pets.
- Keep gates and doors closed. Given all the excitement around Independence Day parties, it isn’t uncommon for some pets to get scared and run away. Be sure that all exits are securely closed, and that your pet is inside or in your sight at all times. Also, be sure that your pet is wearing proper identification tags, and that their microchip is up-to-date should they get out.