July Fourth is a fun and festive holiday for most people, but backyard barbecues, loud fireworks, and noisy crowds can be stressful and dangerous for pets. In all the excitement, pet owners can easily forget to take precautions to ensure their pet’s safety and comfort, which can lead to a holiday pet emergency. Our team at Staples Mill Animal Hospital shares five common July Fourth pet safety mistakes and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Skipping your pet’s wellness exam

Solution: Schedule your pet’s wellness exam to prepare for July Fourth

Regularly scheduled veterinary examinations can help ensure your pet remains healthy. If you suspect your pet is noise averse (i.e., extremely fearful of loud sounds), your veterinarian can help confirm this condition, and recommend treatment, which may include behavior modification and prescription medications.

At your pet’s wellness exam, you should also ensure their microchip is functioning, and your contact information is current. A microchip is your pet’s only permanent identification, and missing pets who are identified with a microchip are much more likely to be reunited with their family. A microchip can easily be implanted or your information updated during a routine veterinary wellness examination. Your microchipped pet should still wear their collar or tag that includes your current contact information. 

Mistake #2: Using fireworks around pets

Solution: Keep fireworks away from pets

Fireworks are a common part of July Fourth celebrations, but they can be extremely dangerous for pets. Not only can the loud noises and bright lights cause pets anxiety and fear, but also the fireworks themselves can seriously injure pets. Dogs, in particular, may try to catch or play with fireworks, leading to burns and other injuries. Keep all fireworks out of pets’ reach and, if you plan on setting off fireworks at home, ensure your pet is safely inside and the fireworks area is inaccessible. 

Mistake #3: Bringing pets to firework displays

Solution: Create a safe space for your pet at home

While taking your pet to the festivities may seem like a good idea, many pets suffer from noise aversion, and July Fourth fireworks often kicks that fear into overdrive. The loud noises and bright lights of fireworks displays can frighten pets, who can become anxious, stressed, and disoriented, and they may run off and potentially be injured or become lost. Keep your pet at home on July Fourth, in a safe space that you created, such as a bathroom or a small bedroom with few windows. Ensure they have all the essentials in their hangout, including:

  • A comfortable, cozy bed
  • Long-lasting treats and a favorite toy for entertainment
  • A calming pheromone diffuser, soothing music, and a compression wrap for additional anxiety-reducing effects 

Mistake #4: Leaving pets unsupervised around food 

Solution: Monitor your pet outside or keep them indoors

The delicious smells from the grill are enticing to pets, but open flames and grease droppings can be a recipe for disaster for a curious pet. The National Fire Prevention Association advises keeping pets more than three feet away from grills to prevent injuries like burned paws and singed whiskers. 

Also, grilled foods and other popular July Fourth dishes can be toxic to your pet and lead to gastrointestinal (GI) problems, so avoid sharing your plate with your pet, and ask guests to do the same. immediately call Staples Mill Animal Hospital or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center if your pet ingests any of the following pet-toxic foods:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Sugar-free foods
  • Raw yeast dough
  • Alcoholic drinks or desserts
  • Corn cobs
  • Raw meats or bones

Mistake #5: Missing overheating signs in pets

Solution: Monitor your pet for heat stress, and keep them cool

When your pet is outside during your July Fourth festivities, ensure they have access to cool, fresh water and shade. Monitor them for early heatstroke signs, and take action at the first hint of overheating. Heatstroke signs can include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Thick, ropy drool
  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination when walking
  • Bright red gum and tongue color
  • Collapse
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Coma

If you notice overheating signs in your pet, take them inside, and point a fan at their face. Try to keep their temperature lower than 103 degrees, but should their temperature go higher, run cool water over your pet in the bathtub to bring down their temperature, and contact your veterinarian.

If you avoid these common pet safety mistakes, you can enjoy a safe, fun, and pet-emergency-free July Fourth. Contact our Staples Mill Animal Hospital to schedule your pet’s wellness exam before the big holiday to ensure they are protected with a microchip, and up-to-date on their vaccines.