by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com
While we may love the 4th of July and all the pomp and circumstance – it may be a very different story for our four legged and feathered friends. Sudden loud fireworks going off nearby, loud parties, or just having more friends and family over can very easily stress out your otherwise well behaved pets. I am one to always err on the side of caution to keep my dog safe. To enjoy the 4th of July, here are some simple tips to help your pet and family make it through the weekend:
- Make sure you have a collar with ID tags on your pets at all times during this weekend. Some owners like to take their pet’s flat collar off when they are in the house – but the first block buster that goes off could scare your pet so much they may bolt out your front door and take off. Even the most well adjusted dog or cat could get scared easily. Also be sure to have your pet’s microchip registered with your contact information.
- If you know your pet is terrified of loud noises, try using products like Rescue Remedy® or Canine Calm™ or in extreme cases contact your veterinarian for tranquilizer/valium pills ahead of time.
- Leave your pets home in a secured house. Pets do not need to be at firework shows, it’s almost inhumane if you are not sure of how your dog may react. Know your dog, some dogs don’t seem to mind, but think about their sensitive hearing. And what if a firework goes rogue and comes close to your dog? Anything can happen so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Crating pets that are used to being crated will add a layer of protection as well, keeping them confined and in a safe place they are used to.
- Having a 4th BBQ? Friends and family tend to want to feed your dog or cat while at a party, to avoid this ask them not to or have your pet in a safe cool room away from all the guests. Check on the pet often, make sure he has fresh water and a comfy place to sleep away from the crowd. (Lock the door if you can!) Guests that are not pet savvy could accidentally open or leave the door open and the pet could escape. (Another reason crating works well!)
- Parades and pets. Some pets may be fine with attending a parade with you, however the majority will not be used to the loud noises, crowds and tell tail signs that dog is stressed: are licking their lips, shaking, panting excessively, crying, pulling on the leash, and acting out (i.e. not their usuall behavior). Again, know your pet, and don’t be in denial about what they can and can’t handle. Some pets do not do well in large crowds, people, kids petting poking at them, loud sirens from fire trucks going by, etc. If you see your dog is stressed – leave the parade – don’t comfort the dog with, “It’s ok” while petting the panicked animal – that will just make it worse.
- Bringing your dog out on your boat or too the beach? Bring plenty of cold bottled water, pet safe bug spray and sunscreen, extra leash and collar with ID, treats, a properly fitted doggie life jacket, and monitor them for overheating, bug bites, ticks and make sure their paws are not on hot surfaces for a long time – concrete and sand can be scorching- and of course bring poop pick up bags!
- Traveling for the 4th and bringing your pet? Find out where the nearest 24-hour emergency clinic is at your destination. Make sure there are no Breed Restrictions at your location.
- While en route use a safety harness that clips into the seatbelt of your car, or crate your pet while traveling.
- Have a first aid kit in your car especially for pets and bring extra pet food and water – you never know if your car breaks down you get stuck somewhere.
- Always have an up-to-date picture of your pet with you, i.e. on your phone in case your pet gets lost during the 4th.
- Store local animal shelter contact #’s in your phone in case you need to call immediately.
Having fun and enjoying the 4th of July is part of our human lives here in the US, but just remember it may not be normal for our pets who don’t understand loud noises, blasting, whistling fireworks and bright sudden flashes of light. Have a happy and safe 4th!