There’s no denying that July Fourth is one festive holiday. With the fireworks, the parades, the cookouts, and the red, white, and blue decorations, it’s not surprising many people look forward to the one day a year when it is appropriate to light fires, cause explosions, and eat far too much food that’s probably not that good for you. However, your pet likely has a far different perspective, and it’s worth considering before the commotion begins. Our team at Town & Country Animal Hospital takes a look at July Fourth from a pet’s view to help you ensure your pet is prepared for the hectic holiday.
A pet’s perspective on fireworks
Here I am, enjoying the delicious smells wafting from the grill and the presence of all of my favorite people hanging out in my backyard when all of a sudden, I hear deafening booms and see blinding flashes of light in the sky. I look to my humans for some sort of explanation, but they don’t seem fazed at all. They appear to enjoy these explosions in the sky. Don’t they understand we are in imminent danger? We should be taking cover under the couch until the madness stops.
Fireworks safety tips — Many dogs and cats react to loud and unfamiliar noises with intense fear and stress, similar to a human panic attack. Help your pet cope with fireworks-related anxiety and other loud noises by planning ahead.
- Talk to your veterinarian — Medications are available that can reduce your pet’s anxiety and noise sensitivity.
- Keep your pet indoors — Exercise your pet early in the day and do not let them outside during the fireworks.
- Confine your pet to a quiet space — Before the noise begins, take your pet to their quiet, secure small room or crate.
- Distract your pet — Preoccupy your pet with a food-stuffed toy, long-lasting chew, or a lickable mat coated with soft food.
- Create a comforting environment — Use classical music or white noise to drown out the sounds outside, and apply or diffuse calming pheromones to help your pet relax.
How your pet feels about the heat
There’s nothing better than spending a nice sunny day outside, running around, playing, and enjoying the company of my humans. We’ve been outside all day, and I am loving it! Well, I am getting a little hot, but that won’t stop me from continuing to romp around—this is the best day ever. OK, I admit I’m a little thirsty, too, but I knocked over my water bowl, and nobody has noticed. I search the yard for a shady spot to rest—only for a minute—but all I see is sun. I’m panting heavily, so I lay down in the grass. It sure would be nice to cool off.
Heat safety tips — Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can be dangerous and, in some cases, life-threatening for pets. Follow these steps to ensure your pet stays cool and safe during outdoor July Fourth celebrations.
- Provide water and shade — When your pet is outside, ensure they have access to fresh, cool water and shade. Check their water bowl often and adjust their shade as the sun moves throughout the day.
- Monitor your pet for heat stress — July Fourth festivities are fun for pets, but ensure they don’t overexert themselves. Watch for early heatstroke warning signs—heavy panting, drooling, restlessness, or lethargy—and take your pet indoors if they appear to be overheating.
- Protect your pet’s paws — Asphalt and cement radiate heat. If your bare feet cannot tolerate walking on a hot paved surface, your pet’s paws cannot either. Keep your pet’s paws safe by walking on grass or providing booties to protect them from heat-related injuries.
What your pet is thinking while you grill
I don’t like the explosions that happen this time of year, but the food the humans make on that fire container is something I can appreciate. I’ve learned that humans are easily distracted, and as soon as the coast is clear, I can snag something delicious without anyone noticing. That fire container—a grill as the humans call it—can get hot, and I once burned my paw on its blistering surface while seeking out a tasty morsel. I swore I learned my lesson after that, but the lure of barbecued meat seems to affect my memory.
- Grill safety tips — The fragrant sizzling meat and grease drippings will entice your pet, but they can be harmed if they give in to temptation and try to sample your recipes or knock over the grill. Use these safety tips when grilling around pets:
- Keep your pet away from the grill — Ensure your pet stays a safe distance away from the grill with a physical barrier or a pet gate around the area. Always keep an eye on the grill while in use.
- Keep hazardous items out of reach — Keep matches, lighter fluid, and other hazardous items out of pets’ reach, because they can cause serious health problems if ingested.
- Clean up spills quickly — Ingested grease and food drippings can harm pets. Clean up spills immediately to prevent your pet from licking or eating them.
Final thoughts from your pet
I may not understand this strange human holiday, but then again, humans do many things I don’t understand. Fortunately, my friends at Town & Country Animal Hospital can help by prescribing medication and ensuring I am microchipped.
This July Fourth, ensure your pet understands you will always keep them safe. Contact our Town & Country Animal Hospital to discuss medication or to schedule a quick and easy microchip procedure for your pet.