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4th of July Preparedness for Pet Owners

While fireworks, picnics, and other Fourth of July customs are enjoyable for humans, they can be frightening and hazardous for animals. The loud noises from fireworks and other celebrations can scare animals, leading them to flee; festive foods may be harmful; summer heat and travel pose risks; and dangerous debris could be left on the ground for pets to ingest or play with.

Regardless of whether you are organizing your own Independence Day event, it is crucial to take steps to ensure the safety of your pets throughout and following Fourth of July celebrations.

Preparing in advance:

  • Ensure that your pets, both cats and dogs, have identification tags containing current information. For horses, consider attaching a safety (breakaway) halter with your contact details during this stressful period.

  • If your pets are not already microchipped, discuss microchipping with your vet. This straightforward process can significantly increase the likelihood of reuniting with your pets if they get lost.

  • If your pets are microchipped, verify that your contact details in the microchip registry are up to date.

  • Take a recent photo of all your cats, dogs, and horses as a precaution.

  • If your pet typically gets anxious during this holiday or if you anticipate potential negative reactions, consider behavioral therapy to help your pet adjust and minimize risks. Some pets might require medication. Consult your vet or a veterinary behaviorist BEFORE JULY 1ST!

  • Ensure that your surroundings are safe and secure. If your neighbors unexpectedly set off fireworks, is your yard secure enough to contain your pet? Are pasture fences sturdy enough to confine horses or other livestock? Assess your options and select the safest area for your animals. Make any necessary improvements to enhance security.

Safety during July 4 celebrations:

  • It's advisable to leave your pets at home when attending events like parties, fireworks displays, parades, and other gatherings. The loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings, and crowds can be very distressing for pets, increasing the risk of them getting scared and running away.

  • If you know your dog is noise-sensitive and fearful of fireworks, its best to stay at home with them if possible or hirer a friend/sitter to stay with them.

  • Consider placing your pets in a secure, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.

  • Ensure that horses and livestock are kept in securely fenced areas and away from the noise and commotion as much as possible.

  • If you are hosting guests, request their assistance in keeping an eye on your pets to prevent any potential escapes. Using notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests stay vigilant.

  • Keep your pets indoors if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.

  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal, and kabob skewers out of reach of curious pets.

  • Avoid allowing pets near the barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.

  • Refrain from giving your pets table scraps or human foods. Be particularly cautious to keep them away from these common foods that are toxic to pets.

  • Be mindful that excessive sun and heat (and humidity) can pose risks to pets. Keep them indoors during extreme heat/humidity, and ensure they have access to shaded areas and an adequate water supply when outdoors. Avoid leaving pets outside for prolonged periods in hot weather, and be aware of the signs of overheating in pets.

  • Do not leave your pet in a car when it is warm outside. The interior of vehicles heats up rapidly, and even a brief period in a locked car can be hazardous for pets.

  • If you are traveling away for the holiday, consider leaving your pets at home with a pet sitter or boarding them. If you must take them along, ensure you are aware of how to keep them safe.

  • Observe proper food handling and hygiene practices to safeguard your family and guests.

After the celebrations:

  • Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn't set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat. This is especially important because fireworks residue can contain harmful chemicals that may be toxic to pets if ingested. It's crucial to thoroughly inspect your yard, including bushes, flower beds, and any other areas where debris could be hiding. Additionally, be cautious of any remnants that might still be hot and pose a burn risk to your pets.

  • Check your pastures and remove debris to protect horses and livestock. Horses and livestock are particularly vulnerable to ingesting foreign objects, which can lead to serious health issues or even fatalities. Make sure to scan the pasture thoroughly, paying close attention to areas where animals tend to graze or congregate. Removing any debris promptly can help prevent unnecessary harm to your animals and ensure their well-being.

  • If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers. Pets are naturally curious creatures and may inadvertently consume items that are hazardous to their health. Inspect your property carefully, both indoors and outdoors, to identify any potential risks. It's not just about fireworks debris; leftover food scraps, small objects, or other hazardous materials left behind by guests can also pose a threat to your pets. Taking the time to conduct a thorough sweep of your surroundings can help safeguard your furry friends from preventable accidents.

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