“From toxic hazards to explosive fireworks - Independence Day is full of threats to pets,” said Justin L. Scally of the American Humane Association. “It’s best to simply keep pets away from Independence Day festivities in a safe, escape-proof location.”
Because of the festivities, July 5 is traditionally the busiest day of the year at animal shelters, as companion animals that fled in fright the night before are found miles from their homes, disoriented and exhausted.
If your pet is upset by thunder, a door slamming or other loud noises, 4th of July fireworks will be utterly terrifying, so take these precautions:
- Your pets won’t enjoy the fireworks display, so leave them at home! Keep them inside, shielded from loud noises.
- If loud noises upset your pets, do not leave them alone while you’re out celebrating; make sure someone can stay with them.
- If you think your pets should be tranquilized, consult your veterinarian well in advance.
- Contact an animal behaviorist to work with your pets on their fears. With some positive reinforcement and behavior modification training, by next Independence Day, you all may be worry-free!
Additional tips include:
- Do not feed your pets any table food.
- Shy animals can get stressed with the hustle and bustle of holiday guests, so provide a quiet room where your pets can escape the commotion. Provide plenty of food and water and let your pets catch up on some Zs.
- Holiday guests may not know your pets' routines. If your guests smoke, make sure they are careful with their cigarettes.
- Let guests know in advance whether they are allowed to give treats to your animals.
- Keep pets away from potentially toxic items including decorations, sparklers, candles, fireworks, alcohol and other hazardous materials.
- As your holiday visitors come and go, there will be many escape opportunities for your pets. Make sure that your pets always wear current, clearly visible, identification tags and ask visitors to help keep your pet properly contained. Watch the door!
- Keep a copy of current veterinary records and a photograph of your pet to use for identification purposes should your pet become lost.
- If your pet is micro-chipped, be sure that your contact information is current with the microchip company before your pet gets lost.
- Always keep your veterinarian’s number handy, along with the number of the animal poison control center, in case of emergency.
Finally, remember to keep your pets cool and hydrated in the summer heat. Don’t leave pets chained outdoors and never leave a pet inside a parked car.