The Fourth of July is a day of celebration. And as flags proudly wave and fireworks boom, remember to keep dogs and cats safe. It’s reported across the country that more companion animals are lost during July 4th celebrations than any other holiday. With hyper sensitive hearing, many dogs and cats are bothered by the noise of fireworks. While some pets may hide, whine, or become stressed out, many bolt and easily become disoriented and lost. The Houston Humane Society has a few tips to ensure you and your furry companions have a safe, happy holiday.
· Fireworks can cause quite a frenzy in even the calmest of pets. Be sure your animal is safe, secure and inside. Even if your pet is often fine in a fenced yard, bring them inside the house, laundry room, or garage during the commotion. A stressed out pet may dig or bolt due to the noise. In addition, find a dark, calm space for your pet to hide out.
· Consider background noise like a television or radio to help drowned out the impending booms. If your pet is crate-trained, try placing them in their crate with a towel over it. You can also try distracting your pet with a frozen, yummy Kong treat or his favorite bone. Before the festivities start, take your pet for a walk or play a game of fetch inside. Excessive energy coupled with anxiety is never a good mix!
· It’s not just the noise from fireworks that make them dangerous. A lit firework can cause severe burns and/or trauma to your pet. And unlit fireworks pose a threat as well. The ingredients used in many fireworks can be dangerous to a curious pet.
· Tags and chips are your pet’s best friend. Be sure your microchip is up to date, and check collars and tags to make sure they are readable and in good condition. If your pet does become lost you want them to have the best possible chance of finding their way home quickly and safely.
· Nothing says Fourth of July quite like outdoor picnics and bar-b-ques. Keep in mind animals can suffer from heat stroke just like a human. Make sure you give pets plenty of breaks from the heat. If you plan to be out in the heat all day, you may opt to leave Fido at home.
· Skip the scraps. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill, many festive foods and products can be hazardous to pets. Keep your pet on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can lead to sever indigestion and upset stomach. Examples of everyday hazards include avocados, grapes, raw/undercooked meat, and onions.
· Pit falls of the bar-b-que pit! Never leave your dog unattended with a bar-b-que pit while it is in use. That delicious food might be too much for your pet to resist. An overturned pit can cause serious damage to your dog in the blink of an eye, not to mention a potential fire hazard. There are a few bar-b-que staples you need to keep out of your dog’s reach: alcohol – alcoholic drinks have the potential to poison pets; matches and lighter fluid – if ingested, both can cause harm to Fido and lighter fluid can cause skin irritation as well; citronella – candles, insect coils and oil products can cause stomach irritation and possibly damage a pets central nervous system.
· Mosquito mania! Mosquitoes are a way of life in Houston, but repellant products made for humans often contain DEET – an ingredient that can induce vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and drooling in our pets. Look for a pet specific mosquito repellant to use on your dog this holiday.