The day after Independence Day – July 5 – is one of the busiest days of the year for animal shelters all across America, as more pets go missing during this holiday than at any other time of year. This festive summer holiday is one of the most popular times for fireworks displays. This, along with a variety of other risks for your pet during a high-temperature party holiday, make it one of the most dangerous times for all kinds of pets. Not only can dogs and cats become injured during the 4th of July, but they are also likely to go missing unless you take the steps to prepare. Follow these crucial pet safety tips for 4th of July to ensure your furry friend wakes up comfortable and at home on July 5.
Microchip Your Pet and Check Collars, Harnesses, and ID Tags
One of the biggests risks associated with 4th of July is pets getting scared and bolting, then not being able to find their way home. This is why shelters are so busy on July 5 – because so many lost pets are coming through their doors.
The best safety tip for combatting a lost pet is microchipping. Getting your pet microchipped and keeping your phone number and contact information up-to-date with the microchipping company ensures that, should your pet become lost and be picked up by a veterinarian’s office or shelter, they can be reunited with you faster and more easily.
Even pets with a microchip need a properly fitted collar or harness and an updated ID tag. While these items aren’t as reliable as a microchip, because they can be damaged or removed, they still provide another layer of protection and identification for your pet.
Don’t Drag Your Pet to a Party or Fireworks Display
The safest way for your pet to spend the 4th of July is with you and your family, indoors, at home. But after all, Independence Day is a holiday, and we recognize that parties abound at this time of year. If you’re hosting a party yourself, you’ll have to follow a different set of safety guidelines for your pet. But if you’re planning to attend a party on the 4th of July, do everyone (including your pet) a favor and leave the animals at home.
Even the most social animals are unlikely to enjoy a busy, crowded party on a night when there is likely to be drinking and fireworks. Not only is your dog or cat probably going to be nervous and stressed out, but they are much more likely to escape and get lost if they are in an unfamiliar place. Not only will the neighborhood itself be unfamiliar, but you also have less control over the security of your host’s home, meaning it’s more likely a gate or door will be left open and allow your pet to bolt. Even if your pet is the king or queen of party animals, it’s better to leave them safe and secure at home on this particular holiday. The party hosts will probably appreciate this, as well.
Helpful hint: Even if you’re not attending a party, it’s also best to leave your pet at home when you head out to see the fireworks. Many dogs (and cats!) are noise-averse and extremely afraid of fireworks. They are safest – and happiest – at home!
Stay Aware of Food and Drink Risks for Your Pet
Another primary risk for your pet’s health on any holiday is the abundant food and alcoholic beverages that are often on hand. Barbecues are especially popular on the 4th of July, and these grilling fires present added risks like lighter fluid and charcoal, which can make your pet sick if consumed, and hot metal that can burn your pet’s skin. Other factors to be on the lookout for are wooden skewers that, if chewed or consumed, can puncture your pet’s skin both externally and their throat and organs internally.
Even beyond the tools and equipment for cooking is the food itself. Alcohol needs to be kept away from pets no matter what – their bodies can’t process alcohol in the way human bodies can, and they don’t enjoy being drunk. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with fruits and vegetables that are unsafe for dogs and cats to eat. Especially if you’re having folks over to celebrate the holiday, it’s best to follow a “no table scraps” policy to ensure your pet doesn’t accidentally get a hold of something unhealthy or toxic.
Ensure Your Pet Has Access to Shade and Water
Overheating is a significant risk for pets in most areas during this holiday. That’s why one of the most important pet safety tips for 4th of July is to ensure that your pet has the capacity for temperature control. This means providing plenty of cool, fresh water bowls throughout the house and yard for your pet to access. You might also consider filling a baby pool with cool water for your pet to splash around (or, if you have a cat, patting or stroking your pet with a wet washcloth or paper towel).
If your pet is going to spend time outside on the 4th of July, it’s important that you ensure they have shade, as well. Better yet, an escape into an air-conditioned room should be available to a pet on summer days. But if you don’t have air conditioning, there are still ways to cool off your cat or dog. It’s also important that you know the signs of heat exhaustion in dogs and cats so you can identify if your pet is reaching a dangerous internal temperature.
Keep Your Pet Secure at All Times
For the same reason you should microchip your pet and ensure their collar is well-fitted and equipped with ID tags, you should also ensure the perimeter of your home and yard is fully secure before the 4th of July comes around. Your pets should ideally be placed in a secure indoor location for the duration of the holiday. This might be a doggie safe space or a crate and kennel where you can provide sound insulation and other basic comforts.
You’ll still have to take your dog out to use the bathroom, so it’s important to secure the perimeter of your yard or keep them on a leash during outdoor time. A dog can easily find a weakness in a fence or dig underneath it, so be sure your yard fencing doesn’t have holes or loose slats. It’s also important that everyone is on the same page about keeping household doors closed so your pet doesn’t have a way to get out of the house if you’re taking the indoor approach.
Taking a 4th of July Vacation? Be Pet Smart
If you plan to take a vacation for this summer holiday and bring your pet along, you need to be smart about traveling with animals. Some of the same risks you will encounter at home will still be present, such as the dangers associated with fireworks, crowds, food, and alcohol. Furthermore, you’ll have the added experience of your pet being in a new place where you might have less control over various factors such as noise, yard fencing, or access to shade.
Before you leave, prepare your itinerary with a list of pet-friendly hotels. Always call to confirm their pet policy, availability, and rules and regulations. If you’re visiting friends or family, ensure that your pet is welcome and will have a place to take refuge during the holiday festivities. Road trips might require some additional calming support if your cat or dog struggles with traveling in the car.
Like taking your pet to a party, taking your pet on vacation with you isn’t always the best choice. When making summer travel plans, consider options like a pet sitter or boarding. While Fido and Mr. Socks might love being with you above all else, travel can be extremely stressful for an animal, and being in a new environment can sometimes increase the risk of your pet getting lost if they manage to escape.
Remember: Fun for People Can Mean Danger for Pets
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the risks your pet might face on 4th of July. While the dangers of escape and getting lost are the primary concerns facing pet parents on this holiday, pet safety tips for 4th of July go far beyond this issue. Be hyper-aware of items like glow sticks, sunscreen, and citronella candles – all of which can be dangerous for any pet if ingested.
The key is to be prepared and keep everyone on the same page (even visiting guests). Your pet deserves peace and comfort every day, and you want to take the necessary steps to keep them protected and happy. Follow our pet safety tips for 4th of July to ensure a safe and fun summer holiday season.
If your pet is especially anxious during fireworks or thunderstorms, consider Paw CBD Calming products for both cats and dogs. Formulated with CBD, a soothing herbal blend, and calm-boosting ingredients like melatonin or L-tryptophan, they offer up extra comfort and care when your pets need it most.