Fireworks are Not Festive for our Furry Ones

By Jacqui Dziak

Those booms we are already hearing can only mean one thing- 4th of July is right around the corner. 4th of July celebrations include fireworks and back yard gatherings- and the following reminders to keep your pets safe and feeling secure during the upcoming holiday weekend.

Backyard BBQs may seem harmless enough, but even the most well intentioned can overlook what we often find at BBQs that can harm our pets: mosquito repellent, alcohol and sunscreen. Even eco-friendly repellents that are considered safe for humans and contain natural ingredients aren’t always safe for our pets. Never put anything on your pet that isn’t specifically for pets and approved by veterinarians. Also be careful not to allow your pet to lick any bug spray off your legs or arms, especially if the repellent contains DEET. Keep citronella candles, insect coils, and tiki torches also out of your pets reach. While we humans have a disdain for mosquitos, our pets’ biggest foes are fleas and ticks. We recommend veterinarian approved flea and tick medication monthly- especially during the summer months.

Backyard BBQ celebrations often include alcohol. Remember that even a small amount of alcohol can be dangerous if your pet laps up a drink lying about the yard. Keep all alcoholic beverages above their sight line, although most pets would rather sneak off with a hot dog than a cold beer.

Speaking of hot dogs, pups are often drawn to the smells coming from the grill or smoker. Keep pets at a safe distance to avoid any accidental burns. Also securely dispose of all food trays, bags, tin foil, leftovers, and other containers to prevent your pet from ingesting anything that might make them sick.

4th of July celebrations often take place in the heat of the day when we should be wearing sunscreen. The sunscreen we put on our bodies is toxic for pets. Again, never put anything on your pet not intended and approved for pets. It is best to provide your pet lots of water to avoid dehydration and ample shade when outside to avoid any sun burn. And if possible, keep your pet indoors during the hottest part of the day.

Nothing marks the 4th of July quite like fireworks. And fireworks are no fun for pets. They can be very frightening for our pets. Even normally calm pets can become skittish during this holiday. More pets run away on the 4th of July than any other time of year. Each year, shelters see an increase of pets who run away frightened from the loud sounds. Make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with current and legible identification and double check that the information on their chip is up to date as a precaution. However, it is best and safest to keep your pet indoors during the fireworks. Turning on the TV or playing soothing music can comfort your pet during the loud noise, especially if you won’t be home with them. Make sure all doors and windows are secure. If you know your pet has or will have anxiety during the fireworks, you can also contact your vet so they can recommend medication or a product that can help soothe their anxiety.

Just remember, fireworks are not festive for our furry loves, so offer all the comfort and security you possibly can during the holiday weekend. And have a happy, healthy, safe 4th of July.