I worked for an emergency vet clinic for about 15 months working two 4th of Julys in that time. The 4th seemed to be one of the busiest days of the years. This meant it wasn’t a good day for a lot of pets. With just a little planning many of these visits could have been prevented.
4th of July Pet Dangers
- Fireworks are pretty. A freaked out dog is not. Sunday night I was at my sister’s watching a fireworks display put on by a local church. It was beautiful. It was loud. There was a lot of bright flashes. I could see how this could scare a dog, heck, it scared my 4 year old niece. Scared dogs are just thinking about getting away and may run away. At the E-vet clinic we would end up with a couple of dogs that had to sit and wait for their owners to show after they got spooked and took off. They were luckier than the 3 dogs that came in on my second 4th having gotten hit by cars during firework time.
- Every holiday brings dogs into the vet hospital with GI problems because of eating people food. The 4th of July is no different. Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis. Corn cobs and bones can cause blockages. Used fireworks contain agents that are toxic if ingested ( for more info read http://vetmedicine.about.com/od/doghealthfaqs/qt/Firework-Toxicity.htm ) so check your yard for any fall out (while also cursing your neighbors for shooting off illegal fireworks like I do).
- Fireworks can cause injury. My first 4th of July ended with a shepherd who thought someone was tossing a treat for her to catch. It was a fire cracker. She had some burns and a broken jaw. It could have been much worse. Even the little fireworks can cause a problem. Sparklers cause the most injuries to people of any fireworks so having a dog around while they’re being used is probably not the best idea.
4th of July Pet Safety Tips
- Keep your pet at home. We all want our pets to join in the festivities, but there is too much that can happen. A lot of people, a lot of noise can equal a great deal of stress. Plus it’s hard to pay 100% attention to what they are doing and what other people are doing. Instead enjoy with the knowledge that your pet is safe at home.
- If you are having a cook-out at your home. Give everyone guidelines as to how you want them to act with your pet. Let them know if it okay or not okay to give food or not to let the dog out if he’s in the house. Better yet, let your dog stay in their kennel or room where you don’t have to worry.
- Keep ID on your dog, just in case.
- Watch for signs of anxiety. Many animals have a noise phobia to fireworks. Watch for signs and try to keep them calm (play the TV or radio loud to drown out the sound; move them to a more interior room). Then be prepared for next year by talking to your vet about ways to reduce it. Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue lists some different solutions for dogs. Remember what works for one dog, may not work for another.
We all want to have fun on the holidays, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of your pet’s safety.
Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!!