Loud noises and unfamiliar activities associated with July Fourth festivities can be upsetting and potentially dangerous for your four-legged friend. Before firing up the grill, ensure you and your pet are prepared for Independence Day. We don’t want you to have to spend your holiday with our Animal Urgent Care of Oconomowoc team, so we offer do’s and don’ts to keep your pet safe on July Fourth.

DO ensure your pet is properly identified

Pets often go missing on July Fourth and the surrounding days as they seek refuge from firework noise and other activities associated with the holiday. Having your pet properly identified helps ensure they can be safely returned to you if they get lost during the patriotic festivities. Ensure your four-legged friend always wears a well-fitted collar with identification tags that clearly state your contact information. We also recommend microchipping your pet to provide permanent identification that can’t be lost or intentionally removed. 

DON’T let your pet outside during the July Fourth festivities

Even pets who don’t typically have anxiety issues can be startled by July Fourth shenanigans. To help ensure your pet stays indoors, follow these tips:

  • Post reminders — Post notes on your doors to remind yourself and your guests to watch for your pet when entering and leaving the house.
  • Secure doors and windows — Some pets are excellent escape artists. Ensure all doors and windows are securely closed to prevent a disappearing act.
  • Leash your pet — When walking your pet or taking them to social gatherings, keep them leashed at all times. 

DO create a quiet safe zone for your pet

Even the most social pet can get overwhelmed by crowds, excited children, and exploding fireworks. Designate a quiet area, such as a spare bedroom, a cozy closet, or your pet’s crate, where your furry pal can go if the July Fourth celebrations get to be too much. If your pet tends to get easily stressed, consider confining them to their safe zone during the July Fourth festivities, but remember to check on them frequently to ensure they remain calm. Considerations include:

  • Resources — Provide resources, such as treats, water, bedding, and your pet’s favorite toys and blankets, to make the area comforting and familiar.
  • Distraction — Give your pet a treat puzzle toy or a lick mat to keep them occupied while in their safe zone.
  • White noise — Run fans, and play music or white noise to help drown out fireworks sounds and crowd noise. 

DON’T allow your pet to eat party food

What’s better than a July Fourth cookout? Decadent foods are part of any Independence Day gathering, but the dishes can be dangerous for your four-legged friend. Many common human foods, such as alcohol, chocolate, onions, grapes, and xylitol-containing baked goods, are toxic to pets, and fatty food can cause gastrointestinal (GI) upset or trigger pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening condition. In addition, foods, such as chicken wings and ribs, contain bones that can lodge in your pet’s digestive tract, causing a GI obstruction. To keep your pet safe from food-related dangers, follow these tips:

  • Ensure your guests know your pet isn’t allowed to eat human food.
  • Keep garbage in sealed containers and take bags outside as soon as they are full.
  • Clean up discarded plates and cups.
  • Provide pet-friendly treats so your four-legged friend doesn’t feel left out.

DO keep your pet cool and hydrated

The weather can get pretty toasty on July Fourth, and pets can easily get overheated. Pets who have the highest overheating risk are seniors, those carrying excess weight, and flat-faced (i.e., brachycephalic) breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, and boxers. To keep your pet cool and comfortable when the weather is hot and humid, follow these tips:

  • Provide water — Ensure your pet always has access to water, and pack water and a portable bowl when on outings so you can offer them a drink.
  • Take breaks — Take your pet inside an air-conditioned area or to a shady spot to let them cool down at regular intervals during the day.
  • Watch for overheating signs — Monitor your pet for signs, such as excessive panting, drooling, and lethargy, that may indicate overheating, and take them to a cool, well-ventilated area if they get too hot. Once you have moved them to a cooler location, offer them water and pour cool water over their body to help them cool down. If their temperature reaches 104 degrees, seek emergency veterinary care.
  • Leave your pet at home — If you have a pet who has a high overheating risk, leave them at home in the comfort of the air-conditioning.
  • Never leave your pet in a vehicle — Leaving your pet in a parked car is never appropriate. The interior can quickly reach dangerously high levels, putting your pet’s life at risk.

We hope you have a wonderful July Fourth, but if your pet needs urgent care during the Independence Day festivities, contact our Animal Urgent Care of Oconomowoc team.