With the Fourth of July holiday fast approaching, between the barbeques and fireworks, it’s easy to forget the well-being of our four-legged friends. Pets go missing on Fourth of July more than any other holiday, so it’s important to make sure your pets are safe and out of harm’s way while you are celebrating. The American Kennel Club and AKC Reunite are here to give you some tips to keeping your pets safe this holiday weekend.
- Establish a safe space. Keep pets indoors. Make sure your dog or cat always has access to a comfortable, quiet, and safe place to hide, either a closet, under a piece of furniture or in their crate. Keep them secure and away from doors and windows as well.
- Make toys available. Keep toys and long-lasting treats in your pet’s safe area to make the area more fun and to provide distractions from loud noises and flashes.
- Exercise earlier in the day. Make time to exercise your pet during the day to keep them safely indoors before the fireworks begin.
- Try not to leave your pet at home alone. If you can’t stay with them, have a family member, pet sitter, or friend watch them while you’re out.
- Do NOT leave your pet alone in the backyard. Even if you have a fenced-in yard, you should consider taking your pet outside on a leash to avoid them jumping a fence and running off in fear.
- Keep your dog away from the grill. No matter how aware your dog is, keep them away from the grill when it’s on. It is extremely hot which is dangerous to an unsuspecting pet not to mention the open flame. Even after you’ve turned it off, keep your pet away from the grill until it’s completely cooled down. In addition, avoid giving your pet food from the barbeque as it may upset your pet’s stomach.
- Secure your yard. If you plan on gathering over the holiday and you have a gate to your yard, make sure it’s always closed. Your guests should be made aware of this as well. If guests will be coming and going, it may be best to keep your pet on a leash or in a crate. You can even appoint a family member to gate duty.
- Distract with some music. At dusk, close your windows and curtains and turn on music or television to muffle the loud noises that accompany social gatherings and the booming thunder from fireworks.
- Keep your pet hydrated. Whether it’s peak summer or not, it’s extremely important to make sure that your pet is drinking enough water throughout the day and has easy access to shade. Signs of heat stroke to look out for are vigorous panting, bright red gums, restlessness, and agitation. If these arise, bring your dog to a cooler area and contact your veterinarian. On especially hot days, it’s best to leave your dog inside.
- Watch their body language. Pets convey fear by shivering, cowering, tucking their tail between their legs, and averting their eyes. Looming over a fearful pet will only make them more. Unless they are about to get hurt, it’s best to leave a fearful pet alone because its behavior when scared is uncertain. Never punish a pet when they are scared. Additionally, if your pet has a history of noise phobia, contact your veterinarian. It may be helpful to give them calming medication an hour or two before the fireworks begin.
- Update microchip contact information. Make sure your pet’s microchip is up to date in case your pet manages to escape, as well as their collar tags. Keep AKC Reunite’s number, 800-252-7894, in your phone in case of emergency or if your pet is found.
SOURCE American Kennel Club