Although it is fun celebrating the 4th of July, it is important to keep in mind that a celebration for family and friends may not always be fun for pets. To make sure our furry ones stay “feline” okay and don’t get “ruffed” up, please check out these helpful tips and precautions for this upcoming Independence Day.
A few things to be cautious of when heading into your 4th of July festivities include:
If you are concerned about any of the below issues, please call University Veterinary Hospital in Berkeley, CA immediately.
The grill/BBQ – Not only can the heat and smoke from the grill be dangerous for our furry friends but lighter fluid and matches are highly hazardous as well. Matches contain chlorates that can damage blood cells and even cause kidney damage. Lighter fluid can cause skin and organ irritation and breathing problems if the fumes are inhaled.
Fireworks – Although fireworks are a trademark for the 4th of July, the loud noises and bright flashes can cause your pet to panic. Even if you haven’t noticed an extreme sensitivity to sound or flashing lights in the past, excluding them from the fireworks display could save them from an intense moment of panic. Please call University Veterinary Hospital to further discuss the below and other alternatives for your pet.
- Provide distractions like toys or treats for pets
- Mask the sounds of fireworks with background “white noise” – examples include music from the radio, turning the TV on, or using a white noise app
- Wrap your dog’s body with calming pressure using a ThunderShirt or Anxiety Wrap
- Use a calming pheromone such as ADAPTIL or Feliway
Alcohol and Human Food – You may be tempted to feed your pet some table scraps, but an inconsistent diet can cause your pet to have stomach issues. For example, foods like chocolate, onions, and garlic are toxic to them. If an alcoholic beverage is left within paw’s reach, your pet could become intoxicated, which can result in weakness, coma, respiratory failure, and more.
Heat – It can be hard work for your furry friend to maintain their body temperature and stay cool in the summer heat. The best way to avoid heat stroke is to make sure they stay hydrated and out of the sun.
Water – If you’re planning to spend the day at the lake or beach, it is important to know your dog’s swimming ability before bringing them along. If your four-legged friend does tag along, consider getting them a pet floatation device.
Sun – Although many pets’ fur coats help protect them from the sun, short-haired breeds can be susceptible to sunburn and skin damage. Remember, shade is their friend!
Bugs – Just as bugs can be pesky and harmful to humans, they can also be troublesome for pets. Mosquitoes carry diseases that can be very harmful to pets and heartworms also put your pet’s health at risk.
Plastic (toys, cups/plates, etc.) – 4th of July festivities are always filled with fun toys and plastic dinnerware, but they should be kept out of paw’s reach. Ingestion of plastic can cause gastrointestinal irritation or blockage. It is especially important to watch out for glow jewelry, which if broken open can be toxic to your pet (and humans).
Citronella Products – Although using Citronella products to fend off mosquitoes and other bugs may seem like the best choice; they can be harmful to our pets. Inhalation of the fumes can also cause pneumonia, and ingestion of citronella can cause nervous system damage. Instead, please use alternatives to keep the bugs away like lemon, lavender, and peppermint.
Identification – An ID tag on your pet’s collar is a must, the collar should fit snugly enough that your pet can’t slip it off. Check the hardware on the collar regularly to prevent wear and tear. Microchipping is also a great way to keep tabs on your furry friend’s whereabouts.
If you would like to discuss options to help with your pet’s potential anxiety or if you have any other questions, please call University Veterinary Hospital at 510-841-4412.