It’s that time of year again for fireworks, backyard barbecues and Americana clothing emblazoned with red, white and blue. Yes, the 4th of July holiday looms near, as does the possibility your pet will suffer stress, trauma or illness associated with the festivities.
How can your pet catch a break and stay healthy? You, the responsible caretaker, must educate yourself on the holiday’s hazards and proactively prepare to protect your pet in every conceivable environment.
Here are my top five July 4th holiday pet safety tips:
1. Firework Safety
Restrict your pet’s access to the immediate or adjacent area where fireworks are being set off. Keep your pet indoors in a quiet, cool, isolated part of your home. Put on your pet’s favorite television program (Animal Planet, anyone?) or play music to mask firework sounds.
If needed, confine your pet to a comfortable crate to prevent them from escaping through open doors, lunging at windows or eating inappropriate materials, which can happen if your pet becomes stressed or anxious.
2. Fatigue Your Pet for Better Behavior
Participate in appropriate exercise with your pet in the hours leading up to a 4th of July event. An adequately fatigued pet has a greater physiologic need to seek rest during your celebration, and is less likely to exhibit anxious behaviors.
3. Promote a Calm Energetic State Through Natural Products or Medications
Give your pet a dose of a safe, over-the-counter, stress-relieving product one to two hours before a potentially distressing event. If that doesn’t provide sufficient calming, ask your veterinarian to prescribe an appropriate sedative or anxiety-relieving medication.
4. Be Cautious with Festive Pet Adornments
Like Halloween, 4th of July holiday costumes are not necessarily accepted by all pets. Never force your pet to wear a costume if they resist your attempts at playing dress-up.
Even if your pet readily accepts decoration, don’t leave them unobserved, as fabrics can uncomfortably constrict tissue, get caught in body parts (i.e. the mouth or legs), or be ingested if your pet tries to remove the costume using its mouth.
5. Avoid Dietary Indiscretion
Summertime gatherings are a great time to prepare festive foods for friends and family. Letting your pet to partake in holiday appetizers, main courses or desserts can alter your pet’s normal feeding patterns and cause digestive imbalances. Additionally, keep all trash completely inaccessible from your pet’s snooping snout. There is potential for your dog to contract a life-threatening illness should your pet engage in some holiday dietary indiscretion.
Have a safe, healthy and fun 4th of July. Check out this remarkable Live Leak video for extra motivation to exclude your pet from any celebration involving fireworks.
Copyright of this article (2011) is owned by Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr. Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr. Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.