Before you throw your first burger on the grill or toss another shrimp on the barbie this holiday weekend, be sure to take a few minutes to provide an extra measure of safety and comfort for your furry family members! The Fourth of July is a wonderful occasion to celebrate our nation's independence, but it's not without risk to your dog or cat.
Here are some safety tips to enjoy our Nation’s Greatest Holiday:
ID your pet: For starters, make sure your pet has some form of identification at all times. Ideally, this is a combination of collar and ID tag, microchip. Each year there's an increase in the number of lost pets in the days following the Fourth of July; make sure your pet isn't one of them.
Pets and “people food” don't mix: You might think it's entertaining to give Fido a hot dog but many foods that are just fine on your dinner plate are not just poisonous, but deadly for your pet. Keep dogs and cats on their usual diets, and make sure you know the foods, plants and other ingredients that are toxic to their health. If you think your pet ate any of these items, call your veterinarian immediately or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
Fireworks and pets don't mix, either: Most pets are terrified of fireworks: the loud noise, crowds and bursts of bright light all boost your pet's anxiety quotient. Keep dogs and cats away from fireworks and create a safe haven for them at home. And be sure all windows are secured so that your pet can't escape if it gets startled.
Cool it: The Fourth of July holiday occurs during one of the hottest summer periods. Animals are susceptible to heat stroke, just like people – a condition that's particularly lethal for dogs. Be sure your pet has plenty of shade and cool water, and limit its exercise. Learn the warning signs of heat stroke, such as excessive panting or drooling, muscle tremors and limited urine output, and contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary facility immediately if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke.
If you follow these basic, common sense tips you and your pet should have a fun - and safe - Fourth of July.