Many of us celebrate our nation’s Independence Day by barbecuing and relaxing with loved ones. When the sun goes down, it is a tradition to gather together to admire and enjoy the bright-colored flashes of fireworks that light up the night sky. The 4th of July may be a fun-filled holiday but for pets, the holiday can be potentially scary and hazardous.
Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor for the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained that pets are at an increased risk during several dangerous scenarios as we celebrate.
“Most of the time, injuries to pets during the holiday are related to them getting out of the house or yard because they are frightened or having anxiety about the fireworks,” Eckman said. “The injuries range from minor cuts and lacerations to more serious injuries, such as being hit by a vehicle.”
If your dog is frightened by fireworks, Eckman recommended minimizing the pet’s exposure to the noise. This can be done by finding a safe, quiet room in your home where your pet can stay relaxed. If your pet is attending your outdoor fireworks show, keep them leashed to prevent the dog from running away or jumping a fence in an attempt to find safety.
In addition, Eckman said a veterinarian-prescribed medication can help a pet remain calm when loud noises are present, especially if the animal is known to have anxiety. There are also several products on the market that are designed to wrap around pets, making them feel safe in a blanket-like material.
“Ultimately, people should seek their veterinarian’s advice on what may work best for their pet,” Eckman said.
Eckman also discourages owners from feeding table scraps to their pets. This can lead to an upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, a gastrointestinal disorder can develop and obstructions can occur—especially if Fido eats a bone or corn on the cob. In addition, alcohol should never be given to pets because it can be potentially fatal.
Finally, if you plan to bring your pet to the party, be cautious of the dangers of mosquitos, fleas, and ticks. Spraying your pet with insect repellant may seem like a reasonable solution to the bug problem, but some sprays are not safe for animals. Instead, use an effective flea and tick repellant prescribed by your veterinarian. Since heartworms are transmitted to pets through mosquitos, a common summer nuisance, be sure your pet is taking heartworm preventative before they enjoy the holiday outdoors.
As a pet owner, it is important to consider all of the dangerous situations your pet may experience during the holiday. If you are concerned about the dangers your pet may face and want to fully protect them, leave your pet at home.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future topics may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.