We humans love the fun and festivities of a 4th of July weekend. But what we enjoy as people may prove to be a big stressor for our pets.
Here are some tips to keep your pets cool, comfortable and calm this 4th of July:
1. Calm – 4th of July is one of the most common days for pets to run away. For our furry friends with acute hearing, and no knowledge of pyrotechnics, the loud booms of fireworks can be a scary proposition. So on the 4th of July be sure to keep pets in an interior room of the house, like a large bathroom or basement. This will help muffle the noise of fireworks and keep them in a confined space where they can not burst out of a window in a panic, and yes that really does happen. Be sure your pet’s tags are up to date as well so that if they get lost on the 4th of July, or any time, they can make their way home. If you have an especially anxious pet you might consider something like a Thundershirt, which some studies have proven, has a relaxing effect on dogs and cats.
2. Cool – We love a good BBQ and lots of outdoor fun with our pets on the 4th of July but in the midst of our festivities we might forget that dogs and cats don’t disperse heat like we do. Another concern are burns to the pads of the feet from hot blacktop. If you are planning to bring your dog or cat to your 4th of July BBQ be sure to monitor them for signs of overheating like:
- Dogs Overheating: Signs and Prevention – Dogs that are panting heavily, appear confused, have dry mouths and are not urinating as normal are dehydrated and dehydration leads to rapid overheating. Allow your dog to remain in shaded areas, swim or just submerge in water to pull heat from the body and if that’s not available wet the ears and head often to help cool them down. Remember to always have plenty of fresh, clean water for your dog to drink.
- Cats Overheating: Signs and Prevention – Rapid panting, weakness, anxiety or changes in gum color indicate your cat is suffering from overheating. Cats lick their fur to help cool down but this is, as you might imagine, not the most effective cooling method. You can wipe cats with a damp cloth, especially the ears, periodically to offer more effective cooling. Offer constant shade in a rolling and well ventilated cat stroller, as well as plenty of ice water to drink.
3. Comfortable – Let’s face it, none of us would like to walk around barefoot in a fur coat on the 4th of July for an indefinite amount of time. It’s, at the very least, uncomfortable and at worst can damage our pets paws. Be aware of the surface temperatures and even invest in some booties for your pet if you like walking them during the hot Summer months.
There are other concerns in parks such as interaction with other dogs and the small nasties like fleas and ticks. If you live in an area with fleas and ticks, be sure your pet has on a flea and tick prevention to avoid picking up bugs from parks, beaches and woods. If you’ll be in a very public place a leash is an excellent idea to protect your dog or cat from unfriendly attendees. Also make provisions for mealtime for your pets and pack extra snacks, since all the activity will make them especially hungry.
A hot dog might seem like a nice treat but might actually make your pet quite sick. A lightly grilled lean burger (leave the bun and fixings off). should do well for many pets or some kibble or canned meals from home in disposable containers if changing their diet causes issues.
I’m sure with these tips the 4th of July will be an enjoyable holiday for all your family members. Be safe this year and please let me know in the comments below if you have some other 4th of July Pet Safety Tips I might have left out!