Our country has changed substantially since the Second Continental Congress of the United States declared its independence from Britain’s monarch on July 4, 1776. Our pet parent population in America has become a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, and our pet population is equally as diverse. The 4th of July is an early summer celebration of all things food, entertainment, and fireworks related. It’s a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to revel in summer’s warmth, longer days and the fact that for most, school is out.
However, we should be mindful of our furry friends who may love the extra attention additional guests bring, but may not be so fond of the loud noises, flashes and smell of burning pyrotechnics the celebration embraces. Pets can hear much better than we can – up to four times further away than our hearing allows. They can also hear higher frequency sounds and are able to determine with greater accuracy the types of sounds they are hearing. When large crowds gather and fireworks explode, pets are often confused, startled, scared or agitated, and that can result in a panicked and potentially missing pet.
The pet safety tips below are geared toward our 4th of July Independence celebration but can be used for other celebrations as well such as New Years, Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays or other potentially large and noisy celebrations where bigger than normal crowds gather and things may get confusing for pets. It’s fun to celebrate with our pets, but sometimes it’s best to leave them in a familiar, secure and quiet place as we celebrate our country’s independence and other major holidays.
Indoor Pets Are Safe Pets
Even if your pet is used to being outdoors, it is a good idea to bring them inside for the 4th of July or any Holiday that may feature loud noises. Pets, more times than not, will try to hide from or escape loud, unexpected noises. That includes bolting through or jumping over fences. It is much better to already have them inside your home in their safe room or crate.
Sunscreen and Insect Repellant
If you are taking your pet outside prior to the fireworks display, you may want to consider sunscreen and or insect repellant so the sun’s strong summer rays or biting bugs don’t interfere with your holiday plans. There is now specialized sunscreen and insect repellent for pets that don’t include chemicals which are potentially harmful to pets and can readily be found in human sunscreen and repellent. These pet formulations can be found at pet stores both online and at physical brick and mortar locations. It’s important to use only pet approved protection and not the same protections we pet parents use.
Matches, Lighter Fluid, and Citronella
The ASPCA lists matches, lighter fluid, citronella oils, coils, and other citronella-based repellents as irritating toxins to pets. In the case of some matches which contain chlorates, pets can suffer with their breathing, incur damage to their blood cells or even develop kidney disease if ingested. Lighter fluid exposure can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems if inhaled or gastronomical issues if consumed. Citronella-based products can cause severe respiratory illnesses if inhaled or can harm your pet’s nervous system if ingested.
Table Scraps or Picnic Food
What is the 4th of July without a cookout, picnic or family smorgasbord? A big part of celebrating our nation’s independence is eating fun summer food. However, think twice about feeding that same food to your pets. The richness of our food can upset their stomachs and cause a host of issues. And food items such as chocolate, onions, raisins and grapes, avocados, coffee, yeast dough, and beer are downright poisonous to your pet. The best solution is for your pet to steer clear of the food areas.
Just say NO
Alcohol is very poisonous to pets. Even though it might look funny for a pet to sip some beer or another type of alcoholic beverage, Just Say NO to any temptation. According to Pet MD, pets can become dangerously intoxicated, slip into a coma or even die from respiratory failure in extreme cases. It’s just best to keep pets as far away as possible from where alcohol is being consumed.
Glow Sticks and Jewelry
Glow sticks and glow jewelry can look really cool at night. And many pets wear glow jewelry so they can be seen easier and for fun. Just be aware that pets can end up chewing on the glow jewelry and ingest small plastic pieces that could upset their stomach or create a blockage. Even though the glow liquid isn’t highly toxic, it can still cause an upset stomach or loose stools.
Fireworks and Pets
Firework shows are a BLAST for pet parents to attend. But as tempting as it may be to bring your pet along for the festivities, a better idea is to simply leave them at home in their safe room or crate. We see brilliant flashes and hear body shaking booms and patriotic music, but pets hear terrible, fearfully loud bangs, whirls, screeches, and otherwise undesirable noises and commotion coming from every direction. They may cower, shake or run as far away from the noise as possible. It would certainly ruin the holiday if a pet ended up getting lost among thousands of participants. And leaving them in the car is out of the question in any season, but especially during the summer months as it is just too hot. And forget about shooting your own fireworks off around pets. Fireworks can physically injure a pet’s face, paws, burn its fur or cause other serious injuries if pets get too curious or if a firework shoots off in an unplanned direction. In addition, some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate and other heavy metals according to Pet MD.
Here at Richell, we hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July as we all relax and enjoy our country’s 243rd Independence Day celebration. Just consider that the best place for our furry friends during this year’s festivities is at home in their “safe” room, area or crate. Then everyone is guaranteed to have a good time.
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