The Fourth of July is a time for celebration that can be enjoyed by the entire family — including your pets. Whether you’re attending a fireworks show or watching them from your backyard while you grill out, it’s important for you to observe certain precautionary steps to ensure your furry friends are well-protected this Independence Day.
Keep them at home and indoors
The biggest key to ensuring your pets’ safety on July Fourth is to keep them out of the proverbial — and literal — line of fire. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation suggests keeping your pets indoors during fireworks. Animals tend to be frightened by loud noises, which can increase the possibility that your pet might try to run away out of fear. If you plan on traveling to a fireworks display, do not bring your pets with you under any circumstances.
To keep your pets feeling calm during a fireworks show, the AVMF suggests crating them or enclosing them in a room that is safe and escape-proof. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests a room without windows as an ideal area for sheltering your pets, and further recommends turning on soft music or the television to help keep them calm.
It should go without saying that you do not want to use fireworks around your pets — not only will they be frightened by the loud noises, but they could potentially be burned or otherwise severely injured. The same logic should apply to barbecuing, according to the ASPCA: if you are grilling out on the Fourth of July or any other summer afternoon, keep your pets securely inside to prevent potential harm.
Even with the proper precautions, your pets could still possibly get out during a busy Fourth of July gathering. To better ensure your pets’ safe return in the event of their flight, the AVMA recommends being prepared for the worst. This includes having a current photo of your pet handy to help identify them, making sure all of their tags are current and considering the possibility of microchipping to find them if they should get away.
If your pets have demonstrated higher anxiety levels on the Fourth of July, AVMA recommends behavioral therapy to help improve their response. The ASPCA suggests purchasing an anxiety vest ahead of the holiday, and also recommends considering anti-anxiety medication with the caveat that you test it out ahead of time to ensure your pets have a proper response to treatment.
Clean up after the fact
When the smoke has cleared and the booming has stopped, you might think that the danger has dissipated. However, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center sees a higher volume of calls after Independence Day as a result of pets having ingested spent fireworks or other holiday-related debris. To prevent this from happening, case your yard before letting your pet outside and clear away anything that might be potentially harmful. This can, as the ASPCA notes, also include glow jewelry and citronella candles.
The Fourth of July is a time of great revelry, but it should also be a time of caution, particularly if your festivities include fireworks. While you consider your safety, make sure that you are doing all that you can to keep your pets safe and sound.
This article is presented by Colonial Buick GMC in Watertown, Massachusetts.