Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips for Your Dogs and Cats

Independence Day is a fun summer holiday filled with barbecuing, backyard games and fireworks. Just be sure that while you’re enjoying the day with family and friends you’re also keeping your pet’s safety in mind. Following these guidelines will help keep your furry friend out of harm’s way.

Lost Pets

More pets go missing around the 4th of July than any other time of year. Make sure that your pet is wearing a collar and the identification tag is current and readable. Proper identification tags will help local neighbors contact you should they find your pet.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that your pet has a microchip that’s up-to-date with your current contact information. Most animal shelters, veterinarians and animal control centers are equipped with scanners that can read the information contained on the microchip.

Food Safety

Many pets will be drawn to the grill or smoker. It smells of delicious food, so who could blame them? To keep them safe from burns and to avoid fire hazards, keep pets away from matches, lighters and BBQs. They can easily get burned if they are too close to flames, or they could knock over lit grills.

Dispose of all meat trays, bags, tin foil or other food containers to help prevent your pet from ingesting plastic or Styrofoam. Keep fat drippings collected from the grill away from your dog. Pet’s stomachs can become severely upset or they can even get pancreatitis from eating high-fat meat drippings. In fact, people food in general can cause stomach upset. Some common picnic foods, such as grapes, are toxic to dogs. For these reasons, it’s best to avoid giving people food to your pets.

Fireworks

Resist the urge to take pets to 4th of July festivities. It’s best to keep them in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area of your home. If the commotion of fireworks bothers your dog or cat, create your own noise and block outside sights and sounds by lowering blinds, turning on the TV or playing soothing music. For pets with known anxiety during fireworks, check in with your veterinarian before the 4th. He or she can recommend products or medications to help.

If you’re setting off fireworks in your yard, keep pets away from them—especially ones that must be lit on the ground. Pets may try to sniff or chase fireworks, resulting in injury.

Be Prepared

Have a plan in place so you know what to do if your pet escapes or becomes lost. You should familiarize yourself with local animal care facilities, shelters, local veterinary hospitals and local boarding kennels and put their contact information somewhere handy. If your dog or cat does run away, immediately post flyers that include a photo of your pet around the neighborhood, especially at schools, parks and dog parks.

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