Pet Talk: Independence Day Safety

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With the July 4th holiday come celebrations and outdoor activities that can be fun but sometimes harmful for pets. Here are some tips to keep the day an enjoyable and safe holiday for the whole family.

With the July 4th holiday come celebrations and outdoor activities that can be fun but sometimes harmful for pets. Here are some tips to keep the day an enjoyable and safe holiday for the whole family.

“Fireworks can frighten dogs and cause them to escape and become injured,” says Dr. James Barr, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Make sure your pet is supervised during the day and nighttime hours as well.” The best idea is to keep dogs, particularly those with noise phobias, away from the commotion if at all possible.

Another factor that can cause anxiety and stress in dogs is being around large crowds. If its known ahead of time that the dogs will not do well with large groups, it is better to leave them at home or board them for the day.  If they are brought to the festivities, it is recommended to have a safe, calm area where the dogs can relax.

“Being outdoors in the hot humid environment may cause those pets not used to the heat to have problems with heat,” says Barr. “Allow the pets to be in a shaded area and have plenty of fresh water available at all times.”

Additionally, it is important to exercise close supervision over the dogs throughout the day so they aren’t tempted to indulge in human food. July 4th celebrations bring with them many treats that might be toxic to animals, and with the large crowds of people pets can easily access food.

“Accidental ingestion of rich foods and bones are common on July 4th,” says Barr. “Be careful about what your pets have access to and make sure to keep a close eye on them to avoid sickness.”

If the family is going to be in a place where unvaccinated dogs might be, such as soccer fields, baseball fields, or parks, make sure the dogs are up-to-date on their vaccinations. It isn’t smart to take an unvaccinated puppy, or a dog that hasn’t completed the whole vaccine series, to a place with potential transmittable diseases or threats.

 – 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/pettalk.