The Fourth of July is a time for outdoor activities and fun. Picnics, cookouts, and of course fireworks are mainstays of America’s birthday. There’s just something about lounging in parks, fairs, or the backyard and waiting for that explosive pyrotechnics show when the sun goes down.
Like other holidays, many pet owners look forward to celebrating this day with their furry companions. Taking your dog, cat, or other pet friend to the BBQ or local Fourth of July celebration seems like a blast. However, while Independence Day celebrations can be enjoyable for animals, they can also be potentially harmful and even deadly.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can prepare for and protect your pooch or other pet pal from Fourth of July hazards. Follow these simple tips and precautions to make ensure that your celebration is a safe success.
Pets and Fireworks Don’t Mix
While there is an undeniable magic about fireworks, they are one experience you won’t want to share with your pet. First of all, loud and sudden noises scare most animals. Secondly, most people gather outdoors at parties, parades, or other gatherings, meaning you and your pet will be in an unfamiliar location, which will already have them on edge.
These factors can cause dogs and other critters to become disoriented and frightened, leading them to run away out of fear. Fireworks are one of the many factors that cause the Fourth of July to be the day with the highest number of runaway pets.
Similarly, handheld or ground fireworks like Roman candles, sparklers, and firecrackers are a major danger for pets. Not only can they scare animals, but they also present a greater danger for burns. Additionally, many fireworks contain toxic materials that can injure pets if eaten.
The solution? Leave your pets at home. Better yet, keep them in a quiet, escape-proof room. This will ensure that they do not panic and flee your home. It’s also a good idea to make sure your pet’s identification tags or microchips are up-to-date.
Keep the Great Outdoors Great
While the Fourth of July calls for outdoor summer fun, it also leads us to do a number of things to protect ourselves from nature. Bug spray, sunblock, and citronella candles all shield us from the annoyances of the open air.
Just don’t try to do the same thing with your dog. The chemicals used in citronella candles and tiki torches are dangerous to animals. Similarly, sunscreen and insect repellant can cause digestive or even neurological problems.
While the sun and heat can indeed be dangerous for animals, the solutions for pets and people are not the same. Stay natural in nature and just make sure your furry friend gets plenty of water and shade.
Enjoy the Cookout, but Ditch the Doggy Bag
While burgers, potato salad, and other cookout foods are a Fourth of July staple, they can spell disaster for pets. Many ingredients used in Fourth of July staples, like onions, are toxic to dogs. Similarly, grills, lighters, and open flames can also pose a threat to animals.
Additionally, changing your pet’s diet can cause them gastric distress - which isn’t fun for them or for you.
A final note in this category - beer is a no-no for animals. This includes everything from macro-brewery lagers to your local craft IPAs.
All these precautions don’t mean that you can’t have a great time with your pet. The Fourth of July is perfect for bonding with your critter.
Go to a local celebration early, and get some exercise by walking your pet on a leash - it will help you burn those calories from the BBQ! If you want absolutely must see some fireworks but also want to be with your furry friend, try watching them on TV. You’ll get the fireworks show, time with your pet, and you’ll beat the crowds.
However you choose to celebrate, just remember that no one party or event is more important than the lifetime of milestones you’ll be sharing with your critter.