As summertime and July Fourth roll around, you may be planning tons of fun activities with your four-legged pal. Unfortunately, some summer events can be hazardous for your pet’s health, so follow these 10 ways for a fun-filled, yet safe, summer.
#1: Anticipate your pet’s aversion to the July Fourth fireworks
Many pets experience some level of anxiety with loud noises, and July Fourth is the biggest threat of all. Anti-anxiety medications, supplements, and pheromones all take time to build up in your pet’s system to achieve the maximum calming effect, so plan well in advance, if you know your furry pal suffers from noise aversion. Some aids that may help your pet cope with booming fireworks include:
- Calming pheromones and supplements
- Soothing music
- A Thundershirt
- Anti-anxiety medications
#2: Create a safe zone for your pet during fireworks shows or cookouts
Keep your pet safe from fireworks and rowdy guests in a soundproof bunker. Choose a small, quiet room, and place a cozy bed, treats, toys, and food puzzles for your pet to enjoy. Make the area extra appealing to noise-sensitive pets by diffusing calming pheromones, and playing soothing music. If possible, draw the blinds to help block out firework-related sights and sounds.
#3: Avoid sharing barbecued foods with your pet
Cookouts offer the best summertime foods—ribs, barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, fruit salad, and creamy side dishes. Unfortunately, many barbecue favorites are hazardous for pets. Rib and chicken bones and corn cobs can cause intestinal blockages that require surgical removal, while high-fat side dishes and hot dogs can lead to potentially fatal pancreatitis. And, don’t forget the s’mores around the campfire after the fireworks show, because these sweet treats can pack a major punch with their high sugar levels and melted chocolate. Avoid sharing any July Fourth barbecue favorites, and offer your pet traditional treats.
#4: Provide plenty of fresh, clean water for your pet
A thirsty pet will drink whatever water they can find. Provide plenty of cool, fresh, clean water, to prevent your furry pal from lapping up chlorinated pool water or saltwater. Over-indulging in chemically treated water, or water with a high salt content, can lead to toxicity issues.
#5: Practice boating safety with your pet
Many dogs enjoy spending time on the lake with their owners, especially speedboat rides that create a delightful breeze. Keep in mind that not all dogs know how to doggy paddle, so outfit your pooch in a well-fitting life jacket that will keep their head above water, should they fall overboard. Ensure that the motor is turned off when your family, including your pup, enters the water, and all fishing lines are reeled in, to avoid a fishhook injury. Monitor your dog closely to ensure they are comfortable in the water, and be prepared to help them paddle back to the boat if they begin to struggle.
#6: Check the temperature and humidity before heading outdoors
Plan your day’s activities by first checking the forecast, and include your pet only if the temperature and humidity levels are manageable. Avoid the heat of the day by heading out early in the morning or late in the evening. High humidity can also pose a threat to your pet, so checking this weather factor is important, before you and your pooch go outside for a game of fetch.
#7: Recognize heatstroke signs
Heatstroke can occur in pets in mild temperatures as low as 70 degrees, and since summer days are likely much hotter, monitor your furry pal closely for heatstroke signs, and take immediate action to cool them down at the first hint of overheating. Heatstroke signs in your pet may include:
- Excessive panting
- Heavy drooling
- Staggering and incoordination
- Vomiting and diarrhea that may be blood-tinged
Prompt cooling action can save your pet’s life, so learn to quickly recognize potential heatstroke.
#8: Create cool treats for your pet to help beat the heat
When the temperatures skyrocket, you must ensure your pet drinks enough to stay hydrated. In addition to enticing your pet to drink as much as possible with a running fountain, try creating chilly, frozen treats. For example, freeze a Kong you have stuffed with a tasty mixture of your pet’s favorite canned food, dry kibble, and soft treats, like peanut butter or yogurt, for a delicious snack that will help your pet beat the heat.
#9: Protect your pet from biting, stinging, blood-sucking pests
In addition to wasps, hornets, bees, fire ants, and spiders, many other pests are out and about, searching for their next meal. While a biting or stinging insect can cause an allergic reaction in your pet, fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can create equally severe conditions. Many heartworm, flea, and tick preventives also repel biting flies and other pesky insects, so keeping your pet safe from insect-borne irritants and illnesses is not difficult.
#10: Microchip your pet
July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters, since many pets bolt during July Fourth fireworks displays. If your pet slips out your door, digs under the fence, or leaps through a window screen in panic, help ensure a happy reunion with permanent identification. If your pet is not microchipped, schedule an appointment at Johnson County Animal Clinic for a quick, simple microchip implant. If your pet is microchipped, ensure the microchip registration company has your current contact information.
Does your pet quiver with anxiety during a loud action movie, or run in terror from the vacuum? Your furry pal likely suffers from noise aversion, and this condition’s biggest enemy—fireworks displays—is quickly approaching. Soothe your pet’s fears on July Fourth by scheduling a behavioral consultation with our Johnson County Animal Clinic team.