With the 4th of July falling early in the week on a Tuesday this year, it’s a good bet that the weekend will be an extension of the celebrations. Even though fireworks are illegal in Knox and Blount counties, it’s not uncommon to see hear and see fireworks around neighborhoods well before the official festivities on the 4th. The long holiday weekend may be all flash and fun for us humans, but it’s terrifying and potentially dangerous for many of our pets.
The 4th of July leads to a big spike in missing pets, who panic and escape during the loud noises and flashes. It’s also a cause for many vet visits after pets accidentally ingest or are burned by curiously trying to sniff or paw at lit fireworks. Here are the 3 major risks to our pets this holiday, followed by 7 tips on how to keep your pets safe and sound:
Noise & Flashing Lights
The loud noises and bright lights can create anxiety in even typically calm pets. Some tremble or hide, while others run away—which isn’t the type of independence we want to celebrate. There’s a reason animal shelters all around the country experience a marked increase in lost pets during this holiday.
If your pet’s tags aren’t up to date or if she isn’t microchipped, now is a good time to make sure she has those tracking devices. You’ll also want to make sure all of your pet’s vaccinations, including rabies, are up to date should he get lost, taken to a shelter, or picked up by animal control.
Fireworks contain hazardous chemicals such as heavy metals, sulfur, potassium nitrate, and coloring agents which can be poisonous if ingested by pets, either before or after the fireworks are lit. Many fireworks also contain dense cardboard, which can result in intestinal blockages.
Some dogs have been known to think a tossed firecracker is an invitation to play fetch, or that even sparklers are something to paw at and nip. Lit fireworks can cause burns to the face, lips, inside of the mouth, nose, eyelids/eyes or paws.
So, given the emotional and potentially physical hazards of 4th of July for our pets, what’s the best way to keep them safe?
Keep your pets inside
As tempting as it may be to have your dog, especially, join you outside for the festivities, it’s just not worth the risk. Even if your dog is trained to stay by your side, the unexpected loud booms and flashes in the sky might make him bolt. Add the chaos of a crowd to the mix, and your pet’s anxiety level is likely to skyrocket.
- Keep your pets indoors, preferably in a secure room that’s a comfort zone for your pet.
- Be sure it’s not near a front or back door that may be left opened unintentionally when someone comes and goes, which would create an escape route.
- Some cats and dogs like to hide under a bed, while others feel safe in a crate with a soft blanket and chew toy. You could try draping a blanket over the top of the crate to muffle loud sounds and dim the flashes of light.
Provide distractions & plan ahead
- Give your pet his favorite toy or even a new chew toy to keep him distracted.
- Turn on the radio or TV to help drown out some of the outside noise. Try finding some soothing music, or something on tv that doesn’t involve loud noises like crashes or gunshots.
- Know your pet and prepare ahead of time. If you already know your pet is prone to separation anxiety, talk to your vet about medications that may help alleviate their stress until the holiday is over.
- If you plan to be away from home during the holiday weekend, make sure your pet’s caretakers know what steps to take to ensure that your furry friend will be safe in your absence.
The veterinarians and staff at PetWellClinic® would be happy to talk with you about steps that might help you and your pets enjoy a safe and sane holiday, including any necessary vaccination updates and medications that alleviate anxiety caused by fireworks.
By operating convenient hours for non-surgical care, PetWellClinic® is able to offer substantially discounted prices for preventative products, vaccinations, wellness exams, and treatment of minor conditions. Think of us as a “minute clinic” for your pet—no appointment necessary, with quick in and out service. You can save even more time by pre-registering and pre-paying online for our walk-in clinics.
PetWellClinic® has three locations: 10549 Kingston Pike, Knoxville; 7329 Kingston Pike, Knoxville; and 228 S. Calderwood Street, Alcoa, TN 37701. Learn more about how PetWellClinic® can exceed your expectations for affordable, top quality pet care by visiting our website at www.petwellclinic.com.