Fireworks, picnics and other Fourth of July traditions can be great fun for people; but all of the festivities can be frightening and even dangerous for animals. Noisy fireworks and other celebrations can startle animals and cause them to run away; holiday foods can be unhealthy; summer heat and travel can be dangerous; and potentially dangerous debris can end up lying on the ground where pets can eat or play with it.
Whether or not you’re planning your own celebration, it’s important to keep your pets safe both during and after the holiday. In this blog we cover the precautions you can take to keep your pets safe and secure during Fourth of July festivities.
Independence Day Dangers
(1) Alcoholic Beverages
Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, your pet could become very intoxicated, weak, or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
TIP – To keep your pets safe, drink from a covered glass/cup and keep alcohol stored away until ready for use.
(2) Sunscreen and Insect Repellent
Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent products to your pet. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can also lead to neurological problems.
TIP – Purchase sunscreen or insect repellent that is specifically made for pets. Usage of these products can act as another layer of protection against UV rays as well as mosquitos and ticks.
(3) Water Fun
If you’re planning a day at the beach or lake, keep a very watchful eye on your dog. Frolicking along the shoreline or wading into the shallows could be hazardous, as not all breeds are natural swimmers. Additionally, when pups ingest salt water it can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration, and in more serious cases, seizures, damage to the kidneys, or even death. The same can be true if you allow your pup to swim in a body of water that is experiencing a blue-green algae bloom, which can kill a dog within a matter of hours.
TIP – It’s recommended that your dog has a personal flotation device, strong swimmer or not. We also advise not letting your dog drink saltwater and instead pack bottled water for them so they can stay hydrated.
(4) Kids Toys and Accessories
The summer is full of cool recreational toys that make the warmer days more fun. And of course, your four-legged friends like to play and get in on the action too. However, plastic toys that aren’t made for pets can get damaged and ingested, causing digestive troubles.
While at the store picking up items for your celebration you may also come across festive light up necklaces, headbands, glasses, and other accessories. While it may seem tempting to dress your pet up to get them in the spirit, keep in mind these items are made for people.
Dressing your pet up might look cute, but your pet could chew and swallow bits and pieces of items they may be wearing, which could lead to excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation if ingested. In more serious cases, an intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing larger or multiple pieces of these items.
TIP – If you want your pet to be dressed just as festive as you are, consider purchasing a seasonal collar or bandana from your local pet store.
(5) Holiday Foods
No matter how tempting it is to share, keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements.
TIP – Avoid feeding table food or scraps. To keep your pets cool, instead try out our frozen watermelon treat recipe.
Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals. Loud, crowded fireworks displays are also no fun for pets. In the presence of such chaos pups can become frightened or disoriented by the sound, and may try to escape.
TIP – Keep pets inside your home, in a crate or in an enclosed room to keep them away from the commotion and to guarantee their safety.
Consider the Great Indoors
The problem with your pet being outside during the Fourth of July, aside from the dangers or hazards listed above, is that the loud chaos surrounding our favorite patriotic celebration can lead to nervous pets escaping to find shelter. The Fourth of July holiday is notorious for being the top time of year for lost and runaway pets.
Because of this, keeping your dog inside at all times (minus potty breaks, of course) is the safest option – not just at night when the fireworks are the loudest. Even if they’re inside and microchipped, escapes still happen. Be sure your pup wears a secure collar with an ID tag as well. As the saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Your Pets are our Priority!
At the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), our number one priority is to promote the health and wellbeing of your pets. That is why we created the NASC Audit Program and the Quality Seal, which helps you identify animal health and nutritional supplements that come from responsible suppliers committed to producing the highest quality, most consistent products available. Visit our website to learn more and to see a list of NASC members that have earned the Quality Seal.