Tips for a Happy + Healthy 4th of July
As a pet parent of an anxious Jack Russell Terrier, the Fourth of July, requires a great deal of preparation for us all, Pancho included, to enjoy the celebrations. While many public fireworks are canceled this year, there will undoubtedly be many people lighting their own displays. The risk of a startled pet running off in fear is great and I have seen both loose pets and frantic owners searching for one another every year. This week I will be sure that Pancho has a legible tag and secure collar in case of him running off in fear. All pet parents should do the same. Microchipping is an important tool to reunite lost pets and their parents. Your veterinarian should be able to scan your pet to be sure the chip is active. In addition to pets running off, there is a tendency to include our pets in our family celebrations. As a result, we see a lot of problems with heat or dietary indiscretion.
Our tips for a happy and healthy 4th of July:
- Anticipate fireworks starting earlier than dusk and be sure your pet is in a secure environment (fenced in, always leashed, or indoors).
- Be sure your pet is microchipped and has identification information. Ideally have more than one phone number in case you are away from home.
- Take a recent photo of your pet (Pancho’s is seen here) and share with family members in case you need to spread out to search for a lost pet.
- Consider leaving your pet home in a safe crate or room for parties or fireworks. My dog seeks out a closet that we leave open. Many times, an animal is more comfortable alone at home than in a strange location with many unfamiliar people.
- Keep pets inside when fireworks are being set off, even if in your own yard. Pets easily startle and will bolt instinctively.
- Avoid barbecue foods as the stress of the festivities and fatty foods can trigger major gastrointestinal problems. Other foods like corn cobs, if swallowed, can cause life-threatening obstructions.
- Pets have a harder time handling heat and sun. Be sure to provide shade and air conditioning to avoid heatstroke.
- Some pets seem to become more and more stressed as they get older. If your pet falls in this category it is important to talk with your veterinarian as there are some medications or supplements that can help minimize stress around the holiday.
By understanding the common risks the holiday presents your pet and planning accordingly, the Fourth of July should be a summer highlight. In observance of Independence Day, we will be closed on Saturday, July 4th. We hope you and your pets have a happy and safe holiday.
Dr. George Melillo
Co-Founder + Chief Veterinary Officer