Plan a Pet-Friendly Fourth of July

June 28, 2012 | By Amy Lieberman | Category: Entertainment | 1 comment
Tags: care & safety, lifestyle & trends, entertainment

Zootoo's tips for enjoying the holiday fun with your pet.

With a long, sunny week in the forecast, Fourth of July celebrations are set to launch off with a bang--but as the fireworks implode and the hotdogs roast, dogs and cats will be best off excluded from the fun, veterinarians caution.

Elaborate, booming firework displays are exciting for people--especially for children anticipating the creative shows--but the loud noises often petrify dogs and cats alike, says Louise Murray, DVM, Director of Medicine for the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City.

Owners should undoubtedly leave their dogs at home when they go to take in the fireworks displays, despite temptation to do otherwise, Murray says. Dogs have been known to bolt at fear of the loud, abrasive sounds--and even their preempting rumble--and can easily become lost.

"A lot of dogs can become completely incapacitated by fireworks, becoming so terrified that they just suffer," Murray said. "If dogs are even outside in the early dusk hours and hear neighbors setting off fireworks or firecrackers, they could well become very afraid and just take off."

Murray recommends keeping all pets inside the house before dusk. If owners know that their pets very sensitive to fireworks and don't respond well to them--or if they don't handle thunderstorms, which have a similar effect, with a tail held high--they should think ahead.

Murray recommends keeping pets in a comfortable, confined space that can mask the outside noise. Turning on the radio, television and the air conditioning could also help provide some soothing white noise for nervous dogs and cats.

If those methods aren't sufficient to soothe the most panic-stricken dog and cat, owners can also consider asking their vets for a sedative, Murray recommends.

Dogs tend to exhibit signs of nervousness and tension through panting, shaking and other visible symptoms, so owners can generally read their dogs' fear without any problem. Yet cats can also become afraid of the loud noises, even though they exhibit their fear in less obvious ways.

"Cats can become just as terrified, but they don't have the same visible reaction that dogs do," Murray said. "They just sort of withdraw and are more stoic, but they can still become lost and run away and can get quite far."

Pets might also find July 4th weekend comes with some other unpleasant surprises--a bad case of an upset stomach, which can be brought on if owners indulge their animals in their own BBQ feast.

Murray says after all major holidays centered on sit-down meals and lots of food, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, she always sees a sharp increase in patients being treated for pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas.

"Make sure your dog doesn't have any treats, like pork chops or hot dogs. As much as you feel like having the dog or cat partake in the activities, they might be better off in a cool room by themselves," Murray said.

"There's no need for someone to get sick and to potentially run a good Fourth of July weekend."

Glow sticks, while certainly not a recommended chew toy, are not toxic, though they may look poisonous, according to the ASPCA's Poison Control Center, if consumed in small doses.

The liquid, glowing substance inside the neon necklaces, bracelets and sticks is called dibutyl phthalate and according to the Poison Control Center, animals who have ingested some of it exhibit signs like profuse drooling, hyperactivity, agitation and/or aggressive behavior. Those symptoms typically don't last for more than a few minutes, however, and are a result of the liquid's bad taste. Concerned owners can try to dilute the taste's residue by giving their pet some milk or pet food, the ASPCA recommends.

What do you have planned for the Fourth of July? Tell us below!

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3 years ago

Nothing one year Skitters was outside and just fine so we thought we could let her watch the fire works too then of course the unexpected happend we lit one and skitters ran up and grabbed we had to chase her around the yard to get it back before it went off we did get it from her the lucky thing was it turned out to be a dud so then every year after that she had to stay in.

Good Point | Reply ›

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