Loud fireworks, crowded gatherings, and unfamiliar noises can be stressful for your pet and potentially endanger them. Our Rustebakke Veterinary Service team wants you to enjoy your patriotic celebration, and we offer tips to keep your four-legged friend safe and calm this July Fourth.

Create a pet safety zone

Pets appreciate a quiet place where they can retreat if they get stressed or overwhelmed. This is especially important if you are hosting a patriotic party. To create a pet safety zone, follow these tips:

  • Designate a room in a quiet area as your pet’s safety zone and ensure guests don’t have access to it.
  • If your pet is prone to stress, consider confining them to the room during the festivities.
  • Ensure your pet has the necessary resources, such as water, treats, and toys, to keep them occupied while relaxing in their safety zone.
  • Play music or white noise in your pet’s sanctuary to mask scary noises.

Properly identify your pet

During the commotion surrounding July Fourth, your pet can easily go missing, and July fifth is one of the busiest days for pet shelters. To increase your pet’s chances of being returned to you if they go missing, follow these tips:

  • Microchipping your pet — The best way to provide permanent identification that can’t be lost or stolen is to have your pet microchipped. We can easily perform this simple procedure at your pet’s next wellness examination. Once your pet is microchipped, keep your contact information up to date in the microchip registry so you can quickly be contacted if your pet is found.
  • Collaring your pet — Your pet should also always wear a well-fitted collar and tags with your current contact information.
  • Photographing your pet — Take a picture of your pet so you have a current photo to post in the neighborhood if your four-legged friend goes missing.

Refrain from feeding your pet party food

Delectable food is one of the best things about July Fourth, but most foods served at these celebrations are high in fat, which can trigger gastrointestinal (GI) upset or pancreatitis, which is a serious condition in pets. In addition, many common foods people eat, such as chocolate, xylitol-containing baked goods, onions, and garlic, are toxic to pets. To protect your pet from dangerous July Fourth foods, follow these tips:

  • Feed your pet before the festivities so they aren’t ravenous.
  • Inform your guests that people food is off-limits to your pet.
  • To prevent dumpster diving, keep all garbage in sealed containers and remove the bag when it’s full.
  • Pick up discarded plates and cups as quickly as possible.
  • Have pet-friendly treats available so your pet doesn’t feel left out of the feast.

Monitor your pet for heatstroke

Pets are at an increased risk for heatstroke when the temperatures heat up. Pets’ bodies don’t regulate their temperature the same as people’s bodies do. Pets pant, an inefficient cool-down method, especially on hot, humid days. In addition, flat-faced (i.e., brachycephalic) breeds, such as pugs, bulldogs, and Boston terriers, have a facial conformation that inhibits their ability to pant efficiently. Monitor your pet closely on July Fourth for heatstroke signs, including excessive panting, lethargy, drooling, red mucous membranes, and collapse. If you think your pet is overheated, follow these tips:

  • Move your pet to a cool, well-ventilated area.
  • Offer them a drink of water, but don’t force them to drink.
  • Take your pet’s body temperature to determine whether it is dangerously high—104 degrees or higher. 
  • Pour lukewarm water over their body to begin the cooling process.
  • Seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

Seek veterinary help for stressed pets

If your pet gets frightened or severely stressed by fireworks and other July Fourth-associated shenanigans, ask our veterinary team for help. We can prescribe medications and calming supplements that may help your pet cope with the July Fourth experience. In addition, if you explain your pet’s predicament far enough in advance of the holiday, we can advise you on desensitization and counterconditioning techniques that may help your furry pal stay calm when encountering upsetting stimuli. 

Contact our Rustebakke Veterinary Service team to schedule your pet’s microchipping appointment or if you are concerned about your four-legged friend’s fireworks phobia.