While you’re getting ready for backyard BBQs and days at the beach or the lake setting off fireworks, there’s one member of your family you might not be giving much mind to – your pet.
If you’re like me, you didn’t give much thought to your dog or cat joining in on the festivities, but according to BluePearl Veterinary Partners, American Independence Day is actually a pretty dangerous day for pets. In fact, animal hospitals see up to a 25 percent increase in pet patients on the Fourth of July!
What are some of the main culprits? Well, Nationwide Insurance looked through its database of over 575,000 insured pets and found that fireworks, car accidents, falling into pools, and eating table scraps are the leading causes of injuries to pets.
So how can you keep your pet safe and healthy in the midst of your celebrations? Nationwide gives some easy tips to ensure that your pet enjoys the holiday just as much as you do.
1. Create a safe zone. The loud bang of fireworks can be terrifying for your pets. Create a safe space for them to go to when you start setting off fireworks where they will feel safe. And if your pet already suffers from severe anxiety, talk to your vet about treatment options.
2. Pay attention to what they’re eating. Most of us are already filling our bellies with foods that aren’t the most healthy, but many of those foods can be especially dangerous for our pets. Things like apple seeds, onions, potatoes, grapes, tomatoes, chocolate, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, and xylitol (which can be found in sugar-free gum) can all cause problems for your pets. Vets have also warned that they have x-rayed animals and found corn cobs and rib bones in their stomachs, which they probably got ahold of while rooting through the trash. Keep an eye on your pet and make sure they aren’t sneaking any “treats” that could send you on an emergency run to the vet.
3. Don’t leave your pet unattended. During a party it’s easy to get distracted, but it’s important to keep an eye on your pet and make sure they aren’t getting themselves into trouble. One of the most dangerous places for your pet to be is around a pool or lake. Even if your pet knows how to swim, in the midst of a party with people splashing and jumping it can be disorienting, and your pet is more likely to drown. Make sure you know where your pet is at all times if you are going to have them around the water.
4. Keep away from fireworks. As has already been mentioned, the loud boom of fireworks can be terrifying for pets. If a dog is scared they may bite or even run away. And if they’re not scared, they may actually chase after the fireworks or try to grab them, which is incredibly dangerous, not just for your pet, but for everyone else in the area. Either make sure your pet is in a safe space, or keep them on a leash.
When it comes to big holiday celebrations like the Fourth of July, a good rule to follow is “expect the unexpected.” Make sure you are watching your pet at all times to ensure they stay out of trouble. And if you think you’ll be too distracted or there will be too much going on, it might be best to just leave your pet at home.
BluePearl veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Holm cautions that it’s best to play it safe. “I would say that July 4 is probably not the time you would want to explore a lot of new things with your pets,” she said. “Use common sense and keep your pets safe.”
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