Mouthwatering aromas from the grill, gorgeous fireworks explosions overhead, and lazy days lounging in the pool herald July Fourth festivities. But, the food, fireworks, and fun that are part of Independence Day celebrations can pose a threat to your pet’s health and wellbeing. Despite the dangers of many July Fourth activities, your furry pal can still join the fun. Here are four ways to help your pet safely enjoy the Fourth.
#1: Share a pet-friendly plate at the cookout
When your pet gazes at you, begging for the rack of rib or T-bone steak bones, saying “No” can be tough. However, sharing popular barbecue foods with your furry friend can be a recipe for disaster. Let your pet sample all the delights of festive July Fourth dishes with none of the health issues with this pet-friendly plate:
- Grilled meat — The various meats roasting on the grill are the star of the show, and likely your pet’s favorite morsel. However, you do not want them to suffer from a bone-induced gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction or steak fat-spurred pancreatitis case, so instead grill them a boneless, skinless, seasonings-free chicken breast. Chop the cooked breast into small bites, feed the appropriate amount for your pet’s size, and save the rest for treats.
- Side salads — Potato salad, cole slaw, and pasta salads are often loaded with flavorful ingredients harmful to your pet’s health. When you are whipping up these dishes for your feast, put some on your pet’s plate before you add the mayo, onions, and garlic. For example, once the potatoes or pasta noodles are boiled, put a few on your pet’s plate before you add any other ingredient.
- Fruit tray — The most dangerous fruits that your pet must not eat include grapes, raisins, and currants, as well as seeds and pits. Most other fruits are safe in moderation, so chop up small bites of banana, berries, and melon and add some sweetness to your pet’s plate.
While you likely have several desserts gracing your picnic table, skip sweet treats for your pet. Chocolate, sugar, fat, and the sweetener xylitol can all be dangerous for your pet, so give them safe fruits as their sweet snacks.
#2: Prevent your pet from heatstroke
Although Washington is a northern state, Kirkland still gets hot and humid during July, which can pose a heatstroke risk to your pet. If you and your furry friend are outside enjoying the daytime celebrations, keep your pet cool by:
- Watering them down — Keep your pet cool and comfortable by setting up a sprinkler or wading pool for splashing. Ensure they always have plenty of fresh water to drink.
- Fanning them — Stagnant, humid air can be suffocating for pets, so avoid putting them in a screened-in porch or a garage without ventilation.
- Keeping them shaded — The bright sunlight rapidly increases a pet’s body temperature, so keep them in the shade as much as possible. Also, stay off sun-baked asphalt and stick to shaded walking paths.
#3: Prevent your pet from going missing in action
More pets take off during fireworks shows and summer thunderstorms than any other time of year, and may run for miles out of fear. Before the holiday arrives, double up on your pet’s identification forms to help guarantee a happy reunion should they go missing. Get them new engraved collar ID tags if their current ones are illegible or out of date, or a collar embroidered with their name and your phone number.
In addition, have your pet microchipped, or update their registration information, if necessary. A microchip is the only permanent identification form that cannot fade away, fall off, or be removed, and provides the best chance of a reunion with a missing pet.
#4: Watch fireworks shows on mute
If you don’t want your pet to miss out on the fireworks, watch a muted live TV event instead of taking them to your local show. The earsplitting bangs, booms, and shrieks of fireworks exploding overhead can send your pet into a panic, so stay home and watch the explosions of bright colors in silence.
If you do head out to a fireworks show, leave your pet at home in a safe space. Fireworks close to your home can frighten your pet, so ensure they have a soundproofed spot where they can relax. Choose an inner room without windows, if possible, play white noise or classical music, and diffuse calming pheromones to help soothe your pet. Distract them with a food puzzle or long-lasting treat, and further ease their anxiety with a compression wrap, calming supplements, or anti-anxiety medication specifically designed for noise phobias.
With advance planning and preparation, you can help your furry friend enjoy July Fourth festivities and stay safe. However, if your pet does run afoul of a holiday hazard, contact our Juanita Hills Animal Hospital team for help.