July 5th is the busiest day of the year for Animal Shelters because July 4th is the worst day of the year for runaway pets. Animal Control Services see a 30% jump in calls between July 4th and July 6th, and sadly less than 14% of lost pets are returned to their owners. Please don't let your dog or cat end up a statistic by losing your pet to the loud noises and bright lights of July 4th festivities. Often it's the pets that have never shown signs of fear that get lost because their owners don't take precautions. It only takes an ounce of attention to keep your animals calm, safe and protected.
The best advice for July 4th is to keep your pets inside and restrained. (Download our "July 4th Calm Home" infographic here.) Most pets are lost on July 4th because they bolt out the door or window of a home or a car unexpectedly from the noise of firecrackers. Dogs and cats have extremely sensitive hearing so even noises at a distance can make them react without warning. And while getting lost and ending up miles from home is often the fate on July 4th, the bigger issue is a frantic dog or cat bolting into the path of an oncoming car.
We also want to share some advice from instructor, author and pet advocate Denise Fleck of Sunny-Dog Ink to help your pets stay safe during the July 4th weekend:
Close the drapes and turn on a radio or television to mask any noise and distract the pet’s attention from the pops and bangs. Triple check that all doors, windows and gates are secure, and if your pet is easily agitated, make sure someone stays with him during the festivities. The pleasant smelling formulation of essential oils, gently rubbed into Fido’s ear flaps or sprayed on his favorite bandana is sure to help him relax.
Enjoy your cookout, but keep your pets on their normal diet. Burgers, fries, salty chips, and fried chicken can all upset your pet's stomach while fats from an abundance of these foods can result in pancreatitis, and alcoholic beverages can result in a coma or respiratory failure. Chocolate can be lethal.
Keep pets far away from sparklers and firecrackers. One spark on precious fur and you'll need an emergency trip to the veterinarian. Allow paw, snout or any part of your furry friend close to a firecracker, and the results could be deadly.
Keep insect repellents and sunscreens out of reach. If ingested by your pet, these products can result in neurological problems, vomiting and diarrhea.
Make sure your pets can't find your matches or lighter fluid. Some matches contain chlorates which if ingested by Fido can damage his red blood cells, cause difficulty breathing or even kidney problems. Lighter fluid can irritate the skin, cause gastrointestinal, central nervous system and pulmonary distress.
Also, since the hot days have arrived, make sure your pet doesn't walk on any surfaces that could burn his paws. If it's too hot for your bare feet, it's too hot for Fido's four paws!
Be aware of the dangers of Heat Stroke and make sure your pets have plenty of cool, fresh water and shade to retreat to. Getting over heated can result in permanent brain damage and death to your pet, so never, never, never leave him alone in a parked car -- even for a short time. It only takes a few minutes (with the windows rolled down which can present a danger in itself) for the car to heat to deadly temperatures.
Earth Heart and Sunny-Dog Ink wish all of you a calm, safe and fun July 4th. Watch for our contest next week. We have some great prizes being offered. Details in our next blog.
Download our "July 4th Calm Home" infographic here.