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Help Pets Celebrate Independence Day Safely

Friday, June 26, 2020
By Alex Jarrell

dog with frisbee

This year, the Fourth of July will mean more than fireworks, food and fun as families, friends and strangers celebrate our country’s independence together — and apart. As a company, we’re proud to be part of the diverse fabric that makes this country what it is today and what it will be tomorrow. 

As pet owners — we want to remind you that while dogs and cats may feel our excitement for the day they don’t necessarily understand the ways we celebrate. Fireworks can be loud, bright and scary. So we’ve put together a few tips to help your pets enjoy the day as much as you do.

Tire them out while the sun’s out

Activity is actually a technique used to modify pet behavior and curb anxiety. The more you get their playful energy out, the less nervous energy they’ll exhibit later. 

Go ahead and take dogs out for exercise and spend some play time with your cats before the festivities get started. Don’t overexert them, but the goal is to tucker them out enough to help them sleep through the fireworks. 

Make home a safe zone

You may be used to leaving your pet at home alone, but this is one evening you want to make sure they’re ok with that. 

If you plan to go out, think about putting down some favorite snacks and leaving the TV on as a sound buffer and distraction. You can also close the curtains or blinds to dim the light show.

Treat it like any other day

Like we said, your pet can tell when you’re excited. They can also tell when you’re nervous. So, while planning your day and your pet’s activities, keep it normal and keep it easy.

Don’t be overly calm. Zombies and robots weird pets out just like the rest of us. But give them a little extra love and speak in a soothing voice as you get ready to head out. If you decide to stay home to view the fireworks, make sure you pay attention to your pet to gauge their reaction — and try to keep yours pretty neutral.

Make sure their contact info is up to date

More pets go missing on the Fourth than any other day of the year. It’s ok to want to spend the day outside at a barbeque or on a lake with your pet. But make sure you’re attentive and make them a part of the group. 

Now’s also a great time to make sure the information on your pet’s microchip and tags is up to date. It can’t hurt to take precautions. 

Watch what they eat

Barbeques, potlucks and buffets are great for people-grazing. But watch what food you leave out while your pets are on the prowl.

Food

Why to Avoid

Ribs & Wings

The bones can be choking hazards.

Hot Dogs & Bacon

The preservatives and salt content in cured and processed pork products can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.

Eating a large amount can cause pancreatitis, which can be fatal.

Corn on the Cob

Not toxic — but the cob itself is a choking hazard.

Onions & Garlic

While your pet would have to consume a lot to be fatal, any member of the onion family can harm red blood cells. 

If your pet ingests a significant amount, take them to a vet immediately if they show signs of weakness and fatigue or dark urine.

Guacamole & Avocados in general

Avocados contain the toxin persin, which is more harmful to birds and bunnies than dogs and cats. Avocado might not be toxic, but it’s not good for dogs and cats either as it can cause stomach distress, especially when mixed with onions, garlic and spices.

Chips & Pretzels

It’s the salt. It can cause excessive thirst and urination as well as vomiting and diarrhea. 

Grapes & Raisins

Check the fruit salad, for sure. No one knows exactly why, but grapes have been linked to kidney failure in dogs — even if they’ve had them before.

Chocolate, especially with Xylitol

Alone or together, they can cause seizures.

Alcohol

Just a few ounces can be poisonous to dogs and cats.

Try a frozen fruit salad


Typically a hot day, the water content in fruit can help keep your pets cool as a cucumber this 4th of July. Yes, cucumbers are fruits and they’re especially good for overweight pets as they hold little to no carbohydrates, fats, or oils and can even boost energy levels. 

When popping fruit in the freezer for a cool treat, remember to cut them into small portions and remove thick rinds, pits and seeds. Many pits and seeds contain small amounts of cyanide and could be a choking or obstruction hazard. So why risk it?

What’s good fruit for dogs and cats? Apricots, watermelon, mango, peaches, pears, apples, pineapple, strawberries, bananas and blueberries. Blueberries are a superfood, as you know, but this fruit salad packs vitamins A, C, B6 and E as well as fiber, potassium, biotin and antioxidants. Always use fresh fruit, not canned or processed. 

Cherry skins are great for pets. But unfortunately the rest of the fruit isn’t as digestible. And no one has time to peel cherries. Especially on such a big day. So, we say skip the cherries. 

And as fun as it will be to share this treat with your paw-footed fam, try to do it with some moderation. As with any new addition to a diet, too much could cause stomach upset. 

If this isn’t your first fireworks show

If you already know your pet has a severe stress reaction to the lights and the boom of fireworks — destruction of toys or housewares, heavy panting or salivation, or nervous urination — start with your vet. There are safe, short-acting drugs that can be prescribed to reduce anxiety. Or, one of these natural solutions might work for you:

  • Try a pressure wrap or Thundershirt for dogs or cats to make them feel swaddled

  • Have your pet spend the day at a friend or family-member’s home that’s further away from the festivities — but only if they’re already familiar with the space

  • CBD oil for dogs and cats appears to have some anxiety relieving properties in pets — definitely try beforehand to see how yours reacts*

  • Herbal or nutraceutical supplements with valerian, skullcap, melatonin, tryptophan, theanine, hydrolyzed milk protein are all reported by some owners to help calm pets*

It doesn’t take a lot to make sure your pets have a safe and happy Fourth. And, we hope you do too!

cat playing 

*As with any herbal or nutraceutical, always check with your vet first. Breed, weight, age and pre-existing conditions could play a factor in the efficacy of even the most natural of supplements.

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