Everyone loves fireworks, right?
Well probably not your 4 legged friend laying beside you on the couch! Every year the 4th of July sees many dogs end up in the shelter that don't need to be there, all because their owners didn't prepare for what often amounts to a terrifying night for their furry friend.
So here are ten tips to help you keep your furry friends safe this holiday season.
- LEAVE THEM AT HOME! It's very tempting to take your best friend with you to enjoy the festivities. after all, they are well behaved and very social! Unfortunately, even the best behaved and well adjusted dog can easily be overwhelmed by the crowds and noises at 4th of July celebrations. It is often the safest bet to simply leave them at home where they will be most comfortable and safe.
- CHECK YOUR PETS TAGS! This is the perfect time to check your pets tags and make sure that all the information on them is up to date. many pets show up at the shelter wearing a collar without any identifying information on it or with a phone number that is no longer working. It only costs a few dollars to make sure that your animal is properly tagged and this could make all the difference in seeing them again if they do get loose from you! Don't forget your feline friends as well, they can also benefit from proper identification!
- MICROCHIPS FOR EVERYONE! One of the best possible things you can do for your pet is to have a permanent microchip with your contact information implanted under your pets skin. This tiny receiver contains your pets identification number and can be read by the scanners that all area shelters and most vets have available in their office. The identification number can then be cross checked with the records at the registry company and your contact information can be retrieved. Of course this only works if you have properly registered your microchip, so be sure to call and make sure your information is up to date with the company! To make this even easier for you The Humane Society of the Ohio Valley offers microchiping at a VERY reasonable rate!
- BREAK OUT THAT CRATE! Consider crating any animals left home alone during the festivities. Even animals that are normally very well behaved can experience anxiety related to the unusual noises on the 4th. This is a great time to set up a safe crate with soft blankets and soothing music if your pet will be unattended. You might even want to consider leaving your favorite show on the tv, up a little louder than usual so they have a comfortable distraction while you are gone.
- CHECK THE CALENDAR! Remember that not every Independence Day event will actually take place on the 4th of July. Here in Marietta, OH we have fireworks on the 30th of June and again on the 7th of July this year. These unusual dates may leave a lot of people surprised when their pet bolts from the backyard on the wrong day, but unfortunately there are often fireworks at random times throughout the entire week anyway.
- AVOID THE GLOW! As tempting as it may be for you to decorate your pooch with a glow necklace or two and watch them run around the yard, please reconsider! It is very easy for dogs to break these loose and with one quick chew ingest the glowing chemicals that can lead to a VERY upset stomach and possibly the plastic which can lead to a blockage or internal laceration. The emergency vet bills on a holiday are a steep price to pay for a few giggles in the dark!
- HOLD MY BEER! Alcohol in even small amounts can be toxic to your pets, so make sure that if there will be drinking at your holiday festivities your guests know not to leave any beverages unattended. It is far too easy for Rover to knock over a glass and lap up some danger juice when no one is looking and you are right back at that E-Vet with that holiday bill again. Place all drinks on sturdy tables that the dogs cannot reach or disturb if they bump into the legs and everyone can enjoy the holiday together without incident.
- SPARKLY THINGS ARE HOT! Fireworks in your yard may be fun, but they are simply not safe for your dog to be around. Are you catching on to a theme here? I don't want you to spend your holiday with a hurting puppy and a sore bank account! While we may be able to reason and understand that something recently on fire is going to be toasty, our dogs just don't have that capability. Cooling firework shells, sparklers, and even pop-its can all be incredibly dangerous for your pet! This also goes for your grill, which can be extra enticing since it also smells like happiness!
- SCRAPE THE SCRAPS! As tempting as it may be to toss your pooch your rib bones or leftover hotdogs, its better to just toss them in the trash instead. Many ingredients in common holiday food can be toxic for dogs. Onions make their way into a lot of picnic salads and onto hotdogs, but if they make their way into your pet it is bad news! The same with that fruit plate of grapes! Be sure that your guests know the rules as well because dogs can be VERY convincing when they want to be
- KNOW WHO TO CALL! Last but certainly not least, this is the perfect time to prepare your emergency call list just in case something DOES happen despite your best efforts. Put your vets number on the list along with all the local emergency/ after hours vets and any shelter within quick driving distance. It is not unusual for a frightened pet to travel much farther than expected when the escape their yard or even to be picked up by a good samaritan and taken to the shelter closest to THEIR home instead of yours. having these numbers on hand can save precious minutes of googling when your pets life may be on the line.
Hopefully by following these tips you and your pet can both enjoy the holiday without any mishaps!
Have a wonderful 4th!