It's time for Americans to celebrate their independence, which means barbeques, pool parties and, of course, fireworks. This Fourth of July, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's first and largest provider of pet health insurance, reminds pet lovers that the keys to a safe celebration are preparation and awareness. After all, this is the time of year when animal shelters see the most runaways due to firework scares.
-Set up a safe zone that is comfortable for your pet and will help block out noise. Loud noises from fireworks and other festivities can be stressful and terrifying for our pets. If your pet show signs of severe anxiety such as trembling or shaking, sudden urination, pacing or chewing, you may want to consult your veterinarian regarding options.
-Leave out extra water bowls to ensure that your pet is hydrated during the day. It's common for pet owners to forget how quickly their pets can become overheated in the warm summer weather.
-Be aware of foods that could be toxic to your dog. Fatty foods from table scraps, garlic, onions, bones and raw meats can all cause stomach issues. Also, be sure to keep your pet away from any alcohol that could have been spilled.
-Never assume your dog knows how to swim. If you are attending a celebration with a pool, be sure that your dog is familiar with the edges of the pool. It your pet is allowed to swim, make sure they're a comfortable swimmer and show them the steps to climb out of the pool.
-Never leave your pets unattended or tied up in the back yard, and always keep proper identification on them. Fear from fireworks could cause pets to run away. Dogs who attempt to jump a fence while tied down could strangle themselves.
"The Fourth of July can be fun for us, but incredibly stressful for our pets," said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "With the increase in dangers that surround our pets during this summer holiday, it's important to be extra cautious. Pet owners should pay close attention to their animals' physical safety and level of anxiety, generated from all of the irregular activity. Be sure to provide a comfortable place to relax away from the chaos and noise of the celebration."