Happy 4th of July! It’s a great time for families and friends to get together for fun and fireworks. Though we love our pets to share our holidays, this holiday can be particularly stressful for your pet. First of all, there’s the food. It’s, oh so, delicious with hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks on the grill, and cakes, cupcakes, and ice cream on the dessert table. Your pet is as excited with the smells as you are, but feeding your pet these fatty delights can lead to a bout of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), which can sicken your pet for days, or even lead to death. Be careful and avoid these issues by sticking to their normal diet and treats. Reward your pet with extra playtime, exercise, or attention.
Next, there’s the heat. Yes, it’s July, so that means hot! Many of our activities on this day are outside, so remember, if you think it’s hot, your friend with the fur coat is feeling it even more. If your pet is outside, be sure that there is adequate shade for your pet. Stay off of the pavement or asphalt, if possible, to avoid burns to your pet’s paws. Also, there should be plenty of fresh, cool water accessible to your pet. Remember our furry friends don’t sweat like we do to cool off. If your pet is panting heavily or drooling, it may indicate the first signs of heat stress. Find shade for your pet. Consider a cool water bath or hosing your pet down. The water must penetrate to the skin for your pet to get the most benefit. Worsening signs may include dry mouth, confusion, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, or collapse. Seek immediate veterinary attention, if any of these signs develop.
Also, due to the hot and humid conditions this time of year, there are increased concerns for heartworm disease for your pets. Heartworms are spread to your pets by mosquitoes, so the temperatures and rain this time of year, increases their population and increases the risk for heartworm infection. Remember this problem is easily avoided by using heartworm prevention year round. If your pet is not on heartworm prevention yet, see your veterinarian to learn more about your options. Fleas, ticks, and mites are also increased in the summer months. To protect your pet from the skin issues and diseases transmitted by these pests, keep your pets on flea and tick preventative year round. Your veterinarian can find a solution, which will eliminate these pests and work well for your pet.
Finally, there’s the fireworks! They are so beautiful, but for most pets, their worst nightmare. For them it is just an unexpected assault on their hearing producing fear, anxiety, and stress. Leave your pet indoors. Make sure they have a place where they feel safe and secure like their bed or crate or even a bathroom. Divert their attention from the sound by keeping music on or playing the TV or radio. If available, use a Thundershirt TM to help keep them calm. Most of all, if you’re home with your pet, understand they might need more comfort and attention during this stressful time.
With a few precautions, this can be safe holiday for you and your pet. Enjoy the celebrations! Don’t forget to thank any military personnel you see for keeping our country free. Have a safe and happy holiday! God bless the USA!