The 4th of July is a time for family, friends, food and fireworks, but not everyone enjoys the noise. Between people with PTSD being triggered by the bangs and flashes and the number of accidents involving pyrotechnics, humans have a lot to think about. Our pets are another concern.
Trips to the emergency room spike over the 4th of July weekend and July 5 is one of the busiest days at animal shelters.
Fireworks and Fido
“We must keep in mind that the sense of hearing in dogs is far superior to ours—so they hear and feel these sounds with much greater intensity,” Terri Bright, a behaviorist at Boston’s Angell Animal Medical Center, said.
There are a few things you can do to keep your pet comfortable and safe during the 4th of July festivities, suggested by Rover.com.
1. Stay at home and chill with your pet. The holiday can be very stressful for him. If you’re planning to be away (even for a few hours), hire a sitter or ask someone to keep your pet company.
2. The 4th of July is a big day for runaway pets. Don’t leave your dog alone in a fenced yard where she can get spooked and bolt. Find tips to keep your escape-artist dog in the yard on Rover’s blog.
3. Plan ahead of time and take your dog for a walk before fireworks are scheduled to begin in your area. Make sure his collar is on tightly. If you can fit two fingers under it, tighten it, Rover.com said.
4. Give your pet her favorite toy or bone as a safety blanket.
5. Try a Thundershirt or another vest to calm your pet.
6. If you have a laundry room, hang out with your pet while you run tennis balls in the dryer. Pets also love basements, which can muffle loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks.
Don't be a hotdog — beat the heat.
Another important factor in keeping your pet safe is keeping your pet cool. Angell Animal Medical Center’s emergency room doctor, Dr. Virginia Sinnott, said to be especially careful with dogs with short snouts, like pugs, Boston terriers and bulldogs, who are already susceptible to breathing issues.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have a few suggestions.
1. If you see a dog showing any symptoms of heatstroke — restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy, and lack of appetite or coordination — get the animal into the shade immediately. Give the dog water, apply a cold towel to the animal's head and chest or immerse the dog in tepid (not ice-cold) water. Then, call a veterinarian.
2. Keep your pet indoors. Just as you like air conditioning, your furry friend will, too.
3. Don’t make your pet run. In hot, humid weather, it’s taxing on your dog, so forget hooking him up to your bike and having him run alongside you as your ride.
4. When outdoor temperatures reach the 80s, asphalt temperatures can reach 140 degrees, causing pain, burns, permanent damage and scarring on dogs' paws after just a few minutes of contact. Walk on grass when possible, and avoid walking in the middle of the day.
5. Provide shade and ample water.
6. Dog-cooling equipment, like wearable vests or bed mats, comes in a range of materials and prices and helps prevent overheating. Freeze or soak the items in cold water to keep dogs comfortable while on a walk or lounging. Placing cold water bottles in a dog's bed also works.