Ah, sweet summertime is here, and that means the Fourth of July is right around the corner. Brilliant fireworks, suntans, and cooking on the grill are the season’s highlights, and you naturally want to include your furry pal. But, the summer season is rife with danger for pets, who are more sensitive to loud noises and hot weather, and we occasionally forget they don’t enjoy seasonal activities so much. When July Fourth rolls around, ensure you celebrate only the good times, by keeping your four-legged friend safe. 

#1: Microchip your pet and ensure the registration info remains current

Regardless of the time of year, microchipping your pet is an excellent idea. The only permanent form of identification with a national database for easy tracking, a microchip may be the only way you can recover your lost pet. More pets go missing on July Fourth than any other time of year, because of fireworks, but your furry pal can slip out an open door, or dig under a fence at any point. If your pet is already microchipped, ensure your contact info is current with the microchip company. Your pet’s microchip won’t do any good if an outdated phone number is listed. 

#2: Don’t set off fireworks at home and keep your pet indoors after dusk

Few pets are comfortable around fireworks’ explosive noises, much less enjoy them. Your pet may not have been exposed to fireworks yet, but you may have noticed other noise aversion signs, especially during thunderstorms, vacuuming, or from nearby construction. If you see the following signs in your furry pal during loud sounds, your pet likely suffers from a noise aversion:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Vocalization
  • Pacing
  • Trembling
  • Inappropriate elimination
  • Hiding
  • Seeking comfort and attention
  • Destructive behaviors

Pets who suffer from generalized or separation anxiety also exhibit these signs, but noise phobias are always paired with loud sounds. This key difference will help guide your Otay Pet Vets veterinarian to determine the best treatment plan to help your furry friend relax during the booming sounds of summer. We may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for your pet for the July Fourth fireworks displays, but you should still limit your pet’s exposure as much as possible to help them stay calm. Don’t set off fireworks at your own home, or take your pet to a fireworks show, and try to settle your pet in for the night before dusk. 

#3: Create a safe haven for your pet

One of the best ways to help your noise-sensitive pal is to create a safe haven in your home where they can go during loud events, such as thunderstorms, vacuuming, or fireworks. Ideally, this retreat should be set up in a room with few or no windows, to minimize sounds and bright flashes. Create a cozy resting area, with a soft bed, their favorite toys, and a long-lasting treat puzzle, where your pet will love to hang out. Placing a soothing pheromone diffuser in the room will also help to promote calm. During each loud event, your pet will likely learn to run to their hiding spot, to ride out the cacophony. 

#4: Don’t invite your pet to your cookout

When handing out your July Fourth barbecue invitations, leave your pet’s name off the guest list. We know you love to include your pet, but they’re better off indoors, with their own special treat or food puzzle, rather than joining the tasty festivities outside. Pets are prone to developing pancreatitis or a foreign body obstruction after a cookout, because of the high-fat side dishes, meats, corn on the cob, and chicken bones. 

#5: Watch for heat stroke signs in your pet

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are other common problems pets experience during the dog days of summer. While you are enjoying the sizzling sunshine lazing on a chaise lounge, your pooch is burning up in their fur coat. Keep a close eye out for heat stroke signs, which include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Dark red gums
  • Thick, ropy drool
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Staggering
  • Collapse

At the first hint of heat stroke, get your pet into an air-conditioned building, and begin cooling measures. When your pet is outdoors, avoid overheating by ensuring they always have plenty of fresh water, adequate shade, and proper ventilation. Exercise your furry pal early in the morning, before the pavement has a chance to heat up, and refrain from excessive play outdoors during the heat of the day. 

Has your pet shown signs of noise aversion, especially during springtime thunderstorms? Don’t wait until it’s too late—schedule an appointment at Otay Pet Vets, to discuss the options that will help keep your furry pal calm during the July Fourth fireworks displays.