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Keeping Your Pets Safe For the 4th of July

Updated on July 3, 2014

Pet Safety Tips For Independence Day

Summer is an exciting time for fun, food, fireworks and spending time with those who are dearest to you, your family. Most pet owners would agree that pets are an important piece to their home and that means giving them a life full of love, and full of safety.

Summer also brings forth hidden dangers to your furry friends. With a little preparation, you and your pets can make the dog days of summer a breeze.

“A healthy lifestyle will make you and your animals happy for the long run,” says California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) past-president Eric Weigand, DVM. “The same choices we humans make for ourselves—avoiding excessive heat and sun exposure, preventing insect bites, getting adequate exercise, and watching out for aging, aching bones—can do wonders for our pets.”

So you may ask, “I have to do for my animals what I do for myself?” I would say, no, you should do more. Animals cannot tell you when they feel dirty and need to be wiped down. They cannot tell you they are too hot and need to be cooled off. They cannot speak and communicate their needs, fears or desires to us, and as their guardians and owners, it is our job to keep them safe, healthy and happy as we took on a lifelong commitment when we decided to become their owners.

No need to worry though! There are simple things you can do to keep your critters safe during a sizzling summer, including the 4th of July.

Avoid Overexposure to Heat & Sunshine

  • First and foremost, pets need access to clean drinking water at all times because they too can become thirsty and dehydrated.
  • Pets do best when they are given access to the inside of the home. Just because they may have fur, doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy a cool, air-conditioned room. If they must be outside, try to limit their time outdoors and also offer them a location in a shaded area. It is also crucial to avoid rigorous exercise during the hottest hours of the day, typically 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Don’t want them to dirty up your home? Wet wipes work wonders! A simple wipe down before your pet runs inside works great!
  • NEVER leave a pet inside a car alone. Temperatures skyrocket quickly, even with windows open. If you need to run an errand, leave your pet pal at home or have someone else run inside for you. Countless pets die every year in hot cars. Next time you think about doing it, try sitting in a parked car that has no A/C running while you are wearing a fur coat (but you can keep a window open of course).

Prevent Pests

  • Summer brings forth nasty pests that can harm your pets. Using a flea and tick preventative is crucial during the summer months. Just one flea can bite multiple times, so imagine your pet being infested with hundreds of them. Not to mention, fleas can lay eggs and cause tapeworms.
  • Ticks are also a problem when the weather gets warmer and are known to carry nasty diseases. The best way to stay on top of the problem is to routinely groom your pets, even if it is as simple as wiping them down with wet wipes. During the wipe down, check for lumps and bumps as well as foxtails and burrs, which may sneak their way into your pet’s coat. It’s better to find them sooner rather than later.

Healthy Hygiene and Exercise

  • Keeping your pets clean can also prevent nasty pests from showing up. Routine checks of eyes, ears, body coat and paws are critical to your pet’s well being. Lacking on time? Use wet wipes to maintain a clean critter. Eye wipes, ear wipes, teeth wipes and body wipes are super easy to use, affordable, and less traumatic to your pet than a trip to the vet!
  • Moderate exercise on a consistent basis is important to all living beings. Get out there and get active with your furry friends! Make sure to check with your veterinarian on an appropriate exercise regime for your pet to avoid illness and/or injury.

Keep Them Safe During 4th of July

Unfortunately, 4th of July is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters and animal control officers across the nation. While Americans celebrate Independence Day, sometimes the festivities overshadow Fido’s basic needs, and he is left fending for himself. Dogs, cats and other pets don’t comprehend what 4th of July is all about. So, when they hear pops, screeches, explosions, fireworks, firecrackers, whistles, sirens and screams, what do you think is going through their minds? While our pets may not understand the reason for such celebratory actions, they are fully aware that something that is out of their ordinary daily routine is taking place. Dogs and cats react to these noises by darting out an open door onto a busy street, hiding somewhere unsafe, even breaking through windows and glass doors causing injury (I have seen the consequences of a dog running through a sliding glass door on 4th of July at a veterinary office I used to work at). These things do occur, and you cannot blame your pets, but you can save them.

  • Be sure that your pets have updated contact information on their tags and/or collars. Microchips are the best form of identification as they do not break or fall off. Also keep a current photo in case.
  • Exercise your pet early in the day to burn some energy so they can rest a little easier in the evening.
  • Keep those curious critters away from flames, sparklers, fireworks and charcoal, to prevent burn injuries.
  • Emphasize to your guests not to feed your pets any human food, as tempting as it is. Instead, have pet treats on hand. Human food can cause stomach upset and lead to other illnesses.
  • During fireworks, keep your pets preoccupied with frozen treats or fun toys. Playing music in the background is also helpful for fearful pets. And don’t forget to keep them locked inside safely away from windows and glass doors.

Following all these tips will help keep your precious pets safe, and give you peace of mind for a splendid summer.

Doggone Fashionable

Playing the Cute Card

For taking the dog on walks you'll need a leash and a collar. These can be as simple or as elaborate as you'd like, but of course you'll want to take the size and strength of your dog into account when selecting them. The collar can (and should) be adorned with a license tag or at least an ID tag that provides your name and contact information in case your dog is lost. If you live in a big city like New York (Manhattan), Chicago, or other urban area, you'll need to purchase that miracle of modern doggie convenience the "poop scooper.

Many cities have laws against owners simply allowing their dogs to "foul the footpath" or leave little Poodle Bombs all over the city park. In some cities there is a hefty fine for such crappy behavior.

There are literally thousands of optional items available for people to purchase for use with their dogs. Some of these items, like the gravity refillable water dishes and food bowls, serve a very useful purpose, others - the dog bandana comes to mind - serve no real purpose and are merely decorative or just plain silly.

Doggone Cute

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Can a Pet Have Allergies

Does your pet seem to have allergies? How can you really tell> Dogs and cats are both capable of sneezing and often do.

It is interesting how dogs and cats can experience many of the same health issues that humans do, including allergies.

Dog allergies can include skin allergies, dog food allergies (particularly corn and soy), house dust and dust mites, ragweed, molds, pollens and others.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Dog Allergies

Symptoms of dog allergies include your dog licking her paws, scratching her body or pawing at her ears (due to inflammation). In severe cases, you dog may have oozing hot spots on her body. Allergies may be seasonable or your pet may suffer all year round, depending on the allergen.

How to Avoid Allergens

Avoiding allergens should be the first step in treating your dog's allergies. If you suspect your dog may have allergies, see your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

If you dog is allergic to dust mites, vets suggest you use a plastic cover over your dog's bed, use a waterproof liner to keep mites from getting in the bed, avoid letting your dog on upholstered furniture and avoid stuffed animals. Dogs with dust mite allergies do best in uncarpeted rooms. Be sure to vacuum very frequently.

If you dog has allergic reactions to pollens, keep him out of fields and tall grasses. Keep your lawn cut short and keep your dog indoors during days with high pollen counts.

How Are Allergies Treated in Dogs?

Typically, mild allergies are treated with soothing shampoos liked oatmeal shampoo, vitamins containing essential fatty acids to help stop itching and keep skin from getting dry. Hydrocortisone spray or shampoo may also help to relieve itching. Check with your vet for other recommendations.

Best Dog Breeds If YOU Have Allergies

If you suffer from dog allergies, the following dog breeds may be a good choice for you because they don't shed much, or have hair rather than fur: Terrier, Chinese Crested (hairless), Italian Greyhound, Maltese (has coat similar to human hair), Shih Tzu (has hair rather than fur), Poodle (little shedding). Other popular low-breeds are crosses with Poodles such as the Cockapoo and Labradoodle. Keep in mind that no dog is completely non-shedding, except perhaps hairless breeds

Don't Forget to Include

If you do decide to board your pet for the long holiday weekend. Don't forget that your pet will likely miss you and want to have some of the things that may him or her comfortable without you

  • 1. Favorite pillow or blanket. This is sure to have familiar scents from you and from home and will help keep your pet calm.
  • 2. Favorite treats. Just like comfort food makes you feel better, the same goes for your pet.
  • 3.A unwashed t-shirt. Sounds unusually but, your pet recognizes your own unique scent and this will remind him that you are planning to come back to get him soon.

With these small gestures, the time that your pet spends away from you will be a lot less scary for her and for you.

Checklist For Boarding Pets on Holidays

  • 1. Visit the boarding kennel or cattery before making a decision. You should be able to visit the facility without an appointment during operating hours. If you are required to visit by appointment only, one must question what the facilities are like when you are not there!
  • 2. Does it smell? This could be an indicator of insufficient hygiene.
  • 3. Is there ready access to a vet in case of emergency? Hopefully this will not be required, but it's better to be safe than sorry!
  • 4. Does the facility have a perimeter fence? You don't want your dog escaping in your absence.
  • 5. Are staff suitably qualified in pet care?
  • 6. Can the facility cater for your pet's dietary requirements?
  • 7. Is medication readily available, if required?
  • 8. What are the hidden charges? For example, some facilities will charge extra fees for playtime, administration of medication or grooming services.
  • 9. Are there suitable facilities for exercise and entertainment of animals?
  • 10. Is the facility accredited by a recognized authority, such as PETA? This is not required, but such authorities set set minimum standards that member facilities must comply with. This includes enclosure size, meals, hygiene etc.

Many Boarding Kennels may also provide a convenient pickup and delivery service. If your chosen facility doesn't, there are specialized Animal car services that can arrange this service for you.

With your pet happy and secure in a safe environment you can now set about enjoying your 4th of July holiday.

What Do You Do With Your Pet on 4th of July

Large Animals
Send to Kennel
Leave at Home
Comfort in Stable
Leave with a Friend
Pet Hotel
Take Them With Me
Take Them With Me


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