If you plan to celebrate July Fourth with your PAW-triotic pet, remember that this holiday can be stressful for your furry friend. However, you don’t have to cancel your backyard barbeque and hole up with your pooch under the couch. With a little preparation, you can both enjoy a pet-safe July Fourth. To help you prepare a safe Independence Day celebration with your furry friend, follow our Mobile Cat & Dog Vet team’s six tips. 

#1: Make a plan with your pet’s temperament in mind 

Whether you are hosting a backyard barbecue or heading out for a day on the lake, take time before the big celebration to consider your pet’s temperament and their needs. If you are hosting an at-home get-together, consider your pet’s comfort level around new people. If your pet is especially sensitive to noise and chaos, and easily becomes upset when their home is full of unfamiliar people, keep them in a safe, quiet area, away from the main party, and provide them with cozy bedding and familiar toys. 

If your pet is social and enjoys mingling with people, set a few ground rules with your guests before they arrive. To ensure your pet’s safety during your Indepence Day celebration, remind your guests of the following:

  • Do not let the pet outside the house or yard, depending on where the party is taking place.
  • All children must ask an adult before interacting with your pet. In addition, ensure an adult fully supervises all child-pet interactions.
  • Guests must leave your pet alone while your furry pal is sleeping, eating, or eliminating.
  • Do not feed the pet human food.

#2: Exercise your pet before the celebration begins 

Take your pet for a long walk before the celebration begins. Exercise will help tire them out, so they feel calm. You should also encourage your pet to relieve themself during this pre-celebration outing, because many sensitive pets are too afraid to go outside during large gatherings and firework displays.  

#3: Keep your pet cool

If you will be spending time outside in the hot summer sunshine with your pet on July Fourth, take precautions to prevent them from overheating. The temperature does not have to be sweltering to be hazardous to your pet, as moderate temperatures in the 70s, strenuous activity, bright sunshine, and high humidity create a perfect storm for heat injuries. To ensure your pet stays cool and safe, follow these tips:

  • Ensure your pet has access to shade and plenty of fresh water to prevent dehydration and heatstroke.
  • Don’t let your pet get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.
  • Protect your pet’s paws from hot pavement by keeping them on the grass or dressing them in booties.
  • Watch your pet closely, and bring them inside at the first sign that they may be overheating.

#4:  Make pet-friendly treats

For many people, July Fourth celebrations center around food, with a staple being barbecue. Include your pet in the outdoor feast by serving them their own tasty, frozen treat. Combine plain low-fat yogurt with blueberries or bananas, add a hint of xylitol-free peanut butter, and freeze the concoction into a creamy, healthy pet-safe snack. In addition, many pets enjoy slices or chunks of frozen seedless watermelon, which provide some much-needed hydration during a hot summer’s day.

#5: Protect your pet from parasitic party crashers

Rising temperatures bring an abundance of parasites, including mosquitoes and fleas, which can transmit infectious diseases and dangerous parasites to your pet. Veterinary-prescribed flea, tick, and heartworm prevention products are the safest, most effective way to protect your pet from these party-crashing pests. Bug repellent and citronella candles have become as common a July Fourth staple as the food and fireworks. However, never use bug repellents intended for humans on your pet, and ensure your furry pal is a safe distance away when you apply bug spray to yourself or in the yard. 

#6: Create a safe space at home for your pet 

Many pets suffer from noise aversion (i.e., fear of loud sounds), and July Fourth parties and fireworks can kick that fear into overdrive. Help your pet remain calm during the celebrations and fireworks’ booms by providing them with a quiet place to retreat such as a bathroom or small bedroom with few windows. Prepare your pet’s sanctuary room by doing the following: 

  • Closing window shades to dampen outside sounds and block fireworks’ visual cues 
  • Including your pet’s favorite toy, blanket, and treat
  • Playing soft, calming music to muffle fireworks’ noise
  • Using pheromone sprays, such as Adaptil for dogs or Feliway for cats, to promote your pet’s wellbeing
  • Wrapping your pet in an anxiety vest (i.e., ThunderShirt), which provides gentle pressure around their torso to decrease stress
  • Providing a food-stuffed toy (e.g., Kong) for distraction

By following these tips, you and your pet will celebrate July Fourth safely. However, if your furry friend needs extra support to cope with the holiday festivities, contact our Mobile Cat & Dog Vet team to ensure your pet remains calm during the noisy celebration.