Nothing is better during the summertime than a mouthwatering cookout, awe-inspiring fireworks display, and refreshing dip in a swimming pool. While all these “best of” summertime activities can be combined into one July Fourth event, this day of celebration is best left to two-legged participants. Your four-legged friend should remain safe, secure, and comfortable indoors while you enjoy the holiday festivities with family and friends. However, if your pet insists on attending the celebration, watch out for the following five July Fourth hazards.

#1: Excessive heat and humidity can rapidly cause heatstroke in pets

Although our temperatures and humidity don’t reach the uncomfortable levels of the more southern states, Wales sees its fair share of hot days. Plus, the weather does not need to be scorching to lead to heatstroke in pets—they can overheat in balmy 70-degree temperatures. 

Prevent heatstroke in your pet by:

  • Providing plenty of fresh, cool water
  • Ensuring they have adequate shade
  • Keeping them out of non-ventilated buildings or cars
  • Exercising during the coolest time of day—typically early morning
  • Recognizing early heatstroke signs and immediately cooling down your pet

Heatstroke signs can include excessive panting and drooling, disorientation, weak and wobbly gait, and collapse. If your pet begins to pant heavily and drool thick ropes of saliva, head inside to an air-conditioned, ventilated area. You can also give your pet a cool-water bath, and place them in front of a fan to help heat dissipate. 

#2: Fireworks pose more than one threat to pets

Fireworks can cause all sorts of problems for pets, from frightening them into running away, to harming them during blast-off. If your pet has a fear of loud noises, set them up in a quiet sanctuary inside your home during a fireworks show. Play white noise, or leave on a television to help drown out the loud booms, and give them a cozy bed, and a long-lasting, delicious chew to distract them from the outside noise. Some pets may also benefit from a calming compression wrap, soothing pheromones, or anti-anxiety medication. 

#3: A cookout’s delicious food should be paws-off for pets

When firing up the grill, your pet will be drawn to the mouthwatering aromas, but pet-friendly menus do not include many picnic and barbecue foods. If your pet joins your cookout, keep the following hazardous foods out of paws’ reach:

  • Grilled meats — Many grilled meats are not only high in fat, but may also contain bones. Hot dogs and brats can lead to pancreatitis because of their high fat content, while bones from chicken legs, ribs, and steaks can cause a gastrointestinal obstruction if swallowed. Treat your pet with only small pieces of boneless, skinless, unseasoned chicken breast that has a smoky flavor from the grill.
  • Side salads — Many side salads contain ingredients added for flavor, but mayonnaise, onions, garlic, and chives can be dangerous for pets. Too much mayonnaise can cause pancreatitis, while onions, garlic, and chives may spice up your dishes, but can cause red blood cell damage that leads to anemia. 
  • Desserts — Rich desserts, whether made with chocolate, sugar, or xylitol, can be hazardous for pets. These sweet substances can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, a severe drop in blood pressure, or liver failure.

#4: Not all pets can doggy-paddle in deep water

When the temperatures rise, you may think your fur-coated pet would love a dip in the pool, but many pets cannot swim well in deep water. Chlorine and other pool chemicals can also harm your pet if they lap up the water, or lick too much pool water from their fur. To let your pet cool off, set up a sprinkler, or a small wading pool filled with only a few inches of water.

#5: Do not use insect repellents on pets

Although mosquitoes, flies, wasps, fleas, ticks, and other biting and stinging insects may buzz around your pet, do not spray them with a DEET-based insect repellent, which is harmful to pets, along with many other insect and pest deterrents that contain toxic ingredients. Stick with a veterinarian-approved parasite prevention product—many are available in different applications that battle the dangerous pests that can harm your furry pal.

If your pet’s July Fourth festivities get a bit out of paw and they stumble into trouble, contact our Wales Animal Clinic team. We want you and your pet to enjoy the summer celebrations.