The Fourth of July can be a fun time to celebrate with friends and family. There are parties, music, and of course, fireworks. The festivities might fare well for you and your friends, but as any pet owner knows, keeping our furry friends safe and relaxed during the show should be the number one priority. Here is a list of safety tips you can follow given by HARP Chief Veterinarian Dr. Ariella Samson, DVM, to keep your fur-children safe.

The Basics:

Dr. Samson advises that your pets are up-to-date on all information and health checks. “Make sure your pet is fully equipped with their collar and updated ID tags. This is important even for pets who are mainly kept indoors and may still scare easily on the holiday.” There may be the possibility that your pet flees from your yard if left outside. Microchipping is the best way to protect animals from the possibility of going missing. Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh offers microchipping services by appointment only at our East Side Veterinary Medical Center. We are happy to offer low-cost options.

If you’re planning to throw some BBQ on the grill, it is important to leave harmful substances such as lighter fluid out of reach from your fur babies. Tiki Torch oil and insect coils should be kept out of reach as well. Do not give your pets any alcoholic beverages as all types are poisonous to dogs and cats.  “Alcohol and pets don’t mix,” Dr. Samson warns, “Alcohol is toxic to dogs, even in small amounts. It is never acceptable to put your pet’s health at risk.” Too much alcohol can cause a decrease in coordination, diarrhea, and vomiting, and in more severe cases, death.

Even though your BBQ may be the best in town, keep your pets on their regular diets. Feeding them too much human food may upset their tummy and cause indigestion or even severe digestive problems. There are many foods that pets cannot consume, and it is important to know which ones you can and cannot feed them. The ASPCA has put together a list of foods you should avoid feeding your pets that are worth the look.

The Boom: 

If you are an animal lover, you are already aware of what fireworks can mean for any animal. We hear an increase in cases of dogs fleeing their homes, especially around the Fourth of July when fireworks are used. In most places, fireworks are set off all throughout the week, which adds more stress to our pets. To prevent fleeing, consider putting your pet in a safe, escape-proof room or crate in your home during the holiday. Keep a close eye on them throughout the week for behavior changes and signs of distress.

Sometimes, taking our furry friends out of their element can add more anxiety. Resist the urge to take pets with you to holiday celebrations. Try keeping them as comfortable as you can in their own homes where they already feel most secure. Wrapping them in a blanket is a good tip that can offer a calming effect. If your pet is easily anxious or stressed, consult with your veterinarian on ways to reduce your pet’s anxiety.

After the celebration:

Check your yard to protect pets and other animals from ingesting possible debris left behind. There is a possibility that unused and used fireworks will be left in yards or in the streets where you usually walk your dog. Be mindful of the curiosities your pup might have if they spot one on your journey. “Before allowing your pets back into their usually accessed areas, make sure to thoroughly clear out any debris that may be left over,” Dr. Samson says, “This will not only keep not only your pets safe but other animals, too!”

Although we hope your pets stay safe throughout the holiday, if your pet does become lost, our team at HARP is here to make sure your furry friends can reunite with your family quickly. If a situation arises, we have a North Side location as well as an East Side location that can assist you by calling (412)345-7300 or visiting Directions and hours of operations can be found here.

Wishing you a fun and safe Fourth of July from HARP!