The Fourth of July often evokes memories of fun family parties, barbequing, boating, and for those of us who are a little older, booze cruises, and of course fireworks. While we might have a good time during the holiday, often times the noise and stimulation is not fun for your furry friend. Here at Planned Property Management, we want our residents to have a good time and we want our furry residents to have a good, calm, experience while their owners party. Here are some tips for keeping your pet safe and calm during the holiday.
Fur babies stay home!
While we often want to brag about our dog or cat (they are the best, aren’t they?), keeping your pet at home is the safest place for them, by far. Keep your pet INSIDE! The resulting panic due to fireworks or other loud noises may make your pet run away or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety. In fact, throughout the entire country, animal shelters report a dramatic increase in lost pets during the 4th of July holiday.
In addition to keeping your pet inside, it is important to remember to close all windows and lock all doors. Pets who have been startled by fireworks or other loud noises associated with the 4th of July have been known to push or jump through screens or even cracked windows. Keep doors closed during and after when fireworks are going off so as to prevent pets from bolting and scurrying past as you or your guests exit or enter. Don’t’ forget that pets can stay stressed for a while, even hours after the fireworks stop! Their anxiety level might still be high and they may bolt even after the fireworks have died down. It is important to monitor your pet throughout the evening.
While your pet is inside, turn on the television or music to drown out or distract from the fireworks noises. The music/television doesn’t have to be blasting, but you want it loud enough to distract from the outside. Another tip is to keep your pet busy! Give your pet a special food-stuffed toy or long-lasting chew treat. While some dogs or cats might be too scared to eat, those who are food-motivated, this can distract. Before taking them inside, EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE! Tire you dog or cat out so they’re also tired before you have them settle in for a night where fireworks are going to be rampant. Some residents have also reported success with anxiety with Thundershirts (http://www.thundershirt.com), which are available online and at local pet boutiques.
Some dogs or cats have such great anxiety that veterinarians will recommend that they become sedated before the festivities begin. If you worry that your pet will not be able to handle the fireworks, talk to your vet about possible prescriptions for anxiety. Do NOT try to give your dog or cat over-the-counter medication for humans. Please consult with your vet.
If your pet does get loose, it’s important to, help find him/her with microchip identification. Collars and tags can fall off so make sure you have permanent ID with a microchip. Local vets in the Chicagoland area use Home Again (http://public.homeagain.com/) as their main microchip provider. However, there are other microchip providers are available and something you can discuss with your vet. Interestingly, a recent study showed that less than 2% of cats without microchips were returned home. However, if a cat is microchipped, the returned home rate is 20 times higher than if the cat was not microchipped. It’s also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pets in case you have to put up signs or put them on certain lost pet websites on social media (e.g., https://www.facebook.com/LostDogsIllinois, https://www.facebook.com/lostcatsofillinois).
Do not leave your pet in cars!
It’s finally warm in Chicago! While the warmth is a blessing for all of us, it’s anything but in your car especially for your dog or cat. On an otherwise pleasantly warm day, temperatures inside a car can rise to dangerous levels within minutes. For example, today the high is 82 degrees. On a day like today, the temperature inside a car even with the windows cracked open can reach 102 degrees within just 10 minutes and after 30 minutes the temperature will reach 118 degrees!
One more thing to keep in mind, with the rise of car break-ins in the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, and Lakeview, a dog or cat in a car is an invitation for theft (of your pet, the car, or both). Protect your pet by taking him/her with you when you leave the car, or leaving your fur baby at home if they cannot join in the fun.
Use Pet-Friendly Insect Repellants and Sunscreens!
The ASPCA cautions, “Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.” Citronella candles, insect coils and oil products should be kept out of reach of animals. The ASPCA further cautions that, “Ingestion can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.”
If you’re worried about insects getting around your cat or dog, there are pet-friendly insect repellants available. For pet owners, there are also pet-friendly sunscreens available for you. Consult with your veterinarian about which product would serve your pet the best.
Fire Bad! And so is Lighter Fluid
Who doesn’t love a barbeque? Who doesn’t? But the necessary tools to get just the right crisp on your burger or veggie burger are harmful to your pets. Chlorates are found in some matches. The ASPCA identifies The ASPCA lists chlorates as a harmful chemical substance that if ingested can cause your cat or dog difficulty in breathing, damage blood cells or even cause kidney disease. If your fur baby is exposed to lighter fluid, they may suffer from skin irritation upon contact, or respiratory problems if they inhale it, or gastric problems if ingested.
Beer also Bad… for your Pet
As we have discussed in past blogs, alcohol can be extremely toxic to your animal. If your pet consumes alcohol, they can become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma, or in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Even beer is toxic. Fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to dogs and cats alike.
Those Big Eyes are Cute & Tempting, but Resist the Urge to Give Table Scraps! As discussed in a previous blog, table scraps can be toxic for animals. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. Don’t forget! Foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.