It’s summer time! Whether you’re getting out your camping gear, planning a BBQ, or anticipating the 4th of July fireworks, we’d like to offer some tips to keep your pets safe this summer.
4th of July
Most pets are frightened by loud, sudden noises, especially fireworks. Unfortunately, this is a time of year that animal control and rescues see pets being lost because they bolted away from the noises of fireworks. So your best plan – be prepared! So while you plan your family fireworks displays and BBQ fun, don’t forget about your pets.
Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe from Fireworks
- Keep pets indoors and away from fireworks.
Pets typically are afraid of loud noises. Before it gets dark and the fireworks start, bring your pet indoors. Give them a safe place for them to snuggle up with their favorite things such as bed, blanket, and toys. If you cannot bring your pet indoors, ensure they are secured so they cannot get out of the yard, pen, stall, etc.
- Don’t force them out of hiding.
If they want to hide, don’t force them out of their hiding place. This will just add more stress. Just make the environment as calm as possible. Turning on the TV or music may help muffle some of the noise from the fireworks.
- Use calming remedies.
Calming remedies come in very handy during times of stress for a pet, especially during fireworks. You can usually find something at your local pet food store.
- ID Tags and Microchips
Ideally, your pet should be microchipped in case your pet should ever get away from you or lost. If your pet isn’t microchipped yet, please make sure they have a collar on with your contact information and get your pet microchipped as soon as possible.
- Wrap them up
Dog and cat stress can often be managed by wrapping material around your pet to help calm them. The slight pressure on the body produces a calming effect, similar to swaddling babies. Thundershirt is one brand but you can also find videos online to make your own wrap.
Pets can become overheated and dehydrated quickly. Therefore, it’s important to take measures to prevent this but also to know the signs so you can handle them quickly.
- Give them plenty of fresh, clean water.
Pets need their water bowls cleaned and refreshed every day, especially during hot weather.
- Never leave your animal alone in a parked car.
Don’t ever leave your pet alone in the car, even for a brief pit stop. The temperature in a car can heat up rapidly. For example, on an 85-degree day, even with the windows opened; your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. So take your pet with you. It takes some work, but you can search the web ahead of your trip for restaurants that are pet friendly. Here is an example of a website that promotes pet friendly restaurants. You can also visit drive-through restaurants. Also, many restaurants during COVID 19 restrictions are offering free delivery. For example, you can go to Grub Hub to find restaurants with free delivery.
- Planning a hike with your dog? Be prepared!
If you are going to take your dog on a hike, make sure they have a clean bill of health from their vet. Just a few days ago there was a story in the Good News Network of a hero saving a dog who collapsed on a trail. The owner had brought water for the dog but the dog still couldn’t handle the trek. So it’s important to make sure they are fit for a hike as well as bring plenty of water for you and your dog.
- Never shave your pet.
Some people think that shaving their pets in the summer will help them stay cooler. This is not the case. Our pets’ coats have several layers that are essential to their comfort in the heat. Robbing your pet of this natural cooling system can lead to discomfort, overheating, and other serious dangers like sunburn or skin cancer. However, grooming your pet is okay. This will help make their fur more manageable.
Signs and Symptoms of Overheating
One of the most obvious signs of overheating is excessive panting or breathing. While dogs normally pant, excessive or rapid panting could mean your dog is overheating. Cats do not normally pant. So if a cat is panting they are under some sort of stress. Below are normal resting heart rates for dogs and cats:
Most dogs and cats have a normal resting respiratory rate with breaths per minute ranging between the mid-teens to mid-20s. In general, a resting respiratory rate of over 35-40 breaths per minute is considered abnormal. If you think your pet is panting or breathing more rapidly than normal, contact your vet immediately!
- Important note: Keep pets with medical conditions indoors on hot days. Hot weather can set off an emergency in pets with medical conditions, such as with pets that have congestive heart failure.
Play it safe. Keep your pets indoors during fireworks and make sure they stay well hydrated and safe from hot weather. Happy 4th of July!
Stacey Funderburk D.V.M.