Vet Blog

Pet Safety and July Fourth: The Facts

June 04, 2023

While most people enjoy soaking up the sun, summer is the worst season for pets with noise phobias.

July Fourth fireworks often continue for weeks after the holiday, and seasonal thunderstorms add to the pet's distress. In addition, July Fourth can pose several pet dangers other than noise. The Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center team shares July Fourth and summer pet safety facts to help pet owners prepare for this hazardous season.

Noise Phobias to Fireworks and Thunderstorms Affect Two-thirds of Dogs

Up to 67% of dogs have noise aversion, with fireworks and thunderstorms the most common triggers, and posing a double threat during July Fourth and beyond. Dogs with this condition experience anxiety and panic when they hear a trigger noise and may respond in various ways, from lip-licking, yawning, or trembling, to panicked escape attempts from the perceived noise source.

Whether a pet's reaction to noise seems mild or severe to their owner, all noise-averse pets need treatment, or their condition will worsen over time with repeated noise exposure. Talk to our team about the best treatments for your pet-options typically include prescription medications, training to reduce the panic response, and environmental management strategies, such as playing soothing music, providing a secure hiding place, or using anxiety wraps.

More Pets Go Missing in the Summer Than in Any Other Season

Noise aversion is a significant reason why pets go missing during summer, according to the American Kennel Club. Pets hear booms from fireworks or storms and instinctively run, often breaking free from their enclosures. Pets also frequently get loose in summer as guests come and go during gatherings and leave doors or gates open.

Seeking treatment for noise-averse pets before the summer season, keeping pets indoors during fireworks and storms, and putting signs on your exit doors during parties will help keep your pet safe this summer. Also, ask our team about microchipping your pet to increase their chances of a safe return if they get lost.

Pets Are Susceptible to Heatstroke From the Summer Sun

Remember the blazing July sun when you plan this July Fourth event. Provide pets with shade and cool water while outside, and with frequent breaks in indoor air conditioning. Pay special attention to puppies, kittens, senior pets, and pets with thick coats, extra fat, or underlying medical conditions that make them more susceptible to heatstroke. Brachycephalic pets with flat faces (e.g., bulldogs, pugs) cannot tolerate heat for more than a few minutes and should be kept indoors during the hottest hours of the day.

July Fourth Barbecue Food and Drink Can Harm Pets

Vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis, foreign body obstruction, or food toxicities can occur when pets eat human food. Ensure guests use clearly marked trash receptacles that pets cannot reach, and ask them not to share food or drink with pets. Instead, provide guests with a jar of healthy treats if they want to interact with and reward your pets. Thoroughly clean up the yard after the event, and ensure all food and drink remnants and any fireworks debris from the neighbors are put in a secure trash can.

Pets Benefit From Insect Repellent and Sunscreen, Too

If the bugs or shining sun bother you, they also bother your pet. Sunscreen is a good idea for pets with sparse hair or sensitive skin, and insect repellents are helpful for all pets exposed to mosquitoes or flies. Human products are unsafe for pet use and can lead to toxicity, but pet-specific formulas are available through online retailers or your local pet store. Most pet insect repellents come in a spray or wipe form and act for only a few hours, and do not take the place of your pet's regular, monthly flea and tick prevention product. Ask our team for recommendations and more information if your pet is not receiving a regular flea and tick preventive, which is essential in preventing vector-borne disease.

While summer is challenging for noise-averse pets, and also fraught with other dangers, proactive measures can ensure they remain safe year-round. Contact us to discuss noise aversion treatments or obtain prescription anti-anxiety medications for your pet before an anticipated noisy or stressful event. Our Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center team can also refer you to a local veterinary behaviorist or a professional trainer for pets who need extra help during the summer months.