(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
Independence Day is upon us, which means barbecues, pool parties, and of course, fireworks. This Fourth of July, Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, reminds pet owners that preparation and awareness are the keys to a pet-safe celebration.
To bring attention to the potential dangers surrounding pets during Independence Day celebrations, Nationwide sorted through its database of more than 575,000 insured pets to determine the most common Fourth of July related pet injuries. Below are the results:
• Laceration: Breaking through glass window or fence
• Toxicities: Eating chocolate or table scraps/ingesting alcohol
• Blunt Trauma: Hit by car after running in street
• Heat Stroke: Hot weather
• Burns: Fireworks
• Near Drowning: Falling in pool
• Strangulation: Collar caught on fence/jumping fence while tied up possibly caused by loud noise of fireworks
Nationwide encourages pet owners to consider these safety precautions to ensure that their furry family members are safe during this year’s celebration:
1. Set up a safe zone that is comfortable for your pet and will help block out noise. Loud noises from fireworks and other festivities can be stressful and terrifying for our pets. If your pet suffers with severe anxiety (trembling or shaking, sudden urination, pacing or frantic chewing), consult your veterinarian before the holiday regarding treatment options.
2. Leave out extra water bowls to ensure that your pet is hydrated during the day. It’s common for pet owners to forget how quickly their pets can become overheated in the warm summer weather.
3. Be aware of foods that can be toxic to your dog. Fatty foods from table scraps, garlic, onions, bones, candy, and products sweetened with Xylitol (such as sugarless gum) can all cause stomach issues. Also, be sure to keep your pet away from any alcohol that may have been spilled.
4. Never assume your dog knows how to swim. If you are attending a celebration with a pool, be sure that your dog is familiar with the edges of the pool. It your pet is allowed to swim, make sure they’re a comfortable swimmer, show them the steps to climb out of the pool, and do not leave them unattended.
5. Never leave your pets unattended or tied up in the back yard, and always keep proper identification on them. Fear from fireworks could cause pets to run away. Dogs who attempt to jump a fence while tied down risk the possibility of strangling themselves.
“The Fourth of July is a fun-filled American tradition, but it can be incredibly stressful for pets,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide. “With increased dangers that surround our pets during this summer holiday, it’s important to be extra cautious. Pet owners should pay close attention to their animals’ level of anxiety generated from the irregular activity. Providing pets with a comfortable place away from the chaos and noise of the celebration can help keep them relaxed and safe.”
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)