Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.
A good rule of thumb is that your dogs and cats likely don’t want to watch the fireworks with you and should not be around those backyard/neighborhood displays.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but we see far too many cases of injuries, burns and ingestion of the toxic substances found in many fireworks. Additionally, the sounds, smells and sights can be downright terrifying for some.
Noise phobias, especially, can be very distressing (to both owner and fur-child) and while many animals may just get a little anxious with the sound of fireworks — some go into an all-out distressed panic.
If you know that your pet is noise-phobic please have a discussion with your veterinarian about the use of anti-anxiety medications, sedatives and non-pharmacologic strategies to manage noise-phobias… NOW (don’t wait until right before the festivities!); and have a safe, quiet and escape-proof place to keep your pet.
Additional considerations and tips for a safe 4th with your fur-kids are below:
- Keep your pets safe and indoors!
- Have your pets identified — make sure they have a collar with an identification tag and/or a microchip that is up to date on its registration.
- Resist feeding cook-out/table scraps… many pets do not tolerate dietary change, and these foods can lead to inflammation of the stomach, intestine and pancreas; and some items may require surgical removal (corn cobs, cooked rib bones, skewers, etc.)!
- Glow sticks and citronella candles/repellants are also irritating to your pet’s GI tract and should be kept away from them
- Overheating, stress and anxiety are common issues seen with pets in these situations. While celebrating the 4th is fun for most of us bipedal human folk, our fur-kids have no idea what’s going on other than that their normal routine just got thrown out the window and we expect them to be OK with that.
- Our pets are very sensitive to the effects of alcohol — so please don’t give them any. It’s not cute to see them vomiting, having seizures or going into respiratory arrest from alcohol intoxication.
- Don’t assume your pet knows how to swim. If you’ll be spending your day pool-side on a boat or at the beach/lake/other large body of water, be sure you are watching your pet at all times and have a life-preserver for them to keep them safe.
Keep these tips in mind, and we hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July! And while we hope you don’t need it — information on a few of the local 24/7 veterinary emergency hospitals can be found here.