The Fourth of July is a wonderful holiday, filled with celebrations of freedom, explosive fireworks, and mouthwatering barbecued foods. But, Independence Day is not a good time for your pet to celebrate their own independence. Keep your furry pal safe and sound this Fourth of July with our tale of warning. 

Sparky’s Fourth of July mishaps

Excited about his family’s annual Fourth of July cookout, Sparky the rat terrier began drooling, as he watched his people carry in bags full of barbecue goodies. A young pup, this was Sparky’s first Independence Day celebration, and he couldn’t wait for the fun and festivities—and most of all, the barbecued ribs.

Sparky’s backyard play area had been transformed into a red, white, and blue oasis. Streamers, balloons, and star-studded garlands adorned all the yard’s corners, while a large assortment of citronella candles kept the mosquitoes at bay. Sparky’s dad had fired up the Traeger to begin smoking his secret-recipe ribs. 

As the day wore on, more friends, neighbors, and family drifted in, with bowls and platters of all sorts of delectable side dishes and desserts. A few also toted bags and boxes of fireworks that contained everything from sparklers to Roman candles. 

Sparky was beside himself with excitement as he took in the delicious smells, new people, and party novelties. An adorable young pup, Sparky was an excellent beggar, and managed to snag morsels of potato salad, cole slaw, and those ribs he had been thinking about for days. Fortunately, Sparky had an iron stomach, and suffered no ill effects from his barbecue binge. 

Dusk approached, along with hordes of hungry mosquitoes, but thankfully, citronella candles on each table helped keep the thirsty blood-suckers at bay. Finally, the candles were lit, and it was time for the fireworks. 

Everyone spread out their blankets and set up their chairs for the best viewpoint, and Sparky snuggled in close with his family. Then, the first firework screamed into the sky, followed by an explosive bang. Sparky panicked, and took off as quickly as a bottle rocket, bolting out of the unfenced front yard and down the street, searching for a safe place to hide from that awful noise. 

In his blind panic, Sparky darted across a backyard, realizing too late there was an in-ground pool. Fortunately, the pool was uncovered, and Sparky had perfected his doggy paddle, but it was still a considerable shock. Slowed down by his unexpected dip, Sparky stopped racing away, and hid in the nearby bushes. 

As soon as Sparky darted off, the fireworks show was halted, and a search party was formed for the terrified terrier. Fortunately, the dip in the pool, while unpleasant, kept Sparky from running too far, and he and his family were soon reunited. The family wrapped up the celebration early, carried the quivering pup indoors, and tucked him safely away in his crate with a stuffed Kong.

Learn from Sparky the terrier’s mistakes

Sparky’s story had a happy ending, but true tragedies occur all too often during holiday celebrations. To keep your furry pal safe from potential disaster this Fourth of July, follow these tips:

  • Ensure identification is up-to-date Ensure your pet has current and legible collar ID tags, and updated microchip contact information, should they get spooked and run off.
  • Beware barbecue food — Keep all food out of your pet’s reach, and warn your guests not to share food. Common cookout foods can pose many health hazards to your pet, including pancreatitis, intestinal obstruction, or an upset stomach with vomiting and diarrhea. Fatty or rich foods, corn cobs, and rib bones should all be avoided, but you can spoil your pet with fresh veggies—without dip—or a small bite of a grapeless fruit salad.
  • Fear open flames — Supervise your pet around bug-repellent candles and other open flames. While a small dog is unlikely to knock over a candle on a table, a large dog can tip one over with a poorly placed tail wag. Bonfires and grills can also entice your pet to investigate the dancing flames, or smells of toasted marshmallows or grilling meats, leading to scorched paws and noses. If you choose to use an insect-repellent spray instead of candles, avoid spraying your pet, because many of these products can be toxic to pets, particularly cats.
  • Don’t allow dips in the pool — No matter how hot the weather, avoid letting your pet have unlimited access to your pool. They may drink the chemical-laden water, or struggle to swim if they get stuck under a float. If the temperature becomes uncomfortable, leave your pet in the air-conditioned indoors to avoid deadly heat stroke.

  • Provide a safe place — The majority of pets are uncomfortable, if not terrified, when faced with the loud booms and bright colors of fireworks. Rather than discovering whether your pet can handle such a potentially stressful situation, prepare a safe haven in your most sound-proof room, with a comfortable bed, plenty of toys, and a long-lasting treat or food puzzle that will keep them entertained and relaxed. Play soft music or white noise to help muffle the loud bangs. If you know your pet fears loud noises, talk to your family veterinarian about anti-anxiety medication, or a product that is specifically designed to promote calm behavior during a noisy event. 

If your furry pal gets into more trouble than Sparky did, and runs afoul of a Fourth of July mishap, contact us for urgent care.