BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions: Pet Safety Tips for July 4th

Five Important Tips to Keep Pets Safe During Holiday Festivities

HOUSTON, TX – The 4th of July is a holiday of fun in the sun, great food, and beautiful fireworks to celebrate our country’s birthday. While it is fun to involve pets in the holiday festivities, it is important to keep in mind the potential of hazardous conditions. BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions provides five easy tips for pet owners to remember that will help ensure their pet’s safety while enjoying this fun holiday.

“When visiting with friends and family, it is easy to get distracted and not think about what your pet might be up to,” said Ashtyn Rivet, BARC Deputy Assistant Director. “It is important to consistently check on your pet and make sure not only that they are near you, but also that they have a good amount of water and shade.”

Tip 1: Never share party food and drinks with pets

Do not share party food with pets. Although it is tempting to share “people food” with your four-legged friend during July 4th festivities, many human foods can be dangerous or even deadly for dogs, cats, and other types of pets. Click here to see ASPCA’s list of foods that can be toxic for animals. Please keep in mind that this includes your trash. Remember to dispose of any leftover food waste in appropriate garbage bins. Also, be sure to keep all alcohol out of reach of pets. Pets may become curious about open containers of alcohol and try it for themselves; this can intoxicate them and become dangerous or even deadly.

Tip 2: Keep your pets cool and hydrated

Sufficient shade and cool water is important for your pet to have while outdoors. Summer temperatures can cause pets to dehydrate or overheat. Pets cannot regulate heat like humans and must be monitored carefully in hot weather. Their paws are also susceptible to heat, so be sure to keep pets off hot asphalt, concrete or sand. Signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, lethargy, loss of appetite, dry mouth and depression. Signs of overheating include disorientation and fast, heavy breathing. Other possible signs include collapsing or convulsing, bright red or blue gums, vomiting, diarrhea and weakness.

Tip 3: Pets and fireworks don’t mix

Pets and fireworks are not a good combination. The loud crackles and noises can easily frighten pets, potentially causing them to run away. Never use fireworks around pets. Lit fireworks can result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face of curious pets, but even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many contain potentially toxic substances. Additionally, loud noises can cause pain for their sensitive ears. Placing your pets in the quietest area of the home may help to make them feel safer. Closed curtains and noise from the radio or TV may also help to drown the noise.

Tip 4: Beware of insect repellent

Use extreme caution while using insect repellents around pets. In Houston, mosquitos and other pests can be a nuisance. This can lead some homeowners to use insect repellant around their pets, but this can be dangerous. It would be much better if homeowners considered contacting a company like Economy Exterminators to deal with the problem instead. They may have some different products that can remove these pests quickly, without harming your pets. Never apply insect repellent products to your pet that are not labeled specifically for use on animals, try to remove the pests instead. Also ensure that citronella candles, insect coils and oil products are out of reach of pets. Ingestion can upset their stomachs or even cause central nervous system issues.

Tip 5: Keep an eye on your pets at all times

The best rule of thumb during the 4th of July is to always keep an eye on your pet. This holiday in particular is full of outside activities and it can be easy for pets to wander off without anyone knowing. With fences and doors opening and closing as guests come and go, pets can escape and become lost. It might be worth investing in a wireless fence so you don’t need to worry about them wondering off. Fuzzy Rescue has a good page on the topic if you would like more information. Many pets are lost during the July 4th holiday. In fact, more pets are lost that day than any other day of the year, according to Petfinder.

“We see many pets come into BARC that clearly come from a loving home, but are not wearing identification,” said Rivet. “We want everyone’s pets to remain safe and close to home during the holiday, so please make sure your pet has secure identification at all times.”

Find a few tips below to help ensure pets are reunited with their families:

Make sure your pets wear well-fitted collars and securely attached and visible City License ID tags. Having pets currently licensed, microchipped, and wearing tags will ensure a quick ticket home. Make sure your veterinarian and microchip monitoring service have accurate contact information so they may reach you in the event your pet becomes lost.

Take a photo of your pet before July 4th. Just in the case your pet gets lost, you have a recent photo for others to identify him or her.

If your pet escapes, please visit the BARC website or come in person to look for your lost pet. BARC is located at 3300 Carr Street, Houston, TX 77026.

Need more tips? Many pet enthusiasts have blogs online (with Central Park Paws as one example), and you can find some good advice on these pages that could help soothe your pet during all the festivities. Alternatively, make sure to talk to your vet for advice if you’re ever unsure.

Though the 4th of July is an exciting time to celebrate with friends and family, it is important to ensure the safety of your pet if they are joining in the fun.

Pet Adoption Special at BARC this Weekend:

BARC will host a $5 pet adoption special for dogs 5 months and older from Saturday, July 1st through Monday, July 3rd. Cats and kittens are $1 through September. Thanks to Proler Southwest/Sims Metal Management for sponsoring the event. Visit BARC’s Facebook page to find information about BARC adoptions across the community this weekend. Please note that BARC will be closed to the public on Tuesday, July 4th.