The Fourth of July can be stressful for pets and their parents — loud, booming fireworks don't exactly inspire calm in animals, and the anxiety can even cause them to run away and become lost.
Houston SPCA chief veterinarian Dr. Roberta Westbrook wants pet owners to avoid this tragedy with six simple reminders.
1. Check the chip and ID tag for updated information
Now is the perfect time to ensure your pet’s microchip and ID tag information is accurate. The Houston SPCA reunites around 300 pets annually with an updated microchip, so be sure to update your current phone number.
2. It’s hot!
There's no such thing as too much fresh drinking water and shade if you’re going to be outdoors for a while. If your pet is a licker, keep adult beverages, sunscreen, and citronella candles away from canines and felines — they are toxic to pets!
3. Puppy dog eyes at the table
Dogs know when they smell something good, since they have more than 100 million scent receptors compared to our six million. Foods that can cause obstructions like chicken bones (especially for small dogs) and corn on the cob can require costly surgical removal. Chocolate, avocado, and alcohol can be toxic, so keep an eye on the table.
4. Look before you pop
Be mindful of your pets when they are running near fire pits, sparklers, and fireworks.
5. Give pets a safe space
You’ll want to include your pets in the festivities, but know your pet’s location. If your pet is nervous, they can slip out the door or an open gate. Consider putting him or her in a kennel or quiet room until all the guests have arrived. If you plan on watching a fireworks display at an outdoor venue, consider keeping your pet safely inside at home.
6. Keep pets distracted during the fireworks
The best way to help anxious pets get through a night of fireworks is to distract them. Tire them out with active play or an early morning walk, turn your television or radio on low to help drown out the fireworks, and offer special treats or food puzzles to help keep them busy.
Don’t have a pet? The Houston SPCA Adoption Center will be open on July 4 from 11 am-6 pm. Come find your new best friend.