Many pet owners will celebrate July 4th with barbeques, pool parties and fireworks, but they may not realize these seemingly harmless traditions can have catastrophic consequences for their four-legged family members. Nearly one-in-five lost pets first go missing after being scared by the sound of fireworks, thunderstorms or other loud noises.
To help pet parents find their lost animals, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) developed an interactive smart phone app. Utilizing the latest field research, this free tool that can be downloaded at www.ASPCAapp.org provides users with an individual search plan based on their pet’s behavior and individual circumstances so searches can happen quickly and effectively. Users can also easily build a digital lost pet flyer that can be shared instantly on social media networks.
“Losing your pet is heartbreaking, but there are other dangers lurking in your own backyard that might not cross your mind as you celebrate this 4th of July,” said Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. “It’s critical that pet owners consider their animals’ well-being during holiday celebrations, and when enjoying the outdoors all season long.”
Below are the top five tips pet owners need to know to safely enjoy the dog (and cat) days of summer:
- Safe Travels. Traveling can be highly stressful for our pets. If you’re planning a road trip, prep your pet in advance by taking short rides in the car and getting them used to riding in a crate or car harness. “Pet owners should never leave their animals unattended in a parked vehicle,” said Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA Animal Hospital. “Parked cars, even with windows open, become very hot in a short amount of time and could lead to heatstroke or death.” Alert others to the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars by sharing thisinfographic with friends and family on your social media networks.
- Keep Cool. Dogs and cats can become dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of water when the weather is is hot. Always make sure your pet has a shady place to escape the sun and don’t let your dog linger outdoors, especially on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your dog’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can get burned.
- Watch What They Eat. Summertime can be perfect for backyard barbecues or parties, but the food and drinks should be served only to people, not pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, and remember that any change of diet – even just treating them to a bite of your festive food – may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Make sure to avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol, all of which are toxic to pets.
- Beware of “High-Rise Syndrome.” During warmer months, many animal hospitals and veterinarians across the country see an increase in injured animals as a result of “High-Rise Syndrome,” which is when pets fall or jump out of windows and are seriously or fatally injured. Keep all unscreened windows in your home closed and make sure screens are tightly secured.
- Love the Leash. Warm weather can inspire longer walks, and while this is exciting for both dog and owner, it’s important that dogs are always kept on leash – with collars and up-to-date ID tags and microchips – to protect them from getting loose and injuring themselves or others.