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Summer Safety Tips for Pets: Fireworks, Barbecue and Water Safety

Although summer doesn’t start until closer to the end of June, those in Northern California usually start summer activities around Memorial Day – sometimes sooner. This is the time to be especially aware of your pet’s safety, including around fireworks, water and barbecues. It’s easy to lose track of a pet who is scared of loud noises, can’t swim or has a habit of putting everything in its mouth.

Pets and Firework Safety

If your pet is scared by loud noises, fireworks can cause some problems. More dogs escape during 4th of July events than at any other time. The best solution is to keep your dog away from the festivities: bring it to a boarding facility, crate the dog at home or put it in a secure room with no windows.

Turn on soft music to help soothe your pet and speak to it quietly. In some cases, a thunder shirt or a tight t-shirt wrapped around your dog will help calm it.

If you have guests, be sure they understand that doors must be firmly latched so that your pets don’t escape. It’s better to crate your pets, but if you can’t, it would help keep your dog safe by posting a reminder note on doors leading outside.

“It is natural for dogs to be afraid of loud noises. The sounds trigger their nervous systems, and they can become anxious or afraid. Running away from the noise is a survival instinct. Remember, to your dog, the experience of fireworks is different than other natural loud noises, like thunder. Fireworks are closer to the ground, more vibrant, and are accompanied by sudden booms, flashes and burning smells. Dogs experience the world through their senses — nose, eyes, ears.”

Also, if you light fireworks in your own yard, be sure you pick everything up before letting your pets outside. Fireworks contain toxic chemicals and are not good for a pet to eat.

Outdoor Party Hazards

During the summer, outdoor party hazards are rampant. Things that you might not think twice about could land your pet at the emergency vet. Citronella, alcohol, sunscreen, fly traps, lighter fluid and insect repellent are all things that could make your pet sick.

In addition to chemicals, other dangers such as the heat, cooked bones, hot grills and corn cobs pose dangers for your pets. Corn cobs do not digest well and could cause a blockage. Cooked bones could splinter and cause internal damage.

Hot grills are a serious temptation for pets because of the smell of cooked food or because of food that is cooking. Keep your pets away to keep them from jumping up on the grill. Also, pets can get overheated just like we do. Make sure your pets have plenty of water if they’re outside with you.

Water Safety

No matter where you take your dog swimming, dangers are everywhere. Some dogs don’t know how to swim and some never learn to swim well. Even if your dog is a great swimmer, it should wear a life jacket when in the water, especially while boating. Keep your dog safe around water by following these simple tips:

  • Don’t let your dog drink salt water if you’re at the ocean. Be sure to bring plenty of fresh water for it and make sure it stays hydrated.
  • Fence the pool in your backyard. If your dog can jump the fence, be sure there’s a cover on the pool. At a minimum, be sure there are steps or a ladder and your dog knows how to get out of the pool and is able to get out.
  • Don’t let your dog swim in fresh water that has blue-green algae in it. It could make your dog sick.
  • Watch the water temperature. Your dog may not be able to handle ice cold water.

By keeping an eye on your pet during any type of summer activity, you’ll keep your pet safe and avoid an expensive trip to the vet.

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