Events can scare pets

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Picnics, parades and fireworks all are traditional activities for many families celebrating Independence Day. While it is a fun-filled holiday for people, July 4 can be very frightening for your pets.

Dr. Elisabeth Giedt, director of Continuing Education, Extension and Community Engagement at the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University, said not only can these activities be scary for your pets, they also can be dangerous.

“There are a number of things associated with this holiday that aren’t good for your pets. Loud fireworks scare animals. Some traditional holiday foods aren’t good for pets to eat. Even debris left on the ground from spent fireworks pose a threat to your pet. Fortunately, there’s still time to prepare to keep your pets safe before the festivities begin,” Giedt said.

First, make sure all your pets have an identification tag with up-to-date information. If your pet has a microchip, confirm all contact information is current. Should your pet happen to get scared and run away, information associated with the microchip will greatly improve the chance of getting your pet back.

Most pet owners already have cute photos of their pet, but make sure you have photos showing distinct markings.

Horse owners may want to consider putting contact information on a breakaway halter in the event horses become frightened due to fireworks going off nearby.

“On the actual holiday, as much as you love to take your pets everywhere, it’s best to leave them at home if you’re planning to attend parties, parades, cookouts or fireworks displays. Unfamiliar places, coupled with crowds and loud noises, can be overwhelming for your pet and there’s a considerable risk of your pet becoming spooked and running away,” she said. “Also, if your pets are home alone, turn on a television or radio to help drown out the noise of fireworks going off in your neighborhood. It’s a good idea to leave on a few lights, too.”

Keep your horses and other livestock in safety fenced areas as far from the activities and noise as possible.

For those hosting events at home, let your guests know there are pets in the house. If possible, keep the animals confined to a closed room in the house to help ensure they do not escape.

“Everyone enjoys a good cookout, but avoid the urge to feed your pet table scraps. Some foods are actually toxic to animals, including chocolate, onions, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins and avocados,” Giedt said.

Once the last sparkler and Roman candle have gone out, do a sweep of your yard to ensure there are no spent fireworks or other hazards your pet could find. Fireworks contain chemicals that are dangerous for your pets.

“Prevention is the key when it comes to having a safe, enjoyable holiday for everyone involved, including Fido and Fluffy,” she said. “Taking a few precautions ahead of time, as well as on the day of the celebration, will help ensure everyone has a great 4th of July holiday.”