Frightening fireworks and increased activity can make dogs and cats behave in unexpected ways. More pets are lost during this holiday period than any other time of year. Here are some tips for a healthy, happy howliday.

Top Tips To Keep Your Pet Safe:
  1. Use a calming remedy and/or give your dog a high value favorite chew.
  2. Ensure that your dog is wearing an ID tag with current contact info and that microchip registration is up-to-date. Check that his collar fits properly.
  3. Keep your house and yard secure. 
  4. Know how to contact your local animal control services and shelters. There are many area shelters where your dog or cat may be dropped off, but you can start with the San Diego County Animal Shelter.
  5. Keep food out of range of your opportunistic, independent hunter.
Keep them calm:
  • Chewing is a natural calming aid. Be sure to have some favorites such as bully sticks, stuffed and frozen Kongs, long lasting and tasty Himalayan Dog Chews, and/or Earth Animal No-Hide chews.
  • Consider an anxiety wrap, some dogs find them very soothing.
  • Be sure that a cool area with plenty of fresh drinking water is accessible to your pet. A dehydrated dog or cat is already stressed.
  • Walk your dog early in the day before random launchings of fireworks begin. Plan an extra long walk or trip to the beach so he's worn out.
  • Background sound from your TV, radio, or music player helps muffle fireworks and noisy revelers. Close curtains and blinds to reduce stimulation.
  • Homeopathic remedies, flower essences, and aromatherapies often help calm stressed dogs and cats. Be sure to try them out first to determine which ones work for your dog or cat. Consult your vet if you’re unsure of any product or if your pet is easily stressed or excitable — a prescription may be appropriate for this special day. Some over-the-counter remedies include:
Keep them secure:
  • Create an escape-proof area in your home. A dog can easily break out of a window, screened or glass, and even climb a fence when panicked!
  • If they absolutely must have access to the yard, ensure all fencing and gates are solid.
  • If you can’t be sure you can keep your dog or cat safely in your house then consider boarding them.

Be prepared if the worst happens:
  • Be sure your current contact information is on the collar tag, and that your pet’s microchip registration is up-to-date.
  • Collars should fit securely: You should be able to comfortably fit two fingers, side-by-side, under the collar without any excess room. Use your pinky fingers if your dog is under 20 pounds.
  • Animal shelters are overwhelmed during the 4th of July holiday — don’t expect them to call you if your pet ends up in their care. If you travel with your dog or cat take note of the animal shelters in the area.
  • If your dog or cat gets lost, or if you find a stray, contact the County of San Diego Animal Services. They have helpful information regarding what you should do if you've lost your pet or if you've found a stray.

A word on food and picnic safety:
  • Even the best behaved dog might be tempted enough to grab food from an untended, hot grill. From bones to burns this can lead to more disastrous consequences than someone going hungry.
  • When you’ve finished your cooking, keep hot coals out of dog and cat zones.
  • Grease drippings during and after cooking is an incredibly delectable treat, and dogs will actually eat whatever is coated in the grease: rocks, sands, leaves, etc.
  • Even if your dog or cat isn’t usually a table/counter surfer, don’t tempt them. Keep food trays up high and pushed back from the edge.
  • Ask your guests to not share their food with your dog. Too many hotdogs, sausages, or cheeseburgers, as well as any onions or rib bones can send you to the animal ER. Beware of corn cobs — they can quickly become an intestinal blockage. 
  • If you’re celebrating at a park, on Fiesta Island, or even at a friend's house take care — foxtails are everywhere this time of year. We think of them only getting stuck up the nose, in an ear, down the throat, or between the toes, but they can become embedded anywhere in the skin!

With a little planning you can make Independence Day fun for you and less scary for your furry loved ones.