July Fourth celebrations bring you good times and great eats, but your pets may struggle with noise aversion, food dangers, overheating, and other hazards. To help your furry pal make the most of an Independence Day celebration, our Driftwood Animal Hospital team shares a conversation between Willow and Nugget,* who are discussing staying out of trouble during the holiday and all summer gatherings.
Willow’s words of wisdom about pets’ July Fourth dangers
Our Driftwood Animal Hospital Team relays a conversation between Willow the dog and Nugget the kitten. Willow is coaching Nugget—her new four-legged housemate—on how to avoid all the dangers a July Fourth celebration can throw their way.
Willow: Listen up, young kitten. Your first July Fourth festivities are approaching, and while you may think you’re in for a treat, this holiday can be incredibly dangerous to pets who do not know any better.
Nugget: I’m all ears, Willow! Well, I’m mostly tail and whiskers, but I’ll listen to your advice, as you haven’t steered me wrong yet.
Willow: That’s what I’m here for, Nugget. Now first, our family is likely planning a large party to celebrate Independence Day, since I’ve seen them bringing in boxes of fireworks and bags of delicious cookout foods. I know you cats enjoy chasing bright lights, but you won’t like fireworks—they come with ear-splitting explosions that rattle your bones. And, there is no salmon in those bags. I already sniffed through them, and it’s those grilling foods and side salads humans enjoy.
Nugget: I don’t like the sound of those fireworks! What’s the best way to hide from them?
Willow: Last year, our humans set up a sanctuary for me, and you’re welcome to share the space. Our family placed a soft bed lined with a flannel blanket in the quietest room in the house, and turned on their sound machine to play white noise, drowning out the ear-splitting fireworks’ bangs. I’m pretty scared of loud sounds, so to help soothe me, the family put me in a compression wrap. And, as I’ve gotten older, loud sounds make me more anxious, so Dr. Langford at Driftwood Animal Hospital has been prescribing anti-anxiety medication for me. Taking this medication in advance of the fireworks show really helps me stay calm, and I can focus on my peanut butter-filled Kong instead of those noisy explosions.
Nugget: That sounds like the perfect hideout, Willow! I hope the family fills my Kong with something tastier than peanut butter, though.
Willow: I’m sure they’ll stick some of that stinky tuna you like so much in there, Nugget. Consider that your holiday treat instead of any foods they’ll serve at their cookout. Typically, they’ll have grilled meat and a variety of side salads—the unhealthy sort of salad. While chowing down on a chicken leg sounds like a great idea, don’t do it. Tiny bones become brittle once cooked and can easily pierce your gastrointestinal tract or cause an obstruction that requires emergency surgical removal. And, those side salads are often seasoned with ingredients like onions, garlic, and chives, which can destroy our red blood cells. It’s best we stick to our regular pet-friendly foods.
Nugget: Oh, wow! I had no idea that all those delicious foods could be so dangerous for me. Raiding the picnic table or trash can is out of the question when so many grilled foods have bones. Thanks for the heads-up, Willow.
Willow: No problem, kiddo. Another thing I’m sure our humans will keep in mind is to monitor your temperature and comfort level if you venture outside to your catio. Fortunately, that enclosure will keep you from falling in the pool, but it can get pretty warm in the bright sun and high humidity. If you get overheated, you will feel sluggish and weak, and you might start panting and drooling, which, as you know, is unusual for cats. But not to worry, the family will bring you inside or move your well-ventilated catio to a cooler, shadier yard area.
Nugget: Yeah, my black fur really soaks up the sunlight, and it can get pretty hot when I’m snoozing in a sunny window. What’s this pool thing you’re talking about?
Willow: A swimming pool is a large hole filled with chemically treated water. Our humans’ pool is deep and goes well over my head—trust me, I learned this by accident—and the chlorine taste is disgusting as you groom it out of your fur. If you drink too much treated water, or venture out into the deep end, you can end up in trouble, so stay far away from the pool.
Nugget: Well, it’s a good thing I don’t like to get my paws wet! I’ll stick to my sunny window, thank you very much.
Willow: Good thinking, Nugget. Now, as long as you stay indoors, and don’t dart outside when party guests arrive, you should stay safe this July Fourth. And, when the fireworks start, we’ll hunker down together in our cozy retreat, and enjoy our favorite treats.
Nugget: That sounds like a great plan, Willow! Thank you for all your tips.
Willow: Stick with me, kid, and you’ll do just fine.
If your pet does not have a mentor like Willow at home to help them stay out of trouble during your July Fourth celebration, contact our Driftwood Animal Hospital team for additional suggestions on keeping your pets safe and feeling secure during all your summer get-togethers.
*Willow and Nugget are fictitious pets, but Willow sure knows her stuff!