July Fourth festivities pose a ton of pet party fouls that can result in emergency hospitalization or surgery. Fortunately, with a little bit of planning and preparation beforehand, you and your four-legged friend can enjoy the holiday to the max without committing our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team’s top five July Fourth pet party fouls.

Pet party foul #1: Forgoing protection against insects

Prevention tip: Nothing puts a damper on a party quite like itchy bug bites that you cannot stop scratching. When your furry pal falls victim to bloodsucking pests, such as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks, they develop more than irritation, they can also contract potentially life-threatening diseases. While you may want to douse your pet in insect repellent to keep them safe, spraying your four-legged friend with an N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET)-containing product or one that contains certain essential oils can cause toxicity and neurologic problems.

Keep your pet safe from insects by administering veterinarian-approved and pet-friendly parasite prevention. Flea, tick, and heartworm prevention can protect your furry pal from parasitic diseases. In addition, when you apply a pet-safe insect repellent to your pet’s fur, you help protect them from various bugs’ bites. Talk with our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team to learn about the safest insect repellent for your pet.

Pet party foul #2: Staying in the hot sun too long

Prevention tip: When you and your furry pal are having too much fun in the sun to head indoors, your pet is at risk for heatstroke. Pets who are overweight, flat-faced (i.e., brachycephalic), or double-coated, or who have cardiac or respiratory conditions are more likely to overheat, but all pets are susceptible. When enjoying a hot summer day with your pet, provide plenty of fresh, cool water and stay in the shade. A cool breeze under a leafy tree can help prevent your pet from overheating, especially when you offer them a frosty treat such as a frozen yogurt-filled Kong or pet-friendly pupsicle.

If your pet shows overheating signs, such as panting heavily, drooling, lethargy, or disorientation, head inside to an air-conditioned room. Point a fan at your pet’s face and offer cool water, but do not force them to drink or cover them with wet towels. Pets cool off best through evaporation, so running cool water over them and encouraging evaporation with a fan works better than trapping in their body heat with a wet towel.

Pet party foul #3: Leaving the grill unguarded

Prevention tip: A hungry pet can’t ignore the temptation of a barbecue grill loaded with sizzling meat, corn on the cob, or kebabs. If your pet tries to snag a T-bone off the grill, they could scorch their nose, mouth, or paws, or inadvertently start a fire if they knock over the grill. If your pet succeeds in stealing food from the grill, they can potentially develop pancreatitis, a gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction, or injury from a wooden or metal skewer.

To avoid having to go to your local emergency veterinary hospital, you must ensure your pet keeps their paws off most cookout foods. The best way to protect your pet from being injured or developing a digestive emergency is to erect a barricade to block their access to the grill, which can remain hot for hours after use. Inside this barricaded area, stash grilling supplies to ensure your pet doesn’t chew on grill brushes, lighter fluid containers, or charcoal bags. As meat roasts on the grill, food aromas waft throughout your yard, tempting your pet, and you must be especially mindful of blocking their access to the grill, barbecue tools, and the surrounding area.

Pet party foul #4: Using the swimming pool as a watering hole

Prevention tip: A hot pet may be tempted to lap up a swimming pool’s cool water to quench their thirst, but the chemicals used to treat pool water can be toxic when consumed in large quantities. In addition, if your pet overreaches while straining for a drink, they can fall in and drown.

Keep your pet away from the pool unless you are closely supervising their swim sessions, and provide plenty of fresh water to discourage them from drinking from it. If your pet is not a strong swimmer, outfit them in a safety vest. 

Pet party foul #5: Heading to the fireworks show

Prevention tip: While you may consider the fireworks show a July Fourth festivity’s highlight, your pet likely does not feel the same. In fact, extremely few pets truly enjoy a fireworks show’s deafening, dazzling spectacle. Rather than dragging your pet along to view the explosive display, set them up with a cozy, safe space at home. Give your furry pal the perfect place to relax with a plush bed, engaging food puzzle, long-lasting treat, and their favorite toy.

Prevent a pet emergency from ruining your July Fourth celebration. Plan ahead to help ensure your pet’s wellbeing stays intact during the festivities. Call our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team if your four-legged friend needs anti-anxiety medication to help keep them calm during a nearby fireworks show or to refill their parasite prevention medication.