4th of July Safety for Pets
Everyone talks about what to do on the actual Holiday to protect your pets, but the reality is people start shooting off fireworks the night before. The reality is that every year dogs get lost and cats get harmed. Let's pledge to not let that happen to your pets this year.
Mr.Frisky's Tips for Pet Safety leading up to AND on the 4th of July
Plan ahead to bring dogs and cats indoors at least the night before the 4th, on the 3rd or if the 4th falls on a Sunday or Monday you might want to bring them in as of that Friday evening.
Especially for Dogs:
Dogs will of course still need potty breaks in the backyard but go with them on these evenings. People throw fireworks over fences and bottle rockets can land anywhere. Last year one almost hit me on the head when I was out back with my dog (it was shot off by the HOA president who is also an Attorney and didn't care fireworks here are against the law).
If you don't let your dog have the run of the house, make sure the area you enclose him in has space for him to get up and move around, has water, food, toys and a soft bed as he'll need to be indoors mostly from the 3rd until the 5th. I've used a laundry room, gate off the kitchen area for them (see picture below), or a spare bedroom for this purpose (although my dogs usually have the run of the house).
Especially for Cats:
If you leave your cats outdoors, a couple days ahead of the 4th when they come home for food, set them up in a "Kitty Hilton" (see picture below). It's a spare room where you've got food, water, bed, litter, toys, and a scratching post or some kind of scratcher. A cat last year in Richmond had a firecracker put in it's anus and detonated. Sadly some people think this is part of 4th of July festivities. Don't let this happen to your cat.
Window and Door Safety:
Ensure you have gates across your window screens if you open windows during this time (or any time is really best; cats go through screens all the time). See pictures below.
For dogs and cats, have a gate around the inside of exterior doors. If you happen to be opening the door right when a blast goes off, your dog may bolt. I saw my neighbor running down the street in her pajamas last year when this happened in the morning, and their dog didn't come back for 36 hours during which time she was beside herself with upset. This can happen with indoor only cats too. See pictures below.
Finally, just in case something does happen, know the location and phone number of the nearest animal emergency hospital that is open 24/7 including Holidays. I have a refrigerator magnet with the three local ones nearest me. I got it from the one closest to me as with all the rescues I have had to be there on many a late night and Holiday. Like 2 legged kids, they don't get sick Monday-Friday, 9-5. It's always at 2am or a Holiday!
Stay safe and enjoy your 4th!