Practice Pet Safety During 4th of July Festivities

CHICAGO – As Independence Day draws near, doctors and staff from BluePearl Veterinary Partners recommend keeping pet safety in mind.

With all of the celebration, sweet and savory barbequed dishes, open flames and fireworks, paying attention is an important practice to keep pets from becoming injured.

Prevention is always the best form of first aid. However, in the event of a burn or injury to a furry family member, here are some first aid tips for pet parents:

  • If a pet becomes overheated, spray the animal down with room temperature or cool water, but never ice water. Ice cold water causes a decrease in blood flow to the skin and heat can’t escape the body, which makes heat exhaustion symptoms worse.
  • If a pet is burned and the burn is mild, cool the area with water and contact a veterinarian.
  • For more severe burns, cover the wound with a clean, sterile cloth. Most importantly get the pet to a family veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinary hospital as soon as possible.
  • Never put any types of cream, ointment, butter or margarine on a pet’s burn. These can introduce bacteria and other harmful substances into the burned area.

In addition to the burn itself, injured animals may not behave as usual due to pain, fear or shock. They can be unusually sensitive and become defensive, so rescuers should take their own safety into consideration when handling an injured animal.

Besides burn injuries, veterinarians usually see an uptick in emergencies related to vomiting, diarrhea and heat exhaustion during holidays.

Keep pets in an air conditioned or shaded environment during the heat of the day and limit strenuous activities like running and playing. Always make sure pets have access to plenty of fresh water.

Besides physical injuries, pets may become anxious or stressed due to fireworks and a house full of guests. This is important to remember as pets may not behave as they usually do.

If pets are frightened, try playing a game during this time to distract them or place them in a secure area like a kennel where they feel safe. Placing a blanket over the kennel can help decrease their anxiety. If a pet is often anxious during thunderstorms and while fireworks are going off, pet parents should contact their family veterinarian to see about potential helpful medications.

Furthermore, with the Fourth of July usually comes a feast of flavorful foods, but remember the same things people enjoy can harm or even kill a furry family member. Alcohol, avocado, caffeine, chives, chocolate, coffee, garlic, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions and raisins, can all have a negative effect on pets. If a pet has ingested any of these items and is displaying signs of gastrointestinal upset, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.

“Contact your family veterinarian anytime you have doubts about your pet’s health,” said Dr. Jennifer Welser, chief medical officer of BluePearl. “If an incident occurs after hours, don’t wait. Get the pet to an emergency veterinarian as soon as possible.”

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
BluePearl Veterinary Partners employs more than 1,700 people including more than 450 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals offer referral-only, specialty care services and most offer 24-hour emergency care. BluePearl does not provide primary care. The company is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship programs. BluePearl also participates in clinical trials that investigate the effectiveness of new veterinary drugs and treatments, providing pet families access to cutting-edge medicine that is not yet commercially available. BluePearl is headquartered in Tampa, Fla.