Fireworks, eating chocolate or table scraps, falling in the pool and car accidents are among the most common Fourth of July injuries for pets

By Amy Jamieson
June 29, 2016 02:59 PM

If you’ve been Pinterest-ing the heck out of your Fourth of July festivities, there may be one detail you totally fur-got: your pet!

How will you keep your pet safe from holiday’s dangers like fireworks, poisonous foods, and other wild party animals? Thankfully, we’re here to help.

According to BluePearl Veterinary Partners, animal hospitals see as much as a 25 percent increase in pet patients on the Fourth of July holiday, so owners definitely need to take extra precautions as the red-white-and-blue weekend approaches.

What kind of trouble are pets prone to get into? Nationwide insurance sorted through its database of more than 575,000 insured pets to determine the most common Fourth of July related pet injuries. Fireworks, eating chocolate or table scraps, falling in the pool and car accidents were among the most common injuries reported.

With Nationwide’s help, we rounded up 5 tips for making this holiday as safe as paw-sible for your fur balls.

1. Set up a safe zone. If fireworks give you a jolt, imagine what your pet is going through! Create a safe place where your pet can retreat and be safe when fireworks are in full swing. If your pet suffers from severe anxiety — trembling or shaking, sudden urination, pacing or frantic chewing — consult your veterinarian regarding treatment options prior to the holiday.

2. Watch what they eat. Foods that can sicken dogs include: avocados, apple seeds, caffeinated beverages or alcohol, onions, potatoes, grapes, tomatoes, chocolate and sugar-free gum containing xylitol, BluePearl warns. So be sure these items are a safe distance away from your pet. Also, make sure your pet has access to plenty of water so he or she can stay hydrated all weekend long.

3. Never leave a pet unattended. Near a pool, at a party — these are places you should always have an eye on your pet. Never assume your buddy knows how to swim, Nationwide warns. Even if your pet can definitely swim, it’s still not a good idea to leave them unattended. Also, a party for people is just that, for people. Sometimes it’s best to leave your best friend at home where he or she is safest.

4. Steer clear of fireworks. Don’t let your pets anywhere near where people are setting off their own fireworks, BluePearl says. Agitated dogs may bite, or get spooked and run away. Always make sure your furry friend is wearing a collar with identification in case they get lost and, hopefully, found. Also, many pets are scared by loud noises — The New York Times Well Blog lists numerous remedies and suggestions for desensitizing your pet.

5. Expect the unexpected. It’s not unusual for emergency veterinarians to treat dogs with a corn cob or a rib bone they have swallowed, BluePearl says. So be hyper-aware of what your dog may sniff out of a trash can or find on the ground.

BluePearl veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Holm says that this is one of those holidays where it’s best to play it safe.

“I would say that July 4 is probably not the time you would want to explore a lot of new things with your pets,” Holm said in a statement. “Use common sense and keep your pets safe.”