With Independence Day upon us, it’s time to celebrate and engage in some time-honored holiday traditions: eating, drinking and watching fireworks.

For our pets, though, this revelry can make for an uncomfortable, worrying or downright terrifying time.

Fun in the sun

It’s great to be outside during the summer, for us and our dogs, with the fresh air, warm sun and lots of exercise. But help your pooch avoid heat stroke by limiting his time in the sun, making sure he has a shady place to rest, and providing cool, fresh water. Dogs pant to regulate their body temperature, but if you see excessive panting or hyperventilation, pale gums, or your dog seems dizzy or confused, it may be time to call an emergency veterinarian.

Keep the human food with the humans

It’s natural to want to share the good things with our pets. A little taste of your hotdog or potato chips, for example, probably won’t hurt your pup, but more than that and there’s a good chance for GI upset or diarrhea. Other foods, such as onions and grapes, are toxic. If you have guests, let them know it’s not okay to feed your dog(s). It’s better to play it safe and keep the human food for human consumption.

Fireworks are exciting—and scary!

Both dogs and cats can become unsettled or scared by the various snaps, screeches, crackles and booms from fireworks. If the pets are indoors, they may go off to some quieter place to hide and wait out the noises. If outdoors, they may try to escape the noise by running away from it, which may result in a lost pet—especially if you’ve traveled to see a display. We recommend all dogs and cats be microchipped so if they do run away, they’re much more likely to be returned.

The takeaway

Use awareness, your knowledge of your pet, and common sense to make sure that your pal has a safe and enjoyable holiday celebration. And keep in mind that some times, especially with something like fireworks, the way he enjoys it the most is by sitting it out and staying home.

Happy Independence Day!

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Ann Arbor Animal Hospital is a locally-owned animal hospital operating for over 90 years in Ann Arbor, MI.