Most pet owners know the drill: dogs and cats are not big fans of fireworks or hot weather, and holiday festivities tend to invite numerous dangers (illicit foods, fire hazards, escape possibilities, etc.).
Just in case you need a reminder, though, here's a quick rundown of what to do and what not to do as this American holiday weekend gets going.
DO: Establish a safe place for your pet, be it a room with a door or a kennel he or she likes to spend time in. When the house fills up with people and fireworks start going off outside, your pet may want nothing more than a little peace and quiet.
DON'T: Leave your pet outside unattended. It may be normal for your dog or cat to stay outdoors when you're not around, but getting spooked by loud firecrackers and running away is a very common behavior this time of year.
DO: Keep your pet on as regular a routine as possible. Keep walking and feeding them on the same schedule and be sure to fit in plenty of anxiety-suppressing exercise.
DON'T: Allow pets to roam through parties, picnics and barbecues where potentially dangerous food and alcohol are in reach. Most dogs love to scavenge for scraps, and it doesn't take much (a cup of beer, a chocolate cookie) to make them sick.
DO: Make sure pets are wearing collars with up-to-date ID tags. History tells us that hundreds of pets do end up escaping over the Fourth of July holiday, so it's smart to be prepared just in case.
DON'T: Assume your pets are interested in the same Independence Day experience as you are. Just like during travel, it's easy to forget that pets aren't humans and their needs are different. You like fireworks, they don't. You like lively parties and spicy foods, but your pets could do without. Don't worry about how much fun they should be having, just focus on keeping them safe and content.
Do you have any additional tips to add? Feel free to share, and have a great and safe Fourth of July, American pet lovers!
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Vail Daily, Shane Macomber