Pet safety for the Fourth of July

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Food and fireworks are often fun ways for people to celebrate the Fourth of July, but there are precautions you can take to keep safe and healthy during the holiday.

Dr. Nate Moseley with Petal Animal Clinic said fireworks can be stressful and scary for pets, but there's an easy and successful way to keep them calm.

"Put them in a back bedroom," he said. "Put the television on. Maybe play a radio, something to drown out the firework. A lot of pets get nervous with them because they've had a bad experience with a popping sound or it just spooks them in general. So put them away from an area where it's easily heard and maybe play some drowning out music or something. Works really well."

For pets with higher anxiety, thunder shirts, which act like a hug for your animal, can be helpful or a veterinarian can prescribe medication to reduce stress.

If you do bring them to an outdoor event with fireworks, Moseley suggests owners keep them on a leash, and make sure they have a collar with the owner's address and cell phone number or a microchip in case they do get scared and run off.

"They (can) take them to any vet clinic or to the animal shelter, and we can scan them, there's a universal scanner, and call them, read out the microchip, and they'll tell us whose baby it is, who it belongs to, and how to get hold of them."

Another big issue Moseley said he sees is animals eating people food.

"Probably one of the number one reasons we have sick animals is because of people food," he said. "Don't feed them any of the pork that people are cooking or any hamburgers, anything like that. It tends to cause a lot of GI upset or cases of pancreatitis, which not only can make their baby sick, but can kill them."

If you'll be outside with your pet, be sure to keep them hydrated, and make sure they stay on the grass. Moseley said hot concrete can burn their paws.

"That concrete can stay heated up even to later in afternoon hours," Moseley said. "Keep the babies on the grass. Keep them off the hot concrete, especially if it has a tar base because that will melt and get in their feet. The concrete itself will burn the babies' pads, so definitely keep them off the concrete."

Moseley also noted pets should never be left in hot car for extended periods of time. He said they will overheat, and this time of year is especially dangerous for heatstroke.