4th of July Dangers

Many families look forward to the 4th of July holiday and all it has to offer, the outdoor gatherings, barbecue, and firework displays. Unfortunately, this holiday may pose some significant dangers to pets.

Many pets get easily startled with loud noises, such as fireworks. This can cause a pet to run away or experience severe distress. Some of these pets can develop a permanent fear of loud noises. This may lead to a pet requiring medical intervention to help them through stressful events related to loud noise, not to mention the financial constraints and owner frustrations. Proactively preventing development of such fears may require contacting a veterinary behavior specialist or your pet’s veterinarian for medical intervention to help your pet through such an event.

Another potential danger related to this holiday is food. We tend to cook large amounts of food during holidays, with the 4th of July being no exception! As a pet owner, you may be inclined to perhaps share some of the food with your furry companion. This may lead to problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea from simple stomach upset, or more severely pancreatitis. There may also be items such as garbage and barbeque skewers that, if ingested, can cause a foreign body obstruction. Be cautious of the foods you share with your pet and monitor their whereabouts to prevent potentially harmful ingestions.

And yet, one of the most dangerous concerns related to this holiday is the summer heat. As we spend longer periods of time outdoors on this day, our pets can quickly develop heat exhaustion. This is a dangerous situation when the core body temperature of a pet rises above the normal range of 100° to 102.5° degrees Fahrenheit. Always ensure your pet has access to water and shade. Limit time outside and leave puppies, older dogs, or brachycephalic dogs indoors in an air-conditioned environment on hot summer days.  Remember to keep pets off of hot pavement to avoid burns to their paw pads and feet.

When preparing for the 4th of July, pet owners should take the necessary safety precautions to keep their furry friends safe. If your pet develops any of the above-mentioned conditions, it is important to contact your pet’s veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.


Written by:

Natalia Kuzman, Pet Poison Helpline DVM student extern, Iowa State University CVM, Class of 2023

Samantha Koch, CVT, Veterinary Information Specialist II, Pet Poison Helpline