Act Now To Keep Pets Safe For The 4th Of July


The veterinarians at Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center ( remind pet owners to take steps now to protect their pets over the July 4th holiday. Booming fireworks, barbecues, and lots of activity can present significant danger to pets. In fact, the 4th of July holiday is one of the busiest times of the year at Chicago’s oldest and largest veterinary emergency hospital.

Although most pets are not directly exposed to fireworks, the loud noises fireworks produce can result in stress and anxiety for pets. Pet owners are encouraged to visit their veterinarian in advance of the holiday to develop a plan for keeping pets safe and calm during the July 4 celebrations. If necessary, a veterinarian may prescribe medication to help ease the pet’s stress.

Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center offers tips to help pet owners protect their cats and dogs over the holiday and throughout the summer.

  •   *Leashes: Keep your pet on a leash when outdoors. An unleashed pet can be hit by a car, bitten by another animal, or otherwise be a danger to themselves and others.
  •   *Balconies, decks, and windows: Balconies, decks, and open windows are dangerous to pets. Both cats and dogs are known to jump or fall off balconies and decks and through open windows. Fireworks can cause even usually calm pets to jump. When on a balcony or deck, pets should be on a harness leash held by a responsible adult.
  •   *Food: Pets that get into human food during cookouts can suffer serious health problems as a result. Corn cobs and bones can get lodged in a pet’s intestine and require surgery to remove. High-fat foods—such as hot dogs, hamburgers, and sausages—often cause stomach upset and can lead to pancreatitis, a serious health problem for dogs. Many foods, including chocolate, sugar-free gum, avocados, grapes, and onions, can be poisonous to pets. It's best to always keep pets on their usual diet.
  •   *Sunscreen and bug spray: Sunscreen and bug spray should never be used on pets unless the item is specifically approved for use on animals. Bug sprays are particularly problematic because they often contain DEET, a product that can cause neurological damage to pets. Pet owners should check with their veterinarian to learn how to protect pets from fleas, ticks and other pests.

  *Heatstroke: Heatstroke can lead to kidney failure, brain damage, and in severe cases, death. Keep pets cool when temperatures rise and make certain they always have plenty of cool, fresh drinking water. Leaving pets in an unattended vehicle is especially dangerous on warm days because car temperatures can increase dramatically in just a few minutes.


“We encourage pet owners to pay special attention to their pet’s activities at this time of the year. Many of the emergencies we treat could have been prevented had pet owners been a bit more vigilant than usual,” said Dr. Jerry Klein, Supervising Veterinarian of Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center. “If your pet should encounter a problem over the 4th of July holiday, we are available to help. We never close.”