Written by Libby Holdman, DVM
The Fourth of July! Barbecues, fireworks, lazy days by the water … and a big spike in visits to veterinary emergency hospitals! Why, you ask? Well, sometimes, when we are busy having fun, our focus shifts, slips or is divided, and our furry friends seize the opportunity to find some not-so-healthy ways to have some fun of their own.
Holiday Dangers to Avoid
Corn on the cob is a backyard barbecue favorite, yet ingestion of the leftover cobs can present a huge problem. Corn cobs are difficult for dogs to digest, and many dogs will swallow the cob almost-whole. It can then lodge in the intestines and is the perfect size and shape to cause a serious blockage. This problem is life-threatening and requires emergency (and expensive) surgery. To keep your pets safe by keeping trash in a covered receptacle.
Pools and lakes are fun for all, but can be problematic as well. Each summer we see a few drownings and near-drownings from pets who fall into the water and can’t figure out how to climb out. Be sure that if you are near the water – especially a pool – that the area is fenced in and pets are kept out. If pets are going in the water, make it your first job to show them the way out, then remember to keep a watchful eye on them.
While skewers are great for holding together kabobs, they can be devastating when ingested. Interestingly enough, many dogs who ingest skewers don’t immediately show signs of a problem. However, the skewer is so sharp that it can perforate the esophagus, stomach, or intestines, traveling through the body and wreaking havoc along the way. Again, disposing of all food related trash is a secure location is important for prevention of this problem.
Motor vehicle accidents
Cookouts and Summer celebrations are fun for the whole family, but while everyone is busy enjoying themselves it is easier for pets to escape. As a result, the number of pets hit by cars can increase dramatically when people are distracted by holiday happenings. Be sure that your pets are secured inside latched doors or in a fenced-in-area. If there is any doubt about whether a door might be left open, then a crate inside or a runner in the backyard is the safest option.
While most people are mesmerized by fireworks, many pets go into panic mode when the fireworks start to rumble. If you know that fireworks make your furry friend nervous, try putting them in an area with bright lighting and white noise (like the TV, music, etc.), away from windows (this also works with dogs who are scared of thunderstorms). If your pet gets so upset that you are worried for his/her health, please talk with your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications that may be helpful.
As we launch into the holiday weekend, take a minute to ensure that your pets are safe from summertime dangers. Hopefully this will keep you from having to come see us this summer! As always, if you do need us, our hospitals are open.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July!