Our network

WHS Encourages Pet Safety over July 4th Holiday Weekend | Pets

Title (Max 100 Characters)

WHS Encourages Pet Safety over July 4th Holiday Weekend


This notice comes to us from the Washington Humane Society:

The Washington Humane Society (WHS) encourages pet families to enjoy the upcoming July 4th holiday safely with their animals. Many D.C. area residents will celebrate the long weekend with family and friends, festive foods, fireworks and other outdoor activities. While pets can enjoy the celebrations, it is important to remember that some holiday activities can be potentially hazardous to their health. WHS offers the following tips to keep pet safe this Independence Day:


·         Do not bring pets to firework display events. Loud noises and fiery blasts – even from afar – can be traumatic, and this stress can take the form of shivering, cowering, scratching, destructive chewing or the urge to escape. Keep your animals safe from firework activities in a quiet, sheltered area at home away from windows.

·         Never use fireworks around pets! Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and trauma to the face and paws of curious pets. Even unused fireworks can pose a danger, as many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

·         Do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, animals can become intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or go into a coma. Severe cases can even cause death.

·         Avoid feeding pets “people foods.” Any diet change, even for one snack or meal, can give pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. And foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic. Ask friends and family not to feed your pet, and remain vigilant in your request.

·         Do not apply sunscreen or insect repellents that are not made specifically for pets. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.

·         Keep matches and lighter fluid out of pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing and even kidney disease. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested, can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression.

·         Keep pets away from citronella candles, insect coils and oil products. Ingestion of such insect repellant products can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression in pets. If inhaled, oil products can cause aspiration pneumonia.

  • Protect pets from the sun and heat. If you plan to be outdoors for an extended period of time, opt to leave your pet at home in a controlled-temperature environment. Pets are often much safer and more comfortable indoors than at outdoor summer events when temperatures get high. If your pet will be outdoors, provide him with plenty of cool drinking water and access to shaded areas throughout the day. Also beware of hot asphalt, as it can burn your pet’s paws and cause painful blisters.
  • Ensure pets wear proper identification. Make sure your pet wears a collar with ID at all times, and that he is microchipped, so he can be more easily identified and returned home if he ever becomes lost. WHS offers low-cost microchipping services at our Georgia Avenue shelter and at our National Capital Area Spay & Neuter Center in Capitol Hill. 


If you see an animal in need, contact the District of Columbia Animal Care and Control at (202) 576-6664 in the case of an emergency. If you suspect animal abuse, contact a Washington Humane Society Human Law Enforcement officer at (202) BE-HUMANE.