Vet Q&A: Dr. Katy Nelson Answers Your Questions on the 4th of July and Pets

By: Chewy EditorialUpdated:

Fourth of July and pets

Vet Q&A: Dr. Katy Nelson Answers Your Questions on the 4th of July and Pets

A typical Fourth of July is filled with long, bustling parades, hot barbecues with family and friends, and hours of loud fireworks. While all these things are considered fun for us humans, some of our pets would surely beg to differ.

The festivities may look a bit differently this year, but it’s still likely you may still hear fireworks in your area or have decided to attend a small BBQ with your pet in tow. To keep you and your pet prepared, we’ve teamed up with Dr. Katy Nelson, Chewy Health’s Senior Vet, to answer all of your questions on how to keep the Fourth of July safe, calm and fun for you and your furry companions.

Q: What suggestions do you have for dogs who are absolutely terrified of fireworks?
A: The first place to start is identify a safe space for your dog—a bathroom, a large, well-ventilated closet, or even somewhere in the basement. Once you find a safe space, then you should make it Zen for them. Start with a wonderful, calming orthopedic bed, add in some calming pheromones, or maybe even dress them up in their favorite Thundershirt. And last but not least, add in some white noise—either turn on a bathroom vent fan or use one of our white noise machines—and give them something to keep them entertained (Maybe a KONG, frozen, with some peanut butter in it).

Here’s how you can create a Zen space for your dog to alleviate anxiety.

Q: Are calming treats safe?
A: Calming treats absolutely are safe. They’ve got some great herbs in them, like lavender and chamomile, and some nutraceuticals, like melatonin, that can really help to get them in more of a Zen space during times of stress. If your dog panics to the point of hurting themselves, however, you need to call your veterinarian and talk with them about some anti-anxiety medications that may be able to help.  

Q: Tips to calm 4-month-old puppy that’s easily excited and new to firework sounds?
A: All of the above suggestions are safe for a four-month-old puppy as well. So try all of those things, but mostly—for a four-month-old—they mostly just want to be near you. In that case, it may be a good idea to give them lots of snuggles.

Get more tips for keeping dogs calm around fireworks here.

Q: Are cats scared of fireworks?
A: Kitties can absolutely be afraid of fireworks as well, but they just show it a little differently. They might not eat, they might go outside of the litter box, they might hide—so give them a safe space just like you would a dog, complete with their litter box, a comfy bed, some food and water

Q: My cats are outdoor. Would it be dangerous for them to be outside during the fireworks?
A: If it is an option, I do recommend bringing your outdoor cats inside during the fireworks. They can get scared, they can run into the road, they can get hit by a car. It is very dangerous for them out there right now, so definitely bring them indoors.

Q: What can I do if my puppy has to go potty and fireworks are still going off and they are scared?
A: Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go—but it might be a good idea to introduce them to potty pads now so that maybe they can take the indoor option instead of the outdoor. If they must go outside, keep them on a short leash right next to you to keep them safe.

Check out these three steps for potty pad training your dog.

Q: What are your thoughts on CBD for dogs this upcoming 4th of July?
A: Federal and state laws regarding products that contain CBD are complex, and legal landscapes surrounding them is ever evolving, so this is a situation where I’d recommend talking with your veterinarian about before using any products containing CBD oil.

Learn more about CBD oil and pets here.

Q: Can a dog eat a hot dog?
A: Heck yeah, a dog can have a hot dog. But I would just recommend getting the ones that are low-fat and low sodium. You can cut them up into small pieces and use them for fun training treats. Just don’t overdo it so your pup doesn’t end up with an upset tummy.

Try our Chewy Eats DIY hot dog treat recipe for pups.

Q: Is it safe to take a 12-week-old puppy who has had their second round of shots to a dog beach?
A: Well, I hate to be Debbie Downer, but until they are fully vaccinated and their immune system is up to par, it is unsafe for them to be around unknown dogs. If you have a neighbor or friend whose dog is fully vaccinated and you want to go to the beach with them that might be a great alternative.

Dr. Katy’s Tips for a Safe 4th of July With Pets

  1. The days following the 4th of July are some of the busiest every year for shelters around the country, so prevent your pet from becoming a statistic by bringing them inside, keeping them safe, and keeping them off the streets. It’s scary out there, so make sure they stay home.
  2. We all love taking our pups on adventures with us, but remember (especially this time of year) it is never safe to leave your pups in a car, not even for just a couple of minutes. Pets can get heatstroke, which can be deadly, and it happens faster than you might think.

If you find this Q&A helpful, follow us on Instagram and stay tuned for upcoming lunch break vet chats with Dr. Katy Nelson in the coming weeks.

This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

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By: Chewy Editorial



By: Chewy EditorialUpdated: