Safety tips: Fourth of July and your four-legged friends

Dog_priate_blogIf your pet had to pick a favorite time of year, it probably wouldn’t be July. This is because fireworks can be a very traumatic experience that causes them to bolt in fear. In fact, a recent article states, there is a 30% increase in pets reported lost during the week surrounding the Fourth of July.

To keep your pets safe, follow these precautions:

  •  Make sure you have a clear, current photo of your pet. This could be the key to finding him quickly. Take photos from all angles to include his entire body, face and any unusual features.
  • Have your pet microchipped. When implanted under the skin, it can be scanned by a shelter or vet clinic to provide your contact information.
  • Both dogs and cats should have properly-fitting collars with a legible tag with your current phone number on it. This will greatly increases the likelihood your pet will be returned to you.
  • Check your fence for loose boards or openings. Even if your dog is normally happy in the yard he might try to escape if panicked. If your pet has to go outside during fireworks, put them on a leash — even if your yard is fenced.
  • Exercise your pets during the day so they are tired when the fireworks start.
  • Keep your pets in the house during fireworks. Secure them in a small interior room with a radio or TV playing to drown out noise. Windows and doors should be closed, not only to keep the noise out, but to keep your pet in.
  • Leave your dog at home when attending crowded events such as parades and fireworks shows.

If your pet does escape, don’t panic. Immediately place food, water and an article of clothing you have worn in the area he was last seen as the familiar scent will often lure them back.

The article states that pets who are lost during stressful situations, often don’t go very far unless they’re chased. They may hide for several hours until things quiet down and they feel safe. Deliver fliers door-to-door in your neighborhood and notify your local shelter immediately if you have lost or found a pet.

Along with animal safety, food safety should be another priority on your holiday agenda.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is reminding families this Fourth of July to take extra care and not to let foodborne bacteria, which can grow more quickly in hot weather, ruin the fun.

Because you can’t see harmful bacteria on your burgers, chicken, and steak, using a food thermometer is the only way to know that food is safe to eat. The USDA FSIS is encouraging Americans everywhere to protect you and your family from harmful bacteria by “Grilling Like a PRO.”

P—Place the Thermometer!

When you think your food is cooked, check the internal temperature by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat (usually about 1.5 to 2 inches deep).  If you are cooking a thinner piece of meat, like chicken breasts or hamburger patties, insert the thermometer from the side.  Make sure that the probe reaches the center of the meat.

R—Read the Temperature!

Wait about 10 to 20 seconds for an accurate temperature reading.  Use the following safe internal temperature guidelines for your meat and poultry.

  • Beef, pork, lamb, and veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145°F with a three minute rest time
  • Ground meats: 160°F
  • Whole poultry, poultry breasts, and ground poultry: 165°F

O—Off the Grill!

Once the meat and poultry reach their safe minimum internal temperatures, take the food off the grill and place it on a clean platter.  Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry.

While it’s important to cook your food to a safe temperature, the article also states it is just as important to remember to keep your food at a safe temperature.  Perishable food should not be left out for more than two hours.  In hot weather (above 90°F), food should never sit out for more than one hour.

For more information, click here.

Comments are closed.