Huge uptick in animal patients on the 4th of July

OKLAHOMA CITY - BluePearl Vet Hospitals see a 55 percent increase in ER patients on the 4th of July alone.

That's why they're urging pet owners to be safe and think about their pets this holiday.

The phones are constantly ringing for the veterinary employees, typical for most vet offices on Independence Day.

"It is a very scary and dangerous holiday for pets,” said Dr. Jennifer Jaycox, Emergency Clinician at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Oklahoma City.

Dogs and cats get scared by the chaos around them.

"All of the loud noises, the booms and the bangs, and the flashes of light, all of those trigger a flight response in pets," Jaycox said. "So, they will do anything and everything they can to get away from that."

And, unfortunately running away can lead to tragedy.

"I think the most common injuries we see are dogs getting hit by cars because they're running away," Jaycox said. "They're trying to get to a quiet place and, on the 4th of July, there's no such thing as a quiet place."

Fireworks are one cause of pet visits to the E.R.

Other reasons include heat stroke and food.

"Foods that will give dogs vomiting and diarrhea include barbecue, meats, especially fatty meats, ribs, bones,” Jaycox said. "People don't realize things like grapes, and avocados and onions are toxic to dogs and cats and can make them very sick."

So, it's better to stick to animal food.

Heat stroke can be deadly after less than an hour of outdoor activity.

"Even the days that are just in the 80s, we see heat stroke, especially dogs that have the short snout, like bull dogs, Boston terriers and French bulldogs," Jaycox said. "They just can't cool effectively."

Jaycox said the best bet is to leave your furry friends inside.

"In an interior room with at least two closed doors between them and the outside, playing something like a TV or radio can definitely help distract them,” Jaycox said.

It's festive holiday for people but a sometimes painful one for pets.

Jaycox also said being prepared can help if your pet does run away. Make sure they're tagged and microchipped.