Fourth of July is a holiday full of so many wonderful things – warm weather, pools, barbecues, and fireworks. But many of these same things can be dangerous for our pets. Here are ten safety tips that will help you and your pet have a fun and accident-free Independence Day.
1. Leave Your Pet at Home
The safest place for your pet is safely inside your home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar park or a noisy backyard. The resulting panic due to fireworks or other loud noises may make them run away or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety. Locking them in the car is also not an option; your pet may suffer heat stroke, secondary clotting problems, organ failure, and even brain injury.
2. Provide a Safe Spot from Loud Noises
Whether it’s a closet or a crate, it’s good for pets to have a go-to place for relaxing or hiding away. Such a space can provide a safe and secure feeling, much like a den. However, if a crate or closet creates more anxiety — or if your pet isn’t acclimated to it — it should not be used. Very often, a crate is more effective is your dog has grown up using a crate since he or she was young.
3. Use Pet-Friendly Insect Repellants and Sunscreens
Never apply the same sunscreen or insect repellant you use for yourself onto a pet, as it can potentially be toxic, causing untoward side effects such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and neurological issues. Fortunately, there are pet-friendly sunscreens and insect repellants available. Consult with your veterinarian about which product would serve your pet the best.
4. Pass on the Beer
Alcohol, even beer, is poisonous to dogs and cats. If ingested, signs of poisoning include weakness, depression, difficulty breathing, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or in severe cases, coma or death from respiratory failure. Never leave alcoholic beverages where pets can reach them.
5. Leave Scraps on the Table
If you are having a backyard barbeque, you may be tempted to slip some snacks to your pet. But like beer and chocolate, there are other festive foods that could harm your pet. Corn-on-the cob (which results in a severe foreign body obstruction), fatty table scraps (which results in pancreatitis), onions, garlic, baked goods containing xylitol, caffeine, grapes and raisins are all possible hazards for dogs and cats.
6. Forgo the Glow Sticks and Jewelry
It might look cute to adorn your pet in glow sticks or jewelry, but your pet could chew up and swallow the plastic adornments and glowing chemical inside. This may result in excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation, as well as intestinal blockage from swallowing large pieces of the plastic.
7. Have Your Pet Properly Identified
Proper identification may be the only way to retrieve your pet should he or she manage to break loose and become lost. Consider fitting your pet with a microchip, ID tag or other popular method of identification. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pet in case you have to put up “lost pet” signs.
8. Beware of Lighter Fluid and Matches
There’s certainly nothing wrong with barbecues, but be attentive if lighter fluid and matches are being used around pets. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which, if ingested, can cause difficulty breathing or blood cell damage in pets. Lighter fluid, meanwhile, can be irritating to your pet’s skin, and, if swallowed, can cause gastrointestinal irritation, central nervous system depression, and severe pneumonia.
9. NEVER Use Fireworks Around Pets
While lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets and potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws, unused fireworks can be hazardous too. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.
10. Keep Emergency Contact Info Handy
Keep the contact information for your veterinarian or the nearest animal hospital handy just in case your dog or cat has a medical emergency. You can also contact Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control based out of Minneapolis, at 1-855-213-6680 if you are unsure your dog or cat has been poisoned.