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Pet Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

Tips to make sure your pet enjoys its Independence Day too.

The Fourth of July is a day for everyone to relax, celebrate and maybe light a few sparklers in honor of our nation's independence.

While you might be running around to several parties or organizing your own, there's one member of your family you might not want to forget about: your pet.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has put together an great list of pet safety tips for July 4.

Keep these tips in mind to make sure man's best friend – or feline (or whatever else you may have) – enjoys their Fourth of July as much as you do:

  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. 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.
  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets' reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
  • Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
  • Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.
Dr. Sarah Alward July 04, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Just a couple of other things Taylor - more pets go missing on the Fourth of July than any other holiday - keep this in mind if you have many people coming and going from your house. Make sure they are wearing a collar with identification, a secure collar or harness and make sure your information is up to date on their microchip. Many pets are afraid of the sound of fireworks even while at home, if the home is near where the celebration is taking place. Talk to your vet about options for keeping your pet calm and relaxed through the noise. Have a safe and happy Fourth!
Paul L. July 04, 2012 at 03:34 PM
To help your dogs manage the inevitable sounds of fireworks on July 4th, there are a number of products on the market that will help your dog calm down. One of them is oddly enough called "Calm Down"!

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