Many people think no 4th of July celebration would be complete without fireworks, but think about your pets as you're putting the finishing touches on your plans. Unlike people, pets are often terrified by the loud noises and sudden bursts of light produced by fireworks. And when pets panic, they may run, get lost, even be injured or killed. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe on the 4th.:
1. KEEP YOUR PET INDOORS TODAY!
It may seem obvious, but even if your pet is used to being outside, the resulting panic caused by fireworks or other loud noises may make them break their restraint or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety. Find a spot comfortable spot in your house -- preferably an isolated, quiet room -- where you know your pet will be safe. If your pet is crate trained, this is a good time to put him in his crate. You might consider lowering the blinds and playing some soothing music counteract the noise in the outside world and promote a feeling of calm and security.
2. EXERCISE YOUR DOG EARLY IN THE DAY OF A PARTY OR FIREWORKS DISPLAY
A calm, well-exercised, tired out dog will be easier to handle than one who has been cooped up all day, and more likely to tolerate being quiet and not included in the celebration. He may even sleep through the fireworks!
3. MAKE SURE YOUR PET IS PROPERLY IDENTIFIED
If your pet manages to break loose and gets lost, it will be that much harder to get him back if he doesn't have a microchip or, at the very least, a collar with ID tags and your contact information.
4. 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, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.
5. GOING TO A FIREWORKS DISPLAY? LEAVE YOUR PET AT HOME
The safest place for your pet is at home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar and noisy place. The combination of too many people and loud fireworks can cause your pet to panic and run for shelter. Locking them in the car is also not an option; a closed car heats up quickly, even in night – especially in July – and your pet can get heat stroke.
6. DON’T GIVE YOUR PET “TABLE FOOD”
If you are having a backyard barbecue, you may be tempted to slip some snacks to your pet. But foods like beer, chocolate, onions, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and and yeast dough are all toxic to pets.
7. DON’T PUT INSECT REPELLANT ON YOUR PET THAT ISN’T SPECIFICALLY LABELLED FOR PET USE
What isn’t toxic to humans can be toxic to animals. The ASPCA lists the poisonous effects of sunscreen on your pet as, “…drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.” DEET, an ingredient in many insect repellents, may cause neurological issues in animals. (The same tip applies to applying “people” sunscreen on your pet.)
8. KEEP MATCHES AND LIGHTER FLUID OUT OF YOUR PET'S REACH
The ASPCA lists chlorates, found in some matches, as a harmful chemical substance which, if ingested, can cause your pet difficulty in breathing, damage blood cells or even cause kidney disease. If exposed to lighter fluid, your pet may sustain skin irritation, respiratory problems if inhaled, and gastric problems if ingested.
9. ALCOHOLIC DRINKS CAN POISON PETS
Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended or feed them to your pet. Alcohol can cause your pet to go into a coma, or, in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Yes, even beer is toxic; fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to dogs and cats.
10. KEEP YOUR PET AWAY FROM GLOW JEWELRY
It might look cute, but your pet could swallow the plastic adornments. The ASPCA states that while not highly toxic, “excessive drooling, gastrointestinal irritation and intestinal blockage could still result from ingestion.”
11. CITRONELLA INSECT CONTROL PRODUCTS HARM PETS, TOO.
Oils, candles, insect coils and other citronella-based repellents are irritating toxins to pets, according to the ASPCA. The result of inhalation can cause severe respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, and ingestion can harm your pet’s nervous system.”
12. THE NEXT DAY, CHECK YOUR YARD FOR FIREWORKS DEBRIS.
Even if you didn't set off fireworks yourself, debris can blow or fall into your yard, where your curious pet may find it.
So, for your pet's safety, the best plan is to find a safe, secure spot in your home, where he won't be stressed out by the noise, commotion and enticing foods that make July 4th so much fun for humans. More pets are lost on the 4th of July than any other day. Don't let yours be one of them.