Keep Pets Safe On The Fourth

The Fourth of July weekend, with its barbecues, firecrackers and fireworks, is a festive time for millions of families. And it’s also a time to remember your animal companions. The experts at the ASPCA have some strategies for making the holiday a relaxing time for the furry friend(s) in your home.

Don’t leave alcoholic drinks within reach of pets. Alcohol can poison animals. Your pet could also go into a coma, the ASPCA says. In severe cases, fatal respiratory failure has occurred.

Avoiding putting sunscreen or insect repellents on pets that are not intended for animals. The ASPCA says that ingestion of sunscreen can lead to drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems. (Editor’s note: There are sunscreen and insect repellent products for pets; they are available at major pet stores and online.)

Keep matches and lighter fluid out of pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing, or kidney disease in some cases. Lighter fluid irritates skin and if swallowed can affect the central nervous system. Even just inhaling lighter fluid can lead to breathing problems.

Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for a meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea, the ASPCA says. Older animals, in particular, have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. Some foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes and raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic.

Don’t put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. The substance within these propducts isn’t highly toxic, the ASPCA says, but excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation. Your pooch could also have an internal blockage as a result of swallowing pieces of the jewelry.

Be cautious with pest-control products. Citronella candles and insect coils should be kept out of reach. As with other products that are toxic to animals, these can cause damage to the central nervous system. Animals coming in contact with these products are also vulnerable to aspiration pneumonia, in which food, saliva or vomit gets drawn into the lungs, causing the lungs to swell.

Even though your pet is eager to be with you, don’t take him to a fireworks display or have him nearby if you’re setting off some firecrackers of your own. Exposure to fireworks means a risk of burns and injuries to curious pets. Additionally, the noise from a fireworks show can frighten pets, both cats as well as dogs. So keep your pet in a safe and quiet place while you enjoy the Fourth of July display.

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