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Keeping Your Furry Friends Safe This July Fourth

From keeping them indoors during fireworks, to keeping toxic substances out of reach, animal experts offer the following tips.

It's no secret that July Fourth festivities aren't quite as fun for our furry friends. The annual onslaught of loud noises – booms, bangs, pops and cracks from fireworks – can have unintended consequences for our beloved creatures, but keeping them safe is fairly simple.

"Fireworks set off near your home can panic your dog or cat, and in trying to get away from the noises they can become disoriented and lost," the stated in a news release. Their shelter and others locally see a bump in stray animals during the first week of July, mainly due to the blastings of fireworks.

"We suggest that pets be kept in a quiet, familiar room in your home any time loud noises are nearby," Placer SPCA CEO Leilani Vierra stated in the release. "Even a very mellow animal might try to dart out the door if he is scared by fireworks blasting nearby."

The usual steps of tagging and/or microchipping your animal are recommended, as it could be the difference in their safe return, said the Placer SPCA, which provides such services.

"About the size of a grain of rice, the microchip contains a code that a shelter or veterinarian can scan to obtain a pet owner’s name from a national database maintained by the manufacturer," the Placer SPCA stated. If your pet is already microchipped, be sure the contact information is current.

It's also important to remember not to wait until the night of July Fourth to put your pet in a safe place, as Independence Day revelry oftentimes starts a few days before, especially during evening hours.

"You may have a blast celebrating the Fourth of July, but the flashes, cracks and booms of firewords can be very frightening for your pets," the Placer SPCA stated.

Along with keeping them away from fireworks, other Independence Day activities can potentially be harmful to our four-legged friends. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center recommends the following:

  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattanded where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages can potentially poison pets, and 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 repellant product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of such products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellant 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.

  • Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for ne meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals, who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional needs. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.

  • Do not put glow jewelry on your pets or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.

  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.

  • 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. 

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