Though the Fourth of July is fun for humans, it can be nerve-wracking and downright dangerous for pets. Whether it's loud sounds from fireworks or poisonous bug repellent, here are some tips from the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on how to keep your pet safe this Independence Day:
- Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them, and keep pets on their normal diet. Alcoholic beverages can be dangerous—ingestion can cause intoxication, weakness, severe depression, a coma or death from respiratory failure. Similarly, onions, chocolate, coffee, avocados, grapes and raisins, salt, and yeast dough can be toxic to animals. Any change from a pet's normal feeding can cause an upset stomach, especially for an older pet.
- Only use sunscreen and insect repellant created specifically for animals, and avoid keeping matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles, insect coils and oil products within their reach. Ingestion of sunscreen can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy, while ingestion of chlorates—found in certain types of matches—can potentially damage blood cells, result in difficulty breathing or cause kidney disease. Lighter fluid can irritate skin. ingestion of DEET-containing repellant can cause neurological problems. Additionally, ingesting lighter fluid, oils and other insect repellants can cause stomach irritation and possibly central nervous system depression. Inhaled oils or lighter fluid can also cause aspiration, pneumonia and breathing problems.
- Don't dress pets up with glow jewelry or let them play with it. The substance inside glow jewelry is not highly toxic; however, ingesting it can still cause excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation. Intestinal blockage can occur from swallowing larger pieces of the plastic jewelry.
- Keep pets away from fireworks. Consumer fireworks—including so-called "safe and sane" fireworks—are illegal in Culver City. Worse, exposure to lit fireworks can cause severe burns and/or trauma to the paws and face of a curious pet, and even unused fireworks often contain toxic substances. Additionally, a dog's hearing is 10 times more sensitive than that of a human, so keep him inside in a safe place during the public fireworks shows. Leave the dog in an area with some of its toys, its bed and possibly a television or radio set at normal volume. If the dog (or any other pet) can't come inside, cover its house with a heavy blanket.
- Make sure pets have proper identification on them, just in case they escape. A tag on a collar is essential, and a subcutaneous microchip with identifying and contact information is highly recommended. Keep any pets away from doors and open windows.
Happy Fourth of July!