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Top Ten Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Calm this Fourth of July

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While most of us look forward to Fourth of July fireworks and festivities, for many pets it can be an incredibly stressful day. The American Humane Association reports that July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters, as they are inundated with pets that panicked and fled at the noise of firecrackers. Many pets wind up lost, injured, or killed.

Both the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and PAW have lists of ways you can prevent your holiday celebration from turning into a tragedy. Here are 10 tips for preventing your pet from panicking this Fourth of July.

10. Keep your pet indoors at all times!

Even if your pet is used to being outside, the resulting panic from fireworks or other loud noises may make pets break their restraints or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety.


9. Don’t put insect repellant on your pet, unless it is specifically for pet use

The same tip applies to applying “people” sunscreen on your pet. 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, a common insecticide, may cause neurological issues.


8. Alcoholic drinks poison pets

If a pet drinks alcohol, it can become dangerously intoxicated, 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.


7. 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 will make your beloved pet freak out and desperately seek shelter. Locking a pet in the car is also not an option; your pet may suffer heat stroke.


6. Identify your pet properly

If your pet manages to break loose and become lost, without proper identification it will be that much harder to retrieve. Consider fitting your pet with microchip identification, ID tags with the pet’s name and your phone number, or both. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pets in case you have to put up signs to expand the search.



5. Keep your pet away from glow jewelry

It might look cute, but your pet could chew up and swallow the plastic adornments. The ASPCA states that while 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.”


4. NEVER use fireworks around pets

Lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets, with the potential result severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws. But, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Some fireworks contain toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.


3. Don’t give your pet table food

If you are having a backyard barbeque, you may be tempted to slip some snacks to your pet. But like beer and chocolate, other festive foods could harm your pet. Onions, coffee, avocado, grapes and raisins, salt, and yeast dough are all possible hazards for dogs and cats.


2. Lighter fluid and matches are harmful to pets

The ASPCA lists chlorates as a harmful chemical substance found in some matches that, if ingested, can cause a pet difficulty in breathing, damage blood cells, or even cause kidney disease. If exposed to lighter fluid, your pet may sustain skin irritation on contact, respiratory problems if inhaled, and gastric problems if ingested.


1. Citronella insect control products harm pets

Oils, candles, insect coils, and other citronella-based repellants are irritating toxins to pets, according to the ASPCA. The result of inhalation may be severe respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, and ingestion can harm your pet’s nervous system.

The safest way to celebrate this Fourth of July with your pets is to exclude them from holiday festivities. Instead, find a quiet, escape-proof area for your pets at home while you enjoy the loud bangs and bright lights outside. Products like ThunderShirts, calming collars, soothing music, and other calming aids can help provide additional comfort and security.

Happy Fourth!