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Fourth of July Festivities: Should You Bring Your Pet?

Clemente - ASPCA Rescue As the country dons its red, white and blue to celebrate Independence Day, nothing says patriotism like a good old-fashioned barbecue with a side of fireworks. But beware pet parents, what’s fun for people can be a downright drag for our furry friends.

The ASPCA recommends keeping your pooch indoors as much as possible during backyard parties and Fourth of July festivities, even if he or she is a pro picnicker. From toxic food and beverages to raucous guests and fireworks, the holiday weekend is a minefield of potential pet problems.

“Even the most timid dog can leap a six-foot fence if he’s spooked by loud noises,” says Dr. Pamela Reid, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center. If your dog shows signs of distress from fireworks or boisterous revelers, Dr. Reid suggests giving him a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter. “The consistent licking should calm his nerves,” she says.

The ASPCA and City of Mission Viejo offer some expert advice to keep your pet singing, “Oh Say Can You See,” all the way to the fifth and beyond:

  • Keep your pet on the wagon. Since alcohol is potentially poisonous to pets, place all wine, beer and spirits well out of paws’ way.
  • Keep your pets on their normal diet; generally avoiding scraps from the grill (unless you normally cook for your pet(s). Essentially stick with your pet’s normal diet—any change, even for a day, can result in stomach upset.  But every pet is different, so a few scraps or goodies in moderation are usually fine. Certain foods like onions, avocado, chocolate, coffee, yeast dough, grapes and raisins are especially toxic to pets. A high volume of salt, often found in large amounts in pre-packaged and picnic type foods is also bad.
  • Avoid lathering your pet with any insect repellent or sunscreen not intended for the four-legged kind. Ingestion can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.
  • Stay fire-smart. Keep your pet away from fireworks, matches, citronella candles and lighter fluid, which if eaten can irritate the stomach, lungs and central nervous system.
  • 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.
  • Be cool near the pool. Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lake—not all dogs are expert swimmers! Also, pools aren’t large water bowls—they contain chlorine and other toxic chemicals that can cause stomach problems.
  • Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.

As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous from the picnic table, please contact your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. And be sure to check out our more complete list of holiday pet care tips for a safe and happy Fourth!

Source: ASPCA.org/City of Mission Viejo

Posted:  Just One More Pet

July 3, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pet Events, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment