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July 4th Holiday Pet Tips:
For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family--- including the four legged members of the household. While it may seem like a great idea to reward your pet with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and products can be potentially hazardous to your pet. Eighty percent of pet owners have owned a pet afraid of fireworks. Each year, tens of thousands of pet owners miss or ignore these “pet protest”, making July 5th the busiest day for animal shelters across the country. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:
• Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. 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 repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent 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 one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. 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.
• 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.
So what can an owner do to protect their dogs from the stress associated with fireworks? Consider:
• Keeping pets indoors.
• Close the curtains or blinds and turn on the TV or radio to provide some distraction.
• A quiet place, such as a carrier or crate may provide your pet with a sense of security and comfort.
• Using a leash or carrier if you must be outside with your pet to keep her from running off which is a common response to stress and fear.
• Practicing fire safety. Keep pets away from matches, open fires, and fireworks – especially ones that are lighted on the ground. Pets may try to sniff (or eat) fireworks and pet hair can easily catch fire if too close to the fireworks.
• Taking pets for a walk before dark and the fireworks start. Some pets are too frightened to void once the fireworks begin, and this may lead to an “accident” later on.
• Making sure pet ID is current. Make sure that your pet has proper identification tags, with current information, in case she gets away. Micro-chipping is strongly recommended. Some dogs do fine and don’t seem to notice the fireworks. But some pets cannot be calmed by petting or talking to them – they are simply too upset by the noise. Animals who are frightened/stressed can hurt themselves and possibly escape if left alone, and the results can be fatal. Frightened animals running loose are in great danger of being lost or, worse yet, hit by a car. For further assistance, be sure to give us a call at Hartland Animal Hospital.
Have a Happy and Safe July 4th Holiday!
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