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Keeping Your Pet Safe on the Fourth of July

By September 19, 2019 October 4th, 2019 No Comments

Nothing beats a sunny summer day filled with family, friends, good food, and a beautiful fireworks show to top off the evening. Independence Day should be enjoyed by everyone—including our four-legged friends. However, the Fourth of July puts pets at risk for toxin ingestion, injury, and, unfortunately, getting lost. Learn about the risks for your pet and what you can do to prevent any problems.

Fireworks: Injuries and noise aversions

It goes without saying that fireworks are dangerous. Even before and after they are lit, the contents can be toxic to animals if ingested.

What can you do?

  • Keep fireworks out of reach of pets and never light fireworks around any animals.
  • Survey your surroundings after the show and clean up any firework remnants that your pet can access.

It also goes without saying that fireworks are loud. Many animals have noise aversions, particularly to fireworks, that cause stress and anxiety, and can even lead your pet to flee the scene. In fact, more pets are lost on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year.

What can you do?

  • Microchip your pet. Contact Monrovia Animal Medical Center to schedule an appointment. This is a simple procedure our veterinary team can perform during a routine visit.
  • Leave your pet securely at home. Never take your pet to a gathering that includes a fireworks display. If you must bring your pet, ensure his collar fits properly, and keep him leashed at all times.
  • For moderate to severe firework aversions, call us to discuss whether supplements or medications could help your pet.

Barbecues: Toxins and gastrointestinal problems

Many Independence Day festivities aren’t complete without a barbecue grill and delicious treats. Unfortunately, this often means pets have access to potential toxins and other hazards.

What can you do?

  • Properly dispose of used charcoal. These flavorful morsels may tempt animals if left within reach. Signs of charcoal ingestion can include vomiting and diarrhea, often with a dark gray or black hue. If left untreated, more serious complications, such as liver disease, can arise.
  • Keep all alcoholic beverages out of pets’ reach. These drinks are often sweet, making them all the more enticing to our furry friends. Signs of alcohol toxicity include depression, stupor, or stumbling.
  • Refrain from giving your pet any human foods. While it may be hard to resist your begging pooch, certain foods, such as raisins, grapes, or dishes prepared with onions or garlic, can be toxic and pose a serious threat, regardless of the dose. Popular picnic items like corn on the cob or ribs commonly become lodged in the stomach or intestines of dogs or cats and often require surgery and hospitalization. Rich, high-fat foods can cause pancreatitis, a potentially serious inflammation of the pancreas, in some pets.

Summer weather: Heatstroke and sun care

Summer in Southern California is hot, and the Fourth of July is often no exception. Our pets are at serious risk for heatstroke and even sunburn (also known as solar dermatitis).

What can you do?

  • Monitor for signs of heatstroke, which can progress rapidly. Signs can include drooling, panting, vomiting, diarrhea, or a body temperature above 104 degrees. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, contact us immediately, as this is a serious matter.
  • Provide pets with shaded areas and plenty of fresh water. Keep in mind that shaded areas change throughout the day.
  • Keep indoors all obese, geriatric, and brachycephalic (i.e., flat-faced) breeds, such as bulldogs, boxers, and Persian cats, who are more susceptible to heatstroke.
  • Never, ever leave your pet in a car on a hot day. A car’s interior can reach 120 degrees in only 30 minutes, even if the outside temperature is only 70 degrees.
  • Consider pet-safe sunscreen for all hairless pets and those with light-colored fur. Just like people, a pet’s exposed areas, such as the nose, are at risk for sunburn.

The Fourth of July brings fun, sun, and celebration when enjoyed responsibly. Don’t hesitate to contact our veterinary team if you have questions about your pet’s summer and holiday safety.