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Your Dog Hates the Fourth of July: Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Weekend

Pet Amber Alert reports that up to 30 percent of pets are lost during the holiday weekend each year, and only 13 percent make it back to their owners.

Patriotic dog. Credit: Patch file photo
Patriotic dog. Credit: Patch file photo

There's a popular meme being shared around Facebook lately that says "I love fireworks ... said no dog ever." 

Dogs don't care that America declared its independence from England. They only know that they're hoping some more hot dogs will fall off the grill, and that those loud booms will stop scaring them. 

While the Fourth of July is a big celebration for humans, the food and fun that surrounds it can pose safety issues for your beloved pets. From eating bad food to darting when the kids are throwing firecrackers, dogs and cats can get into trouble on the holiday weekend. 

The Dog Channel reported that a pet is lost every two seconds, according to the National Council of Pet Population Study and Policy, and that veterinarians and shelters historically report high numbers of runaways during the Fourth of July weekend. 

Pet Amber Alert reports that up to 30 percent of pets are lost during the holiday weekend each year, and only 13 percent make it back to their owners. 

The ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center offers a set of tips on its website to follow to keep your pets safe

  • 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.

david mokal July 03, 2014 at 02:30 PM
I have one dog that goes ballistic. In lightning storms I found that if you rub a fabric soffening cloth it helps with the static the dog pics up. You can get calming meds at the pet store that works well too. My other dog could care less.
Charlene Arsenault July 03, 2014 at 05:42 PM
Thundershirts, apparently, work wonders for some dogs.
North of Boston Animal Rescue, Inc. July 03, 2014 at 07:05 PM
Thank you Charlene for posting, there are also higher instances of pets drowning during this weekend as well. Between the heat, fireworks, toxic substance ingestion, and drowning, it is best to leave dogs in a safe area at home in the A/C preferably in a crate with access to a water bottle. Vermont Naturals makes a great product called "Calming Treats", it is available at PetLife. Also soft music or a TV running in the background can also ease anxiety. If you need additional help, please consult your veterinarian. I have never had luck with Thundershirts for our dogs in rescue, but the T-Touch wrap seems to work much better. You can Google for more information.
Liz Pierce July 04, 2014 at 07:59 AM
this 4th of July weekend, go see AMERICA, the movie. it's a compelling, eye opening, true history lesson in a hour and 45 minutes about how the United States was founded.
John Smith July 05, 2014 at 12:37 AM
Its not the emotions that gets to dogs on the fourth. Its their excellent hearing. As far as killing Native Americans I never killed any of them. My family came here by boat. I have zero white guilt. HELL NO to Reparations.

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