The 4th of July is a day of celebration and as flags proudly wave and fireworks boom, remember to keep dogs and cats safe.
It is reported across the country that more companion animals are lost during July 4th celebrations than any other holiday. With hypersensitive hearing, many dogs and cats are bothered by the noise of fireworks. While some pets may hide out, whine, or become stressed out, many bolt and easily become disoriented and lost.
The Houston Humane Society has a few steps to take to ensure everyone, including the furry companions, have a safe, happy holiday.
- Fireworks can cause quite a frenzy in even the calmest of pets. Be sure animals are safe and secure and inside. Even if pets are often fine in fenced yards, be sure to bring them inside the house, laundry room, or garage during the commotion. A stressed-out pet may dig or bolt due to the noise. In addition, find a dark, calm space for pets to hide out, and consider background noise like a television or radio to help drown out the impending booms.
- It is not just the noise from fireworks that make them dangerous. A lit firework can cause severe burns and/or trauma to pets, and unlit fireworks pose a threat as well. The ingredients used in many fireworks can be dangerous to a curious pet.
- Tags and chips are pets' best friends. Be sure microchips are up to date, and check collars and tags to make sure they are readable and in good condition. If pets become lost, they need to have the best possible chance of finding their way home quickly and safely.
- Nothing says 4th of July quite like outdoor picnics and barbecues. Keep in mind animals can suffer from heat stroke just like a human. Make sure pets get plenty of breaks from the heat. Opt to leave pets at home when planning to be in the heat for an extended period of time.
- Skip the scraps. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill, many festive foods and products can be hazardous to pets. Keep your pet on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can lead to sever indigestion and upset stomach. Examples of everyday hazards include avocados, grapes, raw/undercooked meat, and onions.
- Pitfalls of the barbecue pit! Never leave dogs unattended with a barbecue pit while it is in use. That delicious food might be too much for pets to resist. An overturned pit could cause serious damage to dogs in the blink of an eye, not to mention a potential fire hazard.
- There are a few barbecue staples to keep out of a dog's reach:
alcoholic drinks have the potential to poison pets;
matches and lighter fluid – if ingested, both can cause harm to dogs and lighter fluid can cause skin irritation as well;
citronella – candles, insect coils and oil products can cause stomach irritation and possibly damage a pet's central nervous system
- Mosquito mania! Mosquitoes are a way of life in Houston, but repellant products made for humans often contain DEET, an ingredient that can induce vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and drooling in pets. Look for a pet specific mosquito repellant to use on dogs during the holiday.
On the Web:
Houston Humane Society -- http://www.houstonhumane.org/