It is coming up on that part of summer… the 4th of July is right around the corner. You probably have already noticed the sounds of people gathered in the backyard, the smells of the barbecue going and even seen the fireworks being set off in your neighborhood. While it may seem like a great idea to reward your pet with scraps from the grill and bring her along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and activities can be potentially hazardous to him. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:

  • Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, who can become frightened or disoriented by the sound. Please resist the urge to take them to any Independence Day festivities where fireworks will be set off. We recommend to keep your pets home and attempting to keep them safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area.
  • Never use fireworks or sparklers 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
  • 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. If you are worried about fleas and ticks be sure to speak to your vet. 
  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Did you know that certain types of matches contain chlorates? These chlorates can 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. In the event that lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems can develop.
  • Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet 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 your pets. Please visit the People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and tiki torch oil products out of reach. Ingestion can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
  • Avoid leaving alcoholic drinks unattended where pets could reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. One of the most common ways a pet accidentally ingests alcohol is through spiked food like jello or fruit. 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.

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