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Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

The Fourth of July is a time for celebration with fireworks, picnics, barbecues, parades and other festivities for the entire family to enjoy. While it may seem like a good idea to include your pet in all of the fun, some of these activities can be hazardous without proper supervision, preparation and knowledge.

Certain foods, drinks and other common substances can be poisonous to pets and fireworks, loud parties or crowded public events may upset your pet. Director of Humane Society Calumet Area's Adoption and Intake Centers, Jessica Petalas, recommends providing your pet with a safe place to hide in your home.

"Fourth of July celebrations can be overwhelming or even scary for your pet," Petalas said. "Put a blanket over your pet's crate. This will provide a non-threatening space in your home for your pet to hide if he or she becomes spooked by the sound of fireworks or wants to retreat from a noisy party."

If loud noises cause your pet anxiety, Petalas recommends visiting your veterinarian before the holiday to discuss stress management techniques—such as medication—to ease your pet's anxiety during the celebrations.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) offers the following tips to keep your pet safe this holiday:

• Never give your pet alcoholic drinks or leave your glass unattended where your pet can reach. Alcoholic beverages can be poisonous to pets and can cause weakness, severe depression, coma or even death from respiratory failure.
• Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for 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 reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which can damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease. 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 pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. 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, gastrointestinal irritation and intestinal blockage could still result from ingestion.
• 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. • Never use fireworks around pets. While exposure to lit fireworks can 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.
• 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 Independence Day festivities and opt instead to keep them safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.
• Be prepared in the event that your pet does escape. Keep your pets' IDs up to date. It's a good idea for all your animal companions—even indoor-only pets—to always wear a collar with an ID tag that includes your name, current phone number and any relevant contact information. You also can download the ASPCA Mobile App, which includes a personalized missing pet recovery kit with step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal in a variety of circumstances.

If a pet has ingested any potentially poisonous substance, owners should contact their veterinarian or APCC at (888) 426-4435 immediately. APCC is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A call to APCC is toll-free, but a $65 consultation fee may apply.

To learn more about potential household poisons, visit and to learn more about HSCA, visit

Source: ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center,

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