Tips from In Defense Of Animals.
The Fourth of July can be one of the most dangerous and frightening holidays for animals. Loud explosions are terrifying to animals who don't understand them.
With proper planning and some common sense, your companion animals can remain safe and secure on Independence Day. Here are some tips:
* First and foremost, leave your companion animals at home when you go to see fireworks! Resist the urge to take them to fireworks displays.
* Before you leave home for the fireworks, make sure your animals are indoors in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you've removed any items that your companion animal could destroy or that would be harmful if chewed or swallowed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him/her company.
* Make sure your animals are wearing identification tags (and it's even better if they're also microchipped!) so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly.
* Do not leave an animal in your car. With only hot air to breathe, your animal friend can suffer serious health effects, even death, in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air or cooling, but they do provide an opportunity for your animal to be kidnapped.
* If you know that your animal becomes seriously distressed by loud noises, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.
* Never leave your animals outside unattended, even in a fenced yard, and especially not on a chain. With explosions occuring, animals who normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death. (There are lots of other reasons to never leave your dog chained! Contact us if you want more information about the negative effects of chaining dogs.)
* If you find somebody else's companion animals running at-large, either take them to the address on the tag, if you feel comfortable doing so, or bring them to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their human families.
And our friends at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offer the following additional tips, which are appropriate year-round but especially so on Independence Day:
* Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where animals can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison animals. 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 animal 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 animals' 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 animals on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can cause 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.
* 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 animals.
* Never use fireworks around animals! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious animals, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.