The 4th of July for most folks in the U.S. is a time for cookouts, fireworks and being with family and friends.  Our four-legged buddies are also a part of this holiday and there are various safety precautions that should be taken into consideration.

Keep alcoholic beverages far out of the reach of your pets.  Alcohol can be potentially poisonous to pets.  They can become extremely intoxicated, severely depressed and could fall into a coma.  Some people think it’s funny to watch their dogs or even cats walk around drunk, this is cruel and could cause respiratory failure.   Keep alcohol away from your four-legged friends, it could kill them.

Sunscreen and insect repellents should never be used on your pets unless it is specifically labeled for use on animals.  Animals lick themselves, human sunscreens and insect repellents can cause vomiting, diarrhea and lead to neurological problems.

As with children, keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach.  Matches contain chlorates, which could damage blood sells and result in difficulty breathing and kidney diseases.  Lighter fluid can irritate their skin and if ingested, produce gastrointestinal irritation.  If inhaled your pets can suffer from aspiration pneumonia and other breathing problems.

Know your pets and their reaction to fireworks.  Many pets are frightened by the sounds and therefore you should keep them indoors or if you are going to a place with fireworks, leave them at home.  If fireworks are within sound distance from your home, please leave them inside in a safe, escape-proof area.

Although most states ban the use fireworks without a license, if you do use them do not expose your pets to them.  There is a potential for severe burning and extensive trauma to their faces and paws.  Even unused fireworks can post a threat because they contain potentially toxic substances including potassium nitrate, arsenic and heavy metals.

As always, do not give your pets scraps and other celebration foods.  It’s not good for them and some foods can be quite dangerous to your pets’ health.  Always stay away from onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes and raisins — these foods are quite toxic.

Enjoy your July 4th celebrations and keep your pets safe and happy during this time.

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