The Fourth of July — traditionally filled with fireworks exploding and open flames for barbecues — can be dangerous for pets, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington warns. All sorts of hazards can cause dogs and other critters harm or cause them to run away.
“Dogs have acute hearing — far more sensitive than human hearing — so firework explosions, excited voices, visual stimulation and smells can panic dogs causing them to be fearful, which can activate their fight or flight response,” Alice Burton, Chief Animal Control Officer for the AWLA, said in a press release. “For their own safety this holiday, indoor-outdoor cats should be kept indoors and when outside, dogs should be kept on a leash.”
The AWLA offers some tips to make sure the household pets have a safe holiday.
Leave them at home inside. Fireworks, crowds and fanfare can be stressful for pets, causing them to panic or run off. Leave them in a safe area with a television or radio playing to mask frightening sounds.
Alcoholic drinks poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma or in severe cases, die from respiratory failure.
Do not apply sunscreen or insect repellent that is not specifically indicated for animals. Ingestion can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. Deet, a common insecticide, may cause neurological issues.
Keep lighter fluid and matches away from pets. Chlorates, a chemical substance found in some matches, if ingested, can cause difficulty breathing, damage blood cells or even cause kidney disease. Lighter fluid can cause skin irritation, respiratory and gastric problems.
Citronella and insect coils harm pets. Insect repellants are irritating toxins to pets. Inhalation can cause severe respiratory illness such as pneumonia, which can harm a pet’s nervous system.
Resist feeding table food. A change in diet can give a pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. Foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.
Keep pets away from glow jewelry. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling, gastrointestinal irritation and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing the pieces of plastic.
Never use fireworks 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.