Patriotic pet lovers often like to include their perky (but never pesky?) companion animals in July Fourth festivities. While Independence Day brings joy, and pets add to that enjoyment, please know that quite a few well-honed holiday habits can be hazardous to your furry friend’s health. Because HEALS would like all pets to be kept safe and sound, we offer the following advice:
- Dogs (and cats) and drinks don’t mix. While mixed drinks may enliven the spirits, never mix pets with alcohol. Keep all spiked beverages way out of their reach. If enough alcohol is consumed, pets could become intoxicated, weak, severely depressed or go into a coma. Even worse, respiratory failure and death could happen in severe cases of alcohol poisoning.
- Light up the night but not with lighter fluid. If you must use lighter fluid, keep it far away from your pets. If ingested in high quantities, kidney damage can result. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin; it can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. In addition, certain types of matches could damage blood cells, resulting in breathing difficulty.
- Mind Fido, felines and their food. During the holiday, it’s best to keep your companion animals on their normal diet. Cats and dogs have very sensitive stomachs that do best on a regimented and strict menu. Any change can bring about severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Certain foods can be toxic; some of the worst culprits are onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt, macadamia nuts, and yeast dough.
- Forget the fireworks! Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for four-legged companions! There are so many other good ways to celebrate. For pets, exposure to lit fireworks can result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws. Unused fireworks can also pose a threat. Avoid taking pets to crowded outdoor events where fireworks will be the main attraction. Keep your furry friends safe at home in a quiet, sheltered, escape-proof area. More companion animals go missing during fireworks displays than at any other time of year as they try to escape the noise and chaos.