Keep your cats & dogs safe this #Fourth of July

Keep your cat safe this Fourth of July. Infographic courtesy of Pet Finder

Keep your cat safe this Fourth of July (Infographic courtesy of Pet Finder)

Pets don’t understand all the frivolity, noise, and celebrations surround the Fourth of July. To them, it’s scary, chaotic, and an intrusion on their daily routine.

Paws for Reflection learned that more pets go missing over the Fourth of July weekend than any other time of year. That fact is shared by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Cats as well as dogs go missing, and end up as strays, with many ending up at local shelters. Others aren’t so lucky. They die from fright, get hit by cars, fall victim to predators, or perish from the elements. What can we responsible pet owners do to prevent this? There are some easy tips to share.

Fireworks:

  1. Don’t take Fluffy or Fido to the fireworks celebration. Leave them home. Pets have much better hearing than humans, and the noise is not only deafening, but terrifying for them. While us humans find the glitter entertaining, our pets become stressed and anxious, causing them to bolt and run away from this frightening situation
  2. If you are setting off fireworks in your backyard or you know that your neighbors are going to be setting a few off, keep your pets safe in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home. Make sure it’s escape-proof because we all know, cats are especially good at magically getting through the door, no matter how careful we are.
  3.  Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets.
  4. Even if the fireworks are just sitting idle, they can be poisonous to your pets. , Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

Parades:

  1. While we love to have our furry family members with us at all times, be extra careful if there’s a parade near-by. They will be frightened by all the noise. They also stand a chance of getting hit by a car because of all the increased traffic. For cats, they will be extremely stressed by all the extra activity in the neighborhood, and well may go seeking a safe place to hide. That can cause them to disorient and go missing. It’s best to keep kitty safe inside till all the festivities are long forgotten.
  2. Make sure your pet has been microchipped and, even better, also have a pet-id so that if they go missing, you can easily be re-united. When you pet goes missing, it’s stressful for them and for you.

Barbecues, Parties & Tail-Gate Events:

Our pets aren’t used to all the hullabaloo of family get-togethers. There’s people they don’t know. People coming and going in and out of your house. The best place for Kitty is in a safe, escape-proof room, inside the house. While you may want your friends and family to meet your best furry friend, it’s safer to share some photos from your phone or tablet.

While all that makes sense, there are some other safety tips that we, pet owners might not be aware of. Many of these tips from the ASPCA extend well beyond the Fourth of July, and can be useful all summer long.

  1. Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcohol, even beer, has the potential to poison pets. If ingested, you pet could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or even go into a coma. In severe cases, it can result in death from respiratory failure.
  2. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet 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.
  3. Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease.
  4. 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.
  5. Keep your away from the food table, including any left-overs or scraps. Onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to our pets.
  6. 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 pets.

Paws for Reflection learned a lot from writing this blog post, and we’re pondering what we can do to make this festive event safer for our feline family. We certainly don’t want this festive celebration turn into a day we want to forget. What are you doing this Fourth of July holiday to keep your pet safe? Please weigh in on this important discussion, and share your tips, comments, and stories.

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BJ

BJ Bangs is an established journalist, photographer, and an aspiring author. She loves everything about cats, including writing about them.

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