4th of July Pet Safety Tips
Backyard barbeques and fireworks enjoyed with friends and family are Fourth of July traditions. While you may be tempted to include your four-legged family member in all of your festivities, many foods and products may be dangerous for your furry family member. The excitement of the weekend festivities also leads to an increase in stray animals. Here are few pointers from the Emmet County Animal Shelter to keep everyone safe and sound this Fourth of July:
- Never use fireworks around pets as exposure to lit fireworks may cause painful burns to the paws and face of curious animals.
- Loud and crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please keep your furry family members safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered room. Play the radio or leave the television on to help muffle the boom of fireworks. Make sure all windows and doors are secure.
- Only use pet-friendly insect repellant and sunscreen on Fluffy or Fido.
- Chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins, onions, salt can all be toxic to dogs and cats.
- Ask your guest to refrain from feeding pets table scraps to avoid upset stomachs and make sure your pet has plenty of clean, fresh water and sticks to their regular diet despite the celebration.
- Never leave your pet or children unattended in a parked car as temperatures can reach dangerous levels in just minutes.
- Keep glow sticks, sparklers, citronella, alcohol, fireworks and supplies away from your pets and children.
- Make sure your pets are wearing collars and ID tags and that you keep a watchful eye on your companion animal.
Warm Weather Tips
It’s time for fun in the sun, and with some careful planning your pet can enjoy the summer as much as you do.
Dogs and cats have a higher normal body temperature than we do, typically between 101°F and 102.5°F. If their temperature gets above 105°F degrees, you have a true emergency.
The most common cause of heat stroke is being left in a parked car. Even in the shade, with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach up to 160°F in a very short time.
Another common cause is being left outside with inadequate shade and water. Dogs and cats do not have the ability to sweat to help them cool off; they can only pant, and if the temperature is too high, panting alone can’t cool them off fast enough.
Elderly pets, those with heart or respiratory problems, or brachycephalic (short-nosed dogs such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Pekingeses, or Persian-type cats) are the most susceptible.
Also, overweight pets that are not used to a lot of exercise, and have been active in high heat and/or humidity are more prone to heat stroke.
Signs of heat stroke include:
- extreme panting
- excessive salivation
- tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
- bloody vomiting
Eventually, internal organs may be damaged, and death may occur.
If you suspect heat stroke, get the pet to a cooler place immediately. You can always check their temperature with any human thermometer designed for rectal use, lubricated with a little Vaseline or KY Jelly.
Cool the pet with cool (not cold) water. Rubbing alcohol on the feet, stomach and ears will help, as will a fan.
Do not use cold or ice water, as this actually shuts down the blood vessels in the skin, so the cooler blood can’t circulate to the vital organs inside.
Get the pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible – this is a true emergency.
Avoiding heat stroke involves some common sense moves.
- Don’t leave your pet in a parked car.
- Be sure she has access to shade and water at all times in warm weather.
- Don’t go on long runs or walks in extreme heat.
- Plan ahead for warm weather.