CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Fireworks can be thrilling for children, but frightening for pets, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is reminding pet owners to take care as the Fourth of July approaches.
"While it might be tempting to include your pet in your Independence Day festivities, it's important to remember that certain items, events and activities can be hazardous for animals," officials with the ASPCA warn.
Each year, in part because pets run away during the loud celebrations, animal shelters see a surge of animals on the days surrounding the Fourth of July.
Many dogs experience anxiety during thunderstorms and fireworks can cause similar distress. In fact, the ASCPA says "one-in-five lost pets goes missing after being scared by the sound of fireworks, thunderstorms or other loud noises."
If you do leave the house, make sure your pet is secure indoors. Consider crating them and make sure doors and windows are locked. Keep a television or radio turned on for background noise. Also provide toys or activities to keep them distracted.
If hosting a party, it is easy for a pet to slip through the door as guests enter and exit the home. It may be safest for them to stay on a leash or in a separate area away from the party.
Here are some other safety tips from the ASCPA for celebrating with your pets:
Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them.
Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
Keep your pets on their normal diet.
Any change, even for one meal, can give your 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. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
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.
Keep matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles, insect coils and tiki torch oil products out of reach.
Ingestion can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
Don't let pets drink pool or ocean water.
Drinking a large amount of sea water can lead to elevated sodium levels for dogs, which can cause nausea, vomiting, lethargy, tremors and potentially seizures. Pool water, on the other hand, can lead to low sodium levels. Signs of ingestion often start with nausea, vomiting and lethargy, and can progress to depression, unsteadiness, and even coma and seizures. Have your pet take breaks from playtime and drink lots of fresh water throughout the day. If a pet is exhibiting any neurological signs, get into a veterinary clinic immediately.
Keep your pet away from ocean critters.
Star fish, sea urchins, jelly fish and squid are just a few of the creatures that can pose risk for our pets. If your pet is in or near the ocean, keep a close eye on him or her, and make sure they stay in more shallow water.
"Red tides" in the ocean are caused by a reddish-brown algal bloom that can be toxic to sea life, humans and our pets—leading to anything from eye and breathing issues to stomach upset, confusion or seizures. Blue-green algae can be found in fresh water like lakes or ponds, and ingestion can cause a serious problems like liver disease or affect the nervous system. Before letting your pet get in any water, check the area for postings and/or the presence of algae. If you see anything suspicious, it would be better to stay on dry land.
Practice pool safety.
When pets get into the containers of the pool chemicals before they have been diluted, it can lead to burns—both on the skin with prolonged contact, or in the mouth and stomach if ingested. If you have caught your dog ingesting any pool chemicals, give a small amount of water or milk to dilute and then call APCC or take to a local veterinary clinic for evaluation.