Author // Tim Wheaton: Office & Media Manager Categories // My Pets Dr Blog, pet safety

Fireworks Aren't As Fun For Your Furry Family Members

flagdog320wFireworks, barbecues, beverages, pool parties... all of these things that we look forward to the 4th of July for spending time with our friends and family. Well, what about our four-legged family members?  A lot of the things that make this holiday so fun for us can be potentially dangerous and even fatal to those furry ones we love so dearly. While we are eating something right off our Weber grills, laughing with our friends and raising a glass to our country, the family dog may just be sitting by our feet, desperately hoping for some human food (thinking: "please, please, please... I can tell it's a special day today... please let me have some food...").  They probably don't recall what happened just a year ago, shortly after the sun went down.  All those loud explosions that may as well be guns going off close to them. You may think you're in the clear if you left your pet at home and didn't bring them to the big fireworks show, the one that makes us all oooh and ahhhh at the display. However, your neighborhood friends who still think piccolo petes and firecrackers are just the coolest things ever will put plenty of fear into the heart of your pet.  All this noise is very scary to your pet and, if they are not in a safe and secure place in your home, can often cause them to flee.  This is why July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters.  Below are some tips to help keep your pets safe and sound so you can enjoy your holiday.

Keep your pet home and indoors at all times.
It is safer to keep your pet at home rather than bringing them to a neighbor’s gathering or to any celebrations. The noises and crowds can scare them and they will be forced to seek shelter. DO NOT lock your pet in the car. This can lead to heat stroke or even death. When at home, keep them inside. If they are outdoors they may be tempted to jump a fence in an attempt to find safety. Indoors, crate them if they are used to that, or keep them in a room where they feel safe. Block out sights and sounds by closing windows and blinds – play some soothing music.

Be sure your pet is properly identified.
In case your pet gets frightened and runs off, it should be fitted with a microchip – be sure your information is current. An ID tag with your name and telephone number is helpful, but can fall off and get lost. Microchips are a permanent solution for identifying your pet.

Do not use insect repellant or sunscreen on your pet that isn’t specifically meant for your pet.
The ASPCA lists the poisonous effects of sunscreen on your pet as: “…drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.” DEET, a common insecticide, may cause neurological issues.

Keep citronella insect control products away from your pets.
Oils, candles and other citronella-based repellants are poisonous to pets. Ingestion can produce stomach upset and even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia.

Keep Lighter Fluid and Matches Away from your Pets.
If exposed to lighter fluid, your pet may sustain skin irritation on contact, respiratory problems if inhaled, and gastric problems if ingested.  Chlorates are a harmful chemical substance found in some matches that, if ingested, can cause your pet difficulty in breathing, damage blood cells or even cause kidney disease. 

Do not put “Glow” jewelry on your pets or let them play with it.
The luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, but excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestion, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic tubing.

Do not leave alcoholic beverages unattended or give them to your pet.
Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If your pet drinks alcohol, it could become intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. In severe cases they can die from respiratory failure. Even beer can be toxic, fermented hops and ethanol are also poisonous to pets.

Do not feed your pet table scraps and snacks.  
Even one meal that is different than the norm can cause diarrhea and indigestion. Don’t forget that beer, onions, chocolate, coffee, grapes and raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially deadly as well.

Never light fireworks around your pets!
While lit fireworks can cause severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances, such as potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

thundershirtIf know your dog will be anxious or upset – we highly recommend using a ThunderShirt.  A ThunderShirt applies a gentle, constant pressure that has a dramatic calming effect for over 80% of dogs. Experts believe that pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system, possibly by releasing a calming hormone like endorphins. Using pressure to relieve anxiety in people and animals has been a common practice for years. We carry them in sizes XS – XL.

The best plan is to exclude your pet from holiday activities.  Find a secure spot for them at home while you go out and celebrate!  Your pet will thank you for it and you will be thankful to come home to find your pet safe and healthy!

About the Author

Tim Wheaton: Office & Media Manager

Tim WheatonA part of the APCC team since September of 2013 as the Office Manager and Media Manager.  His career previously had been steeped in the Title Insurance Industry for over a decade. He has managed staffs in multiple industries, locally and overseas. His marketing and Social Media skills were learned as he manages his own photography business & podcast called "Daddy Unscripted" about being a dad.

There is no coincidence in the shared last name. Tim is Dr. Wheaton's younger brother and has been around APCC and the staff since its inception. Life has come full-circle in that way, as Tim and his brother used to spend nearly every day during summers in their youth at their Dad's veterinary practice in Corona Del Mar.  Dr. Wheaton was always the son destined to follow in their father's footsteps, while Tim was always the more creative-minded one of the two. 

Tim and his wife have two kids of their own and two furry children (Rusty & Audrey), sibling cats adopted from The Pet Rescue Center in 2011. 

Tim will be keeping you up to date with APCC happenings via social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram – with pictures, pet health tips, travel tips and ways to keep your babies happy and healthy.

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