For many of us, celebrating the 4th of July means backyard barbecues, drinks, and
fireworks. While this can make for a fun holiday for neighbors, friends, and family, it can potentially be bad news for your pet. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Fido with scraps from the grill or take him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and products can be hazardous to your pets.
Probably the first thing most people think about when they think of Independence Day is an outdoor barbecue. Grills, tables, and plates full of burgers, hotdogs, potato salads, baked beans, and baked goods. All of it is delicious, and it’s probably no shock that your dog thinks so too, but some of it could really hurt him. Rule #1, of course, is to know where your dog is at all times, and if necessary, keep him in the house. It only takes a minute for Fido to jump up and snatch something – or several things! – off the picnic table. You also have to beware of who is feeding your dog and what. Some folks just can’t eat a plate of food while a dog with pleading eyes rests its head on their knee and feel the need to share a little bit of whatever they’ve got with your pooch.
The reality is that dogs’ bodies don’t react to food the way humans do, and even one meal full of foods they don’t normally eat can cause digestive upset and diarrhea. The situation is even more dangerous for a pet with any type of special nutritional needs due to allergies or disease. What’s more, most people don’t know that food like onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, salt, and yeast dough can all be toxic to companion animals. (I dare you to name one person who hasn’t shared a piece of bread or rolls with their dog. I certainly have.)
It’s Cocktail Time
Never, ever leave alcoholic drinks unattended with pets around. Alochol has the potential to poison pets at an alarmingly speedy rate. If your animal ingests alcohol, it could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed, or even go into a coma. It can also cause respiratory failure in severe cases, so keep an eye on those cocktails.
While fireworks are fun and definitely a major part of this holiday, they can be very frightening for pets who don’t know where all the noise is coming from. Since you can’t allay their fears with an explanation, their fear turns to panic the longer the fireworks continue. And if you’re out in the community at a crowded location to watch them, the panic gets even greater. The best idea is to leave your pets at home, in an escape-proof area.
A few other no-no’s for the holiday
Never put glow jewelry on pets – the luminescent substance can cause excessive drooling & gastrointestinal upset
- Citronella candles & other products can cause stomach irritation and even central nervous system depression if ingested. Even inhaling the oils from these products can cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
- If applying sunscreen to pets for a day out, be sure it is labeled specifically for use on pets. The ingestion of regular sunscreens can lead to a whole host of health problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive thirst.
- Keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pet’s reach. Some matches contain chlorates which can damage blood cells, and ingesting the fluid can irritate the stomach and depress the nervous system.
So despite all the warnings, have fun with your pets this 4th of July! There are plenty of ways to include pets in your celebrations, both indoors and out. With just a few preparations and a little oversight, everyone can have as much fun as this little guy.