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updated: 7/1/2012 9:04 AM

Fourth of July can be stressful time for your pet

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By Ellaine Kiriluk
The Buddy Beat

The Fourth of July is almost here. Families and friends getting together outside for picnics, BBQs, games of Frisbee, inspiring parades, and when the sun goes down, fireworks.

Independence Day can be very stressful on some of our pets. While some dogs can sleep peacefully through the booming and noise of the fireworks display, other dogs have a difficult time.

We've had dogs who panted and paced, crawled under the bed or hid in the basement, during the display. And on one Fourth, our neighbor's dog was hit by a car following his escape from the house through an unlatched screen door.

The Humane Society of the United States and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Animal Poison Control Center reminds us to take precautions to keep our pets safe during the holiday.

• During picnics and BBQs, never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets.

• Don't apply insect repellent or sunscreen to your pet that is not specifically labeled for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, lethargy and excessive thirst. Misusing insect repellent products containing DEET can lead to neurological problems.

• Don't put glow jewelry on your pets or allow them to play with it. Although the luminescent substance is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation can result from ingestion, as well as possible intestinal blockage that can occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.

• Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestion of these can cause stomach irritation and even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils can cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.

• Never use fireworks around your pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws. Many fireworks contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals. So even unlit fireworks pose a danger to our pets.

• Leave them home. Resist the urge to take your dog (or other pets) to the fireworks display.

• Don't leave your dog locked in the car where they have only hot air to breathe. That can result in serious health effects -- even death -- in just a few minutes. Partially opened windows don't provide enough air for them. And open windows do provide an opportunity for your dog to be stolen.

• At home, keep your pets indoors in a quiet, sheltered area. Some animals may become destructive, so remove any items that can be chewed, destroyed and harmful to your dog. Leaving a radio playing at the normal volume may keep your dog company while the family is at parades or picnics.

• If you know your dog is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder or fireworks, consult your veterinarian before the Fourth of July for ways to alleviate the fear, stress or anxiety your dog will experience during fireworks displays.

• Pay attention to your dog. Never leave your dog outside, unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a tie out. In their fear, dogs who normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and get lost or injured. Dogs may become entangled in their tie-out ropes or chains, risking their injury or death.

• Tag your dogs. Make sure they are wearing identification tags with current information on them so they can be returned promptly if they get lost.

Animal shelters are accustomed to receiving these "July Fourth dogs" -- dogs who run off during fireworks displays and are then rescued by animal control officers and good Samaritans, who take them to the safety of a local shelter.

The Buddy Foundation Shelter can be reached at (847) 290-5806 if you are looking for a lost dog or cat.

The Fourth of July is a great holiday for family celebrations. Keeping our pets safe will make it an even better celebration.


• Aspen, a female Chihuahua, is about one year old and weighs about eight pounds.

• Bea, a female Pug mix, is about three years old and weights around three pounds.

• Contact The Buddy Foundation at (847) 290-5806; visit us at 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights; or online at

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