Here are some recommendations from the ASPCA on how to keep your pets safe this holiday.
1. Never use fireworks around them. This one is fairly obvious, right? They're loud, can be unpredictable and are dangerous, even in controlled environment and even in the safest circumstances, we all know how nosey our furry companions are and how they always seem to manage to get underfoot at the most inconvenient moments! Injuries can include severe burns and trauma to their paws and faces. Even unlit fireworks can pose a threat because they're often made up of potentially toxic components such as arsenic, potassium nitrate and other heavy metals.
2. Leave them home! They can't appreciate public firework displays or big crowds. Firstly, they got to skip American History class so they don't understand the importance of Independence day. And remember that even though we're tall enough to see the sky (unless you're behind that 6'5" guy), all our four-legged tag-alongs can see is an ocean of strange knees and sandals. This can be pretty disorienting. They can also easily become spooked and confused by the loud bangs and flashes of light from the fireworks, which could cause them to try to make an run for it (even if they're on a leash, which they always should be anyway)! It's best to keep them safe from the noise and crowds in a calm, quiet and escape-proof area at home.
3. Don't let them drink (even if they won't be driving). Alcohol is poisonous for pets. Although you would never hold your pup's legs so he can do a keg stand, even just leaving a drink in his reach is enough for a curious and thirsty friend to gulp it down. Although the results can be as light as weakness and intoxication, the more severe cases can include comas and respiratory failure and even death. It's best not to gamble with it, and keep your drinks in a separate area from where your pets are or at least keep them out of reach. Plus, if you feel the need to party with your cat or dog there are a few companies that make wine and beer specifically for them...but save it until your party is over because it's sort of weird.
4. Don't apply any sunscreen or bug repellant that isn't specifically labelled for animal use. Ingesting sunscreen products can cause drooling, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy, while insect repellants can lead to neurological problems. We all know that our pets lick their coats, paws and other, less socially acceptable areas...especially in front of company, right? Even if you think you've rubbed the lotions and sprays in pretty well, there's still going to be residue on their coat and skin. Beyond this, our pets' skin is much more absorbent and sensitive than ours. A lot of these products are slightly- to very- toxic (especially bug spray) and isn't stuff you want getting into their bodies. I sell pet-friendly alternatives at the shop but if you're in a last-minute pinch and you insist on using something on hand, make sure that they are baby-safe.
5. Be prepared in the event that they do escape. Finally, regardless of how well you safeguard your pets from escaping, they still might get out. Make sure that all your furry pals, even strictly indoor ones, have collars with an ID tag that includes your name, current phone number and any other contact information. If your pet is microchipped, make sure that your details are up-to-date with them too. The ASPCA also offers a phone app that includes step by step instructions on how to search for a lost animal and a personalized pet recovery kit.