For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family ... including the four-legged members of the household. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and products can be potentially hazardous to your pets.

ASPCA experts offer the following tips:

* Stay fire-smart. Always keep fireworks, matches, citronella candles, and lighter fluid out of your pet's reach. Certain types of matches, for example, contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing.

* Use only pet-safe sunscreen and insect repellents. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Remember ... animals groom/lick themselves ... and ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. Also, the misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems (scary stuff!).

* Be cool near the pool. Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lake—not all dogs are expert swimmers! Also, pools aren’t large water bowls—they contain chlorine and other toxic chemicals that can cause stomach problems.

* Avoid scraps from the grill ... keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes and raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.

* Flashing lights & big booms are NOT most pet's ideas of a good time.  Loud, crowded fireworks displays are not only no fun for pets, but they can be down-right scary ... pets do not understand what all the loud noises and explosions mean. So please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home. July 4th is the number one day that pets take-off & get lost ... running far and fast from all the noise!

* Keep your pet on the wagon. Since alcohol is potentially poisonous to pets, place all wine, beer and spirits well out of paws’ way.

* Finally, it is always a good idea to know the location, name, and phone number of the nearest Emergency Veterinary Clinic/Hospital. They usually require payment up-front, so having your credit card on-hand is a good idea too!


date Thursday, June 30, 2011

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