These tips from the Nassau County SPCA will help keep your pet safe during July 4th celebrations.
Never leave a pet in unattended parked car
Remember a car can reach high temperatures in minutes -- even with windows cracked. Heat exposure can result in organ damage, heart problems and sudden death. And partially open windows do not provide sufficient air flow on hot days, and can put your pet in jeopardy of being stolen. Better to leave your pet at home.
Pets sweat from the pads of their feet and cool off by panting, so they need extra help keeping cool in hot weather. To help prevent heatstroke, be sure to provide shade when the mercury rises.
Dehydration is the number one danger to pets during long summer heat waves. Be sure to keep bowls filled with fresh water to quench your pet's thirst, especially during and after a good game of July Fourth fetch or Frisbee. When outdoors, place bowls under trees or pavilions and fill with half water, half ice.
Every year, there appears to be an increase in pets reported missing around the July 4th holiday, likely because they become frightened by fireworks and loud celebrations, and take off. Ensure your pet wears a collar and proper identification tags at all times. Also consider having your pet micro-chipped, which will increase the odds of a reunion should he go astray.
Calm and protect firework-phobic pets
Fireworks are no blast for some pets, but can cause an explosion of nerves for others. Knowing your pet's temperament is half the battle. If yours is frightened by unfamiliar loud noises, lightening and thunderstorms, chances are the Fourth of July will be no picnic.
Some nervous dogs cower, shiver, panic, try to escape or go on a destructive chewing rampage when frightened, so leave them indoors (put away precious family heirlooms,) in a safe, secure, escape-proof room with a comfy bed, food and water. It's always better to provide company, but if your pet must be left alone, lower the blinds and turn on the TV or radio. Make sure all doors -- including doggy doors -- windows and gates are closed and securely locked, and if your pet is crate-trained, cover the crate with a blanket.
Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets so never leave your beverage unattended. If alcohol is ingested, your pet could become intoxicated and weak, severely depressed, fall into a coma and, in severe cases, suffer respiratory failure and die.
Avoid table scraps
Always be aware of what friends and family are sneaking your pet under the table. It may be tempting to share, especially on festive occasions, but human food -- bones, onions, avocado, grapes, raisins, chocolate and more, which can be toxic or dangerous if ingested -- should be off-limits to pets at all times. Maintain your pet's normal and strict diet to avoid potential health problems or an emergency visit to the vet.
Pets may mistake your red, white and blue decorations and glow sticks as chew toys. To avoid choking and accidental ingestion, keep decor and accessories out of paws' reach.