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The fourth of July is one of our nation’s most celebrated holidays filled with backyard activities, barbeques, and fireworks lighting up the night sky. Check out these tips our Tampa Bay Veterinarian at River Mill Animal Hospital offers on how to keep your pet safe and calm during Independence Day.

ID your pet: If your dog is wearing a collar be sure the tag is visible and up-to-date with current contact information. Collars and tags can easily fall off; we recommend having your pet permanently identified with a microchip. Save This Life microchip company offers a life-time registration, in which can be updated at any time. Pets with existing microchips can be transferred and updated to Save This Life for a small enrollment fee.

Exercise before the party: Exercising your pet before festivities begin, such as a walk around the block helps reduce the amount of energy they have when people arrive and fireworks begin. The goal is for them to rest instead of stress!  

Avoid giving scraps from the grill: While tempting to our pets, human food should not be handed out to them. Any sudden change to your pets’ diet can cause stomach upset with vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, certain foods like onions, avocado, grapes, and raisins can be toxic. Hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken and baby back ribs all can lead to upset stomach and in serve cases pancreatitis. Make sure to keep pets away from alcohol; wine, beer and other spirits are extremely toxic, and often cause life-threatening seizures or respiratory failure.

Glow sticks: Keep your pet away from glow jewelry. While they make your pet look cute for the party, the luminescent substance contained in these products are highly toxic. It can cause excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation. If ingested could result in intestinal blockage from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.

Mosquito repellent: Human products can be dangerous to pets. Avoid spraying your pet with insect repellent and only use special sunscreen that is intended for animal use. Ingestion of repellent products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent containing DEET can lead to neurological problems.  

Noise Phobia: Pet noise phobia – an extreme fear of a sound – can cause pets to react anxiously during a loud evening, such as ongoing fireworks. Once festivities begin, keep your pet in a “safe” place, such as a crate or separate room inside where they feel comfortable. If your pet is going to be home alone, leave on a TV or radio to help drown out noises your pet will experience.

Keep them cool: July fourth occurs during one of Florida’s hottest months of the summer. Pets are susceptible to heat stroke, just like humans – this condition could be fatal. Be sure your pets have plenty of shade and cool water. Excessive panting or drooling, muscle tremors and limited urine output are warning signs of your pet having a heat stroke and they need to be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Pet drowning: Don’t assume your pet knows how to swim. Much like children, pets should be supervised while in the pool. Your pet should have easy access in and out of the water. Never leave pets unattended at the beach, tides and currents can become overpowering. If you are planning a boat trip, life-jackets come in pet size too! This simple but effective accessory can save your pet’s life.

If you have any questions regarding July 4th safety or unsure if your pet is microchipped with your information, contact us at River Mill Animal Hospital, our staff will be happy to help. We want to wish you all a safe and happy 4th of July!

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