by Sarah Hock
The day after Independence Day is the busiest day for intakes at HSCAZ and shelters nationwide. Fourth of July is a holiday full of so many wonderful things — warm weather, pools, barbecues and fireworks. But many of these same things can be dangerous for our pets.
Here are 10 safety tips that will help you and your pet have a fun and accident-free Independence Day.
Leave Your Pet at Home. The safest place for your pet is safely inside your home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar park or a noisy backyard. The resulting panic due to fireworks or other loud noises may make them run away or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety. Locking them in the car is also not an option; your pet may suffer heat stroke, secondary clotting problems, organ failure and even brain injury.
Provide a Safe Spot from Loud Noises. Whether it’s a closet or a crate, it’s good for pets to have a go-to place for relaxing or hiding away. Such a space can provide a safe and secure feeling, much like a den. However, if a crate or closet creates more anxiety — or if your pet isn’t acclimated to it — it should not be used. Very often, a crate is more effective if your dog has grown up using a crate since he or she was young.
Use Pet-Friendly Insect Repellants and Sunscreens. Never apply the same sunscreen or insect repellant you use for yourself onto a pet, as it can potentially be toxic, causing untoward side effects such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and neurological issues. Fortunately, there are pet-friendly sunscreens and insect repellants available. Consult with your veterinarian about which product would serve your pet the best.
Pass on the Beer. Alcohol, even beer, is poisonous to dogs and cats. If ingested, signs of poisoning include weakness, depression, difficulty breathing, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or in severe cases, coma or death from respiratory failure. Never leave alcoholic beverages where pets can reach them.
Leave Scraps on the Table. If you are having a backyard barbeque, you may be tempted to slip some snacks to your pet. But like beer and chocolate, there are other festive foods that could harm your pet. Corn-on-the cob (which results in a severe foreign body obstruction), fatty table scraps (which results in pancreatitis), onions, garlic, baked goods containing xylitol, caffeine, grapes and raisins are all possible hazards for dogs and cats.
Forgo the Glow Sticks and Jewelry. It might look cute to adorn your pet in glow sticks or jewelry, but your pet could chew up and swallow the plastic adornments and glowing chemical inside. This may result in excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation, as well as intestinal blockage from swallowing large pieces of the plastic.
Have Your Pet Properly Identified. Proper identification may be the only way to retrieve your pet should he or she manage to break loose and become lost. Consider fitting your pet with a microchip, ID tag or other popular method of identification. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pet in case you have to put up “lost pet” signs.
Beware of Lighter Fluid and Matches. There’s certainly nothing wrong with barbecues, but be attentive if lighter fluid and matches are being used around pets. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which, if ingested, can cause difficulty breathing or blood cell damage in pets. Lighter fluid, meanwhile, can be irritating to your pet’s skin, and, if swallowed, can cause gastrointestinal irritation, central nervous system depression and severe pneumonia.
NEVER Use Fireworks Around Pets. While lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets and potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws, unused fireworks can be hazardous too. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.
Keep Emergency Contact Info Handy. Keep the contact information for your veterinarian or the nearest animal hospital handy just in case your dog or cat has a medical emergency.
HSCAZ featured pets
Here are just two of the many wonderful pets currently available for adoption at the Humane Society of Central Arizona shelter, located at 605 W. Wilson Court. Hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; closed Sundays and holidays.
All adoptable pets are already spayed or neutered and are current on vaccinations.
I am an outgoing, friendly girl with a lot of love to give! I know, it’s hard to believe I am nine when I come running over to see you! There is nothing I like better than squirming into a lap and being petted! Bonus points for scratching my hiney just right. I will make cute little noises to let you know how much your attention is appreciated! I am house trained and well behaved. I have lived with another dog and with kids of all ages. I am a cat chaser, though. I get along just fine with other mellow dogs. I can be a bit possessive of my food and my people, so a dog that will respect my boundaries would be best.
Chloe is a firecracker kitten! She is all about playtime and exploring. She loves to climb, chase, jump and get into mischief — you know, typical fun-loving kitten stuff! She also loves toys. She would be on Cloud 9 if she could play with toys all day, every day. If you’re looking for a playmate as well as a pet, Chloe is your girl!
Storm is a typical kitten. He loves to run and play! He makes friends easily and can often be found either wrestling with another cat, or curled up with a buddy taking a nap. He is adventurous and loves to explore new things and places.