San Antonio.- Many will have the chance to celebrate with family and friends on the Fourth of July -- but be mindful to keep pets safe during the holiday, too. The celebration might carry on all week and through the weekend with great food and lots of fun, but the great-tasting grilled foods and high temps can be especially tough on dogs. Photo courtesy Animal Defense League of Texas (adltexas.org)
By Angela Covo, firstname.lastname@example.org
The joys of Independence Day — barbecues, warm weather and fireworks — all pose a danger to dogs and other small pets, veterinarians warn.
Liz Rozanski, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC, associate professor of clinical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, recently put together a tip sheet to help our readers avoid any complications. Keeping these in mind will help you keep your pets safe during the celebration:
• Watch out for the bones! Shish kabobs and other foods-on-a-stick pose a special danger to dogs, who can ingest them and wind up with fragments which can cause blockages or gastrointestinal perforations. Rozanski, the section head of emergency care at Tufts’ Foster Hospital for Small Animals, one of the nation’s busiest academic veterinary emergency rooms, explains that even those delicious bones we often toss to our furry friends can splinter inside their digestive tracts. Chicken wings are a regular culprit – make sure to keep pets clear of chicken wings and don’t share bones from the meat you grill with your pets.
• Watch out for toxic foods! The garlic in your favorite marinade, the grapes and raisins in your fruit salad, or the chocolate in your brownies can all toxic to dogs (and even cats!). Keep these foods out of your pets’ reach.
• Sharing treats is OK – but make sure one person coordinates!—let them enjoy the party. But “people” food adds up fast, so have guests, especially kids, check in with you before feeding the lucky pup any scraps. Letting dogs overeat can cause vomiting or worse.
• Keep that water dish full and fresh! During hot Texas summers, heat stroke and exhaustion are a special concern for canines. Make sure they have plenty of water. Put in ice cubes as a special treat. Rozanski also suggests it’s really important to provide a shady spot for pets outdoors. Excessive panting, lethargy or dry gums, means you should call the vet ASAP.
• Never, ever leave pets or kids alone in the car! Within minutes, a parked car can become a deadly trap for our little kids and our pets. Any outside temperature above 65 degrees is especially worrisome, Rozanski said. Leave pets at home in a cool, safe place.
• Fear of thunder and fireworks is real! Dogs afraid of thunder are almost always upset by fireworks. If you leave your pet to venture out to see this year’s spectacular fireworks shows, try to provide your pet with a safe, quiet (ideally, soundproof) place to rest during the rockets’ red glare.
The mid-week holiday is a great time for everyone to have fun. Avoid unexpected catastrophes with these common sense tips to keep pets safe too.