Don't Make These 7 Fourth of July Pet Mistakes

Make sure your Fourth of July festivities include pet safety measures.

June 26, 2017
fourth of july dog
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There's no doubt about it, Fourth of July means celebrating. And if you're among the 46 percent of American households that own a dog, you probably let your pet join in on the summer festivities, too.

More: The Cardinal Rules of Owning a Dog

Spending holidays with your pet is a plus, as long as you take steps to avoid Fourth of July pet safety threats.

Avoid these Fourth of July pet safety mishaps:

dog beer
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Mistake #1: You accidentally invite your pet to happy hour

Your cat is not beyond sampling a white Russian, and dogs have been known to lap up beer without hesitation. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause major pet health problems, though, including coma or death. Make sure drinks are kept out of pets' reach (along with these other terrible foods for your pup).

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Mistake #2: You don't enforce a strict purse policy

For many people, Fourth of July means hosting a party that includes plenty of delicious grilled foods. But if you allow your guests to set their purses down in your backyard, you could be setting up a pet poisoning. Common medications could kill your pet; even the xylitol sweetener in sugar-free gum and desserts could cause a blood pressure crash, seizures, or liver failure in dogs. Instead, when guests arrive ask them to keep their purses out of pets' reach. 

More: 50 Grilling Recipes for Your Summer Cookout

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Mistake #3: You invite four-legged friends to the fireworks show

Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks shows, urges the American Society for Protection Against Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Loud, crowded displays are stressful for pets and could even cause them to run away. If you're setting fireworks off at home, keep pets inside and be sure to clean up afterwards, and follow these serious steps for fireworks safety. Many fireworks harbor toxic potassium nitrate, arsenic, and other heavy metals.

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Mistake #4: You clean your grill the wrong way

If you scoop the grease off of your grill and toss it aside, it could be an irresistible temptation and the result could be a pet with an irritated pancreas. Fatty foods and pure grease are often irresistible to pets, but the fat overdose can trigger a life-threatening inflammatory condition called pancreatitis. Be sure to store lighter fluid and grill cleaners away from pets, too. Or better yet, adopt the techniques in The Best Way to Clean Your Grill.

If you use lighter fluid, keep it far away from pets. The ASPCA notes it could trigger skin irritation or, if ingested, digestive system irritation and central nervous system damage. Inhaling lighter fluid can cause aspirational pneumonia and breathing problems. (Yeah, maybe just skip the lighter fluid altogether.) Matches should be stowed away from pets and properly discarded after you use them, too. Some contain chlorates, potential blood cell damagers, says the ASPCA. 

More: The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Grilling

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Mistake #5: You let them stray from their diet

Tossing your pooch hotdogs, hamburgers, and other people foods could also trigger pancreatitis, or diarrhea or vomiting, something that would surely hamper holiday festivities. If you're headed for a party with your pet, take a bag of his or her normal kibble, and, of course, a bowl for water. Other people foods that can prove poisoning to pets: anything containing onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt, or yeast dough.

glow sticks
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Mistake #6: You let pets light up the night

Glow jewelry isn't generally actually lethal to pets, but cats' tendency to bite into those glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces often leads to panic situations. The bite releases a taste that's so bad the cat will drool and race around the house, trying to run away from the terrible taste. If this happens, try to rinse out the cat's mouth, and give it a tasty pet treat to eat to get rid of the bad flavor. Better yet, keep glow jewelry away from curious pets.

More: 10 Ways to Protect Your Dog (And Yourself!) From Household Toxins

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Mistake #7: You fight pests the wrong way

Biting bugs can turn a summer picnic into an annoyance real fast, but applying the wrong insect repellent to your pet could trigger drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy in a pet, according to the ASPCA. DEET-containing pest controls may cause neurological damage (to pets and humans). In fact, you should never use bug spray on a pet unless it's listed for use on that type of animal (follow this guide for the best bug repellents). Avoiding exposing pets to citronella candles and insect coils, too. Ingredients could trigger neurological and lung problems in pets.

For more ways to keep your pet safe this season, learn about the top pet summer problems and how to solve them

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