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How to keep your pets safe during the 4th of July

According to the San Diego Humane Society, one out of every three pets get lost during their lifetime, and only one in 10 pets are found.
Credit: Adobe Stock

SAN DIEGO — The 4th of July is only a few days away and as we make plans for the holiday weekend, it's important to also make plans for our pets and how we can keep them safe during the celebration. 

According to the San Diego Humane Society, one out of every three pets get lost during their lifetime, and only one in 10 pets are found. 

The 4th of July can be especially terrifying for pets due to the loud noises associated with fireworks and partying. 

Here are tips from SDHS to help keep your pets safe on 4th of July:

  • Ensure your pet is microchipped and the information connected to the chip is up to date. 
  • Collars with tags - Make sure your pets have collars with contact information tags and that your dogs are licensed. 
  • Consult a veterinarian for pets with anxiety
  • Create a home sanctuary
  • Make plans early for a pet sitter

Some pet parents might find these are obvious tips to keep in mind while planning your 4th of July events. However, it's important to remember that backyard BBQ's can also be a dangerous event for your pets. 

Here are 8 hidden hazards the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) wants you to keep in mind:

  1. The grill: The danger is not just from the heat and smoke but lighter fluid and matches are hazardous for your pets. ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center points out that many matches contain chlorates. If your pup eats them, it can damage blood cells and cause breathing problems or, in the worst cases, kidney disease. Lighter fluid is an irritant. It irritates the skin but can also irritate sensitive organs on the inside too. 
  2. Alcoholic beverages are a potential poison for your dog. Alcoholic intoxication in pets can result in weakness, depression, coma, respiratory failure, and death. 
  3. People food: certain foods at parties, such as, chocolate, onions, and avocados, can be toxic to your pets. 
  4. Heat: your pets work hard to maintain body temperature. They do this by panting and through specialized sweat glands on the pads of their feet. The best way to keep them cool is to keep them out of the sun and well hydrated. 
  5. Water: Not all dogs breeds are natural swimmers and when dogs ingest saltwater through too much exposure, it an lead to electrolyte imbalances and possible seizures. 
  6. Sun: Dogs fur does a pretty good jobs of protecting their skin from the sun, but shorthaired breeds can still be susceptible to skin damage.
  7. Bugs: Insects that are annoying or harmful to humans are annoying and harmful to pets as well. In fact, mosquitos can carry diseases that dogs and cats are more likely to contract than humans. 
  8. People playthings: Plastic toys that aren't made for pats can get damaged and ingested, causing trouble in your pet's system. The big hazard on the 4th of July are glow sticks/jewelry that, if chewed on and broken open, can be incredibly toxic to your dog or cat. 

As a reminder, all San Diego Humane Society shelters will be closed on Monday, July 4. 

If you find a stray pet over the holiday, please keep them separate from your own pets, keep them safe overnight and bring them to the shelter on July 5, during normal business hours from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. 

If you are unable to safely keep the pet overnight, SDHS asks that you please contact their dispatch line by calling (619)299-7012 (press 1). 

And if in the unfortunate event that you lost your pet over the holiday, please check their Found Pets page on July 5. 

WATCH RELATED: 'Project Street Vet' giving veterinary care to pets of owners experiencing homelessness (June 2022)

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