The 4th of July holiday is upon us, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with friends and family. You’ll want to include your pet too. With heat, sun, lots of greasy food, alcohol and fireworks, you need to ensure your pet’s safety and well-being. Paw Prints in the Sand offers the following tips:

Grilling and picnics – It may be a treat for your pet to get some yummy, greasy table scraps, it is never a good idea to do so. Keeping your pet’s diet consistent can help avoid and digestive problems such as vomiting, diarrhea or food poisoning. Foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins, salt, anything sweetened with sweetener (xylitol especially), and yeast products can be potentially toxic to companion animals.

Sunscreen – yes, dogs can get sunburned too, but make sure any sunscreen indicates that it is safe to use on pets. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. Also, be cautious when using citronella as it contains irritating toxins and insect repellent that contains DEET as it can lead to neurological problems.

Alcoholic Beverages – While it’s fun to have a few drinks to celebrate our independence, Fido doesn’t need to partake. Like humans, if alcohol is ingested, it could lead to intoxication, weakness, depression or even death from respiratory failure. But, if you really want them to join in the party, there are products specifically made for dogs that you may want to try such as Bowser Beer.

Fireworks – Fireworks are an Independence Day tradition. However, it’s best to leave your pet at home where she is safe from the noise and crowds, which can cause severe anxiety and distress.  Shelters need to make room for the influx of lost animals this holiday, which means MANY of the pets there now will be put down to make room for those lost in the noise and confusion. In addition, exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma for curious pets. Many fireworks contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals. If your pet is fearful of fireworks, consider talking to your veterinarian about easing their stress with medication or use calming supplements that will help your pets with the anxiety and distress from the noise.

ID’s Please! – Did you know that that 30% of all lost pet incidents each year occur on the evening of the 4th of July? Independence Day is upon us. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and tags at all times. Also, make sure your pet has a microchip that includes your contact information. Should your pet get lost in the scuffle, tags and/or a microchip are the best ways to ensure they make it home safely.

Security! –  Ensuring that your dogs are kept away from the noise in a secured area or in a crate during the fireworks will minimize runaway dogs. Make sure to leave the TV or  radio on in a louder setting than usual to help muffle the fireworks and keep your dog more relaxed while you are away.

We know you want to include your pet in the holiday festivities, but our best advice is to leave them out of it. Find a secure spot in your home for your pets while you go out and enjoy the noise, lights, food, and crowds. You’ll come home to a safe, happy and healthy pet, which is definitely something to celebrate.