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July 4th Pet Safety

The following are some July 4th pet safety tips from our friends at the American Veterinary Medical Association AMVA.

Fireworks, picnics and other Fourth of July traditions can be great fun for people; but all of the festivities can be frightening and even dangerous for animals. Noisy fireworks and other celebrations can startle animals and cause them to run away; holiday foods can be unhealthy; summer heat and travel can be dangerous; and potentially dangerous debris can end up lying on the ground where pets can eat or play with it.

Whether or not you’re planning your own Independence Day celebration, it’s important to take precautions to keep your pets safe both during and after the July 4th festivities.

Preparing in advance:

  • Make sure your pets – cats and dogs alike – have identification tags with up-to-date information. If you have horses, you might consider marking a safety (breakaway) halter with your contact information and leaving it on your horse during this stressful time.
  • If your pets aren’t already microchipped, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. This simple procedure can greatly improve your chances of getting your pets back if they become lost.
  • If your pets are microchipped, make sure your contact information in the microchip registry is up-to-date.
  • Take a current photo of all of your cats, dogs and horses – just in case.
  • If your pet has historically been anxious on this holiday, or if you have reason to expect potentially harmful reactions, consider behavioral therapy to desensitize your pet and reduce the risk of problems. Some pets may need medication. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist.
  • Make sure the environment is safe and secure. If your neighbors set off fireworks at an unexpected time, is your yard secure enough to keep your pet contained? Are pasture fences secure enough to keep horses or other livestock confined? Evaluate your options, and choose the safest area for your animals; and make improvements if needed to make the area more secure.

Safety during July 4th celebrations:

  • Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
  • Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
  • Keep horses and livestock in safely fenced areas and as far from the excitement and noise as possible.
  • If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.
  • Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets.
  • Don’t let pets get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.
  • Avoid the urge to feed your pets table scraps or other foods intended for people. Be especially careful to keep them away from these common foods that are actually toxic.
  • Remember that too much sun and heat (and humidity!) can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid; make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors; don’t leave them outside for extended periods in hot weather; and know the signs that a pet may be overheating.
  • Never leave your pet in your car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up much faster than the air around them, and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.
  • If you’re travelling out of town for the holiday, consider leaving your pets at home with a pet sitter or boarding them in a kennel. If you need to bring them with you, be sure you know how to keep them safe.
  • Follow safe food handling and hygiene practices to protect your family and guests.

After the celebrations:

  • Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.
  • Check your pastures and remove debris to protect horses and livestock.
  • If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.

February is Pet Dental Health Month!

February is National Pet Dental Health Month!

(Brought to you by the AVMA)

Don't turn your nose to Fido's or Fluffy's bad breath! That odor might signify a serious health risk, with the potential to damage not only your pet's teeth and gums but its internal organs as well.

To address the significance of oral health care for pets, the AVMA sponsors National Pet Dental Health Month every February. Click on the links below to learn more about  how you can improve the dental (and overall) health of your pets. 

Test Yourself

How much do you know about your pet's dental health? Take our quiz to find out!

Watch

Dr. Sheldon Rubin gives easy, step-by-step instructions on how to teach a dog or cat to accept a daily tooth brushing. He also describes healthy treats, and explains the true risks of periodontal disease in pets. 

Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition in cats and dogs even though it's completely preventable. Dr. Cindy Charlier explains what periodontal disease is and how we can prevent our pets from getting it.

Listen

Dr. Jan Bellows, a former president of the American Veterinary Dental College and owner of All Pets Dental in Weston, Fla., discussed the importance of dental health for our pets in an interview for our Animal Trackspodcast series.

 

dental health

AVMA: 8 things you can do to protect your dog in the summer

Here is a great list from the AVMA: 8 things you can do to protect your dog in the summer

  1. Never, ever leave your dog in the car;
  2. Make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water;
  3. Make sure your dog has access to shade when outside;
  4. Take walks during the cooler hours of the day;
  5. When walking, try to stay off of hot surfaces (like asphalt) because it can burn your dog’s paws;
  6. If you think it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter for your pet – make sure your pet has a means of cooling off;
  7. Keep your dog free of external parasites (fleas, ticks) and heartworms – consult your veterinarian about the best product for your pet;
  8. Consider clipping or shaving dogs with long coats (talk to your veterinarian first to see if it’s appropriate for your pet), and apply sunscreen to your dog’s skin if she or he has a thin coat.

Pet Food Recalls and Alerts

The AVMA publishes updated pet food recalls and alerts on their website. This information is based on reports and alerts received from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or manufacturers.  To report a problem or to learn about recalls and alerts, go to: https://www.avma.org/News/Issues/recalls-alerts/Pages/pet-food-safety-recalls-alerts.aspx

AVMA Pet Food Recall List

AVMA Pet Food Recall List

The American Veterinary Medical Association publishes an ongoing list of pet food alerts and recalls. This information is based on reports and alerts received from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or manufacturers: https://www.avma.org/news/issues/recalls-alerts/pages/pet-food-safety-recalls-alerts.aspx

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