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Having a Blast on the Fourth? Keep Fido Safe

Offer dogs a quiet place to 'hide' from fireworks, expert advises

TUESDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- The July Fourth holiday may mean happy times for humans, but your best furry friend may well want to hide, veterinary experts say.

From barbeques to heat and fireworks, Independence Day festivities pose specific risks to dogs, according to emergency room veterinarian Liz Rozanski, an associate professor of clinical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

Rozanski advised pet owners to take the following precautions to ensure the safety of their dogs this Fourth of July:

  • Offer your dog a place to "hide" from fireworks since the loud blasts, like thunder, can be terrifying to your pet.
  • Don't give your dog bones from the meat and poultry you grill. Bones can splinter inside a dog's digestive tract. Avoid serving foods on a stick, like shish kabobs, since these sticks can also cause blockages or gastrointestinal perforations.
  • Certain foods can be toxic to dogs. Keep your pet away from garlic, grapes, raisins and chocolate.
  • Don't overdo the table scraps. Limit the amount of people food you give your dog to avoid vomiting or more serious problems.
  • Don't allow your dog to overheat. Be sure to provide your dog plenty of water and a shady spot to lie down to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Adding ice cubes to your dog's water bowl is a good idea. Call your veterinarian right away if you notice excessive panting, lethargy and dry gums.
  • Never leave your pet in a car in warm weather. Leave your dog at home in a cool, safe place if the temperature is above 65 degrees.

More information

The ASPCA provides additional summer safety tips for pets.

SOURCE: Tufts University, news release, June 29, 2012

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