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July 4th is quickly approaching and at Advanced Veterinary Care (AVC) we want you and your pet to enjoy the holiday.  At AVC our primary mission is pet health and accident prevention.  For humans, July 4th means barbeques, pool parties, and fireworks.  For pets however, those same activities can be harmful or even fatal.  Here are some tips to help keep your pet safe this July 4th.

Remember that pets have delicate digestive systems and changes to their diet could cause vomiting or diarrhea.  A burger or hot dog that falls on the ground may seem like a nice treat for your dog, but you are better off throwing it away.  Chicken, steak and rib bones are choking hazards and may cause severe gastroenteritis.  Also, remember that alcohol is toxic to pets.  If possible, contain your pet in an area away from the party.  If your pet mingles with the guests, make sure they do not indulge in any untended plates or drinks.  If you have reason to believe your pet may have ingested something harmful, bring them in to AVC immediately.

Beach visits and pool parties are a San Diego staple.  While many dogs love the water and are excellent swimmers, this is not always the case.  When at the beach, make sure that the surf is not too large and that you are not in an area with riptides.  Bring fresh water and do not let your dog drink the salt water, as it can dehydrate them or make them sick.  When at a pool, make sure your dog knows where to get out of the pool and do not let them get over-tired.  Provide fresh water, as pool water can also make a pet sick.  Lastly, never throw or push a pet into the pool or water.  This can be extremely traumatic for the animal and cause a lifelong fear of water.

Possibly the most traumatic event for pets on the Fourth of July is fireworks.  Fireworks can be so upsetting for some dogs that they jump through a window or over a six foot fence out of sheer panic or in an attempt to escape the noise and booming vibration.  For this reason, the most important thing you can do to protect your pet (even indoor pets) is to make sure they are microchipped and have a collar with your contact information on it.  We strongly recommend your pet have both.  July 1 is National ID Your Pet Day, which serves as an annual reminder to make sure your pets’ identification tags and microchip information is current.  Other things you can do to help your pet survive the holiday include keeping them home, closing all the windows and doors, leaving a television or radio playing to drown out noise, keeping them in a small secure space, and staying home with your pet.  For dogs with an extreme fear of fireworks, all of the above, products like the Thundershirt, and even sedation may be required.

If you have any questions regarding how to keep your pet safe this Fourth of July, or any other day, please do not hesitate to contact one of the doctors or staff at AVC.  Remember that at AVC, our first line of defense is always prevention.