Protecting pets during summer, Fourth of July festivities

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OKLAHOMA CITY -A lot of families are planning activities for the whole family this holiday weekend, but experts want to make sure you don’t forget about your four-legged family members.

“Summer heat can be dangerous, or even deadly, for pets, and many pets are frightened by fireworks and thunderstorms,” Dr. Staubus, interim department head of Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City’s (OSU-OKC) Department of Veterinary Technology, said. “Pests like fleas and ticks also proliferate in the warmer months, and can cause discomfort or even diseases in pets. With a little bit of planning, your four-legged friends will enjoy their summer as much as you enjoy yours.”

The ASPCA recommends the following to make sure your pets are happy and healthy this summer:

  • Never leave your pets in a parked car- On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes with the windows opened slightly. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At this point, your pet could suffer irreversible organ damage or die.
  • Limit exercise on hot days- On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours and be careful with pets with light-colored fur. Asphalt can get very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk on grass if possible. Also, bring water to keep your dog hydrated.
  • Don’t rely on a fan- Fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people.
  • Provide plenty of shade and water- Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun, and plenty of fresh, cold water. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat- in fact, it makes it worse. Instead, put up tarps so they don’t obstruct air flow.
  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them- Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets.
  • Don’t apply sunscreen or bug spray to pets – Misuse of human products can lead to neurological problems or lethargy.
  • Always keep matches away from pets- Certain types of matches can damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing. Lighter fluid can also cause an array of issues.
  • Keep your pets on a normal diet- Any change can give your pet indigestion and diarrhea. Foods like onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough can be deadly to pets.
  • Never use fireworks around pets- Many fireworks contain toxic substances and can cause damage, even if they are not lit.
  • Don’t take them to see fireworks – They can become frightened by the sound, so resist the urge to take them out on Independence Day.
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