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Keep pets safe on Fourth of July

Doctors and staff from BluePearl Veterinary Partners recommend keeping pet safety in mind during planned Fourth of July festivities.

With all of the celebration, sweet savory barbequed dishes, open flames and fireworks, paying attention to detail is an important practice to prevent your pet from injury.

Prevention is always the best form of first aid. However, in the event of a burn or injury to your furry friend, here are some first aid tips you need to know:

• Never put any types of cream, ointment, butter or margarine on a pet's burn. These can introduce bacteria and other harmful substances into the burned area.

• If the burn is mild, cool the area as soon as possible with cool water and contact your veterinarian. Never use ice as ice increases the chance of hypothermia.

• For more severe burns, cover the wound with a clean, sterile cloth. Most importantly get the pet to your family veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinary hospital as soon as possible.

In addition to the burn itself, injured animals may not behave as usual due to pain, fear or shock.

Besides burn injuries, veterinarians usually see an uptick in emergencies related to vomiting, diarrhea and heat exhaustion during the holiday.

Keep pets in an air conditioned environment during the heat of the day and limit strenuous activities such as running and playing. Always make sure your pet has access to plenty of fresh water.

If your pet does become overheated, spray the animal down with room temperature or cool water, but never ice water. Ice cold water causes a decrease in blood flow to the skin and heat can't escape the body, which makes heat exhaustion symptoms worse.

Besides physical injuries, pets may have an increase in anxiety and stress due to fireworks and visits by a house full of guests that may not usually be around. This is important to remember as your pets may not behave as they usually do.

If your pets frighten easily, make sure they can't run away, as loud noises from fireworks could frighten them. Also, if your pets are frightened due to this unusual activity, try playing a game during this time to distract them or place them in a secure area like a kennel where they can feel safe.

Placing a blanket over the kennel can decrease their anxiety. If you know your pet experiences anxiety in thunderstorms and while fireworks are going off, contact your veterinarian to see about potential medicated solutions.

Furthermore, with the Fourth of July usually comes a feast of flavorful foods, but remember the same things you enjoy could harm or even kill your pet.

Alcohol, avocado, caffeine, chives, chocolate, coffee, garlic, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions and raisins, can all have a negative effect on your pet. If your pet has ingested any of these items and is displaying signs of gastrointestinal upset, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.

"Please make sure your pets are secure this 4th of July," said Dr. Andrew Jackson, a board-certified surgeon with BluePearl in Minnesota. "If pets become frightened, they could take off and get loose, which could cause them to be hit by a vehicle."