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Publix Paws Monthly Pet Tips

Pet Do's and Don'ts for the 4th of July

We all love to include our pets in our celebrations with family and friends. But the 4th of July, in all its loud, blasting, fiery glory, is one party your pet would rather not be invited to.

Do use sunscreen on any area of your pets that are thin-skinned and not covered by hair—the little tips of pale noses, for example.

Don't apply anything that isn't labeled specifically for use on animals.

If your pets accidentally eat or lick sunscreen products, he or she may suffer from drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy. Insect repellent with DEET, a common insecticide, can lead to neurological issues.

Do give your pets their own special dinner or treats made just for pets.

Don't let your pets eat scraps from the grill or buffet.

Changes in diet can cause severe indigestion and diarrhea, especially in older pets. These foods are potentially toxic to animals: avocado, chocolate, coffee, grapes and raisins, onions, salt, and yeast dough.

Do provide your pets with plenty of fresh water in a few locations in the house or in your back yard.

Don't leave alcoholic beverages unattended where pets can get to them.

Any alcoholic drink is potentially poisonous to pets. They could become intoxicated and weak, depressed, or even comatose. In severe cases, death from respiratory failure is a possibility.

Do invite your dog to your cookout if it's just a few people and you can supervise him or her closely. If your outside cat wanders in, watch him or her carefully, but otherwise leave them alone.

Don't leave matches or lighter fluid where your pets could chew or lick them.

Your pets could suffer damaged blood cells and even kidney disease from the chlorates in some matches. And if your pets ingest lighter fluid or lick an insect coil, they could suffer gastrointestinal irritation or central nervous system damage. A good sniff of lighter fluid or a citronella candle can cause aspiration pneumonia or other breathing problems.

Do make your dog a part of your festivities with a red, white, and blue bandanna. Let your cat attend "come as you are."

Don't let your pets wear or play with glow jewelry.

It's not highly toxic, but the luminescent stuff inside these tubes can still cause excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation. And if your pets swallow a large piece of the plastic, it could even cause a blocked intestine.

Do keep your pet indoors in a quiet, sheltered, escape-proof area at home where firecracker sounds from outside can't be heard.

Don't take your dog along to a loud, crowded venue where there will be fireworks. And you know your cat wouldn't consider it!

Many types of fireworks contain potentially toxic substances like potassium nitrate, arsenic, and other heavy metals. Lit fireworks can result in burns or trauma to curious noses and paws.

Be a best friend this summer and don't bring your pets to see the fireworks. Instead, find some togetherness time playing and relaxing. You'll both be happier for it.


Paws for Patriots™  image title

LTC Kathy Champion, US Army, retired, survived seven explosions during her tour of duty, experiencing the worst of conflicts in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. After struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Kathy lost her vision due to a virus she contracted in Iraq. She became isolated and depressed, overwhelmed by all she had been through.

Thanks to Southeastern Guide Dogs' Paws for Patriots, Kathy and her guide dog, George live life with passion, hiking in Peru, winning sailing races, and running triathlons.

"George is more than my guide," Kathy says. "He's my emotional support. I can't let life pass me by; George loves getting out!"

Southeastern Guide Dogs' Paws for Patriots program invests in our veterans, providing guide dogs for visually impaired veterans; Veteran Service Dogs for PTSD sufferers, and Facility Therapy Dogs in veteran's healthcare facilities around the nation.

Visit for more information.