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As you plan a festive Fourth of July, take a moment and consider your pets. Here are some helpful tips to keep your pets safe and calm during the celebration:

  Dog with American Flag Bandana
  Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Keep Your Pets Indoors at All Times

Pets don't associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of fireworks with celebrations. Most pets are terrified of fireworks, and panic at the loud whizzes and bangs they produce. In panicked situations, pets can flee and end up lost, injured or killed.

Even if your pet is used to being outside, the safest bet is to get them in for the night. A safe spot like a closet or crate can provide a secure feeling for your pet when it is feeling anxious.

Keep Proper Pet Identification

If your pet becomes lost, it will be much harder to get them back without proper identification. Options include microchip identification, ID tags with their name and your phone number, or both.

BBQ Safely

Lighter fluid and matches contain harmful chemicals if ingested, or even exposed to, leading to difficulty breathing, gastric problems, or skin irritation.

Also, don't be tempted to slip some BBQ food to your begging pets. Beer, bread, and excessive meats are all hazards to your pets. Corn on the cob and rib bones can lead to fatal obstruction.

Remember always to keep the contact information for your veterinarian and an animal emergency clinic just in case of a medical emergency. You can also contact a Pet Poison Control hotline for any questions you may have.

Dr. Alia Habhab ("Dr. Alia") has been working at Animal House of Chicago since July 2013. A graduate of Ross University Veterinary School, she finished her clinical year at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in May 2013. Dr. Alia has a special interest in exotic animal medicine.