Wednesday, July 4, 2012


                                                            Marion Pellicano Ambrose

Last night, men, women and children all across America had a wonderful time enjoying the sparkle, splendor and excitement of the many fireworks displays. Unfortunately, there were some who spent the night in agony, distress, and even terror.

In the house behind mine, a lone Labrador retriever was locked outside in the yard while his owners went out for the evening. The poor animal cried and howled in fear. He tried to hide or to get back into the house, but there was nowhere for him to go. His moaning became more and more tortured as the evening progressed and the booming, popping sounds of fireworks increased. I’m sure these sounds seemed more like the sounds of a war zone to this unfortunate creature.

My own 4 dogs fear fireworks to different degrees. Dudley, the corgi, is petrified. We keep him inside and he chooses to stay in his night cage (with his Posturpedic pet bed) with several of his soft toys. Gracie, our Sheltie is frightened but will go from her night cage to sitting at my feet all night long. Roscoe, our Yorkie, runs around the family room with his raccoon toy in his mouth trying to keep himself distracted. Finally, he drops, exhausted, in his cage. Finally, my little Chippie, a silky terrier/shiatsu mix, doesn’t react at all. Chippie is 18 years old, blind and deaf but still agile and active. She paces the room’s perimeter, using the wall as a guide. She senses that something is up, but can neither see nor hear what it is.

The point is, we do what is needed to keep our animals calm and feeling safe. When our dog Mello was alive, she was so nervous that we had the Vet prescribe a sedative for her to get her through the holiday. Pet owners have to be responsible and compassionate to their animals.

Here are some tips from the ASPCA to keep your pet safe on the 4th of July or anytime.

  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
  • Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.
  • Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.
  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
  • Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
  • Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.
Watch this cute 47 second video!


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