4 Independence Day dangers for pets


Loud noises aren't the only worry pets face on July Fourth. To help clients keep pets safe, be familiar with the signs and treatments for these four threats.

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Everything from small smoke bombs and sparklers to large aerial displays has the potential to burn curious and unsuspecting pets. What’s more, fireworks can contain a variety of heavy metals—iron, copper, barium, mercury, phosphorus and magnesium—that are used as coloring agents and may cause heavy-metal poisoning if ingested.

Clinical signs:

The face, muzzle, lips, tongue, and paws are most common places pets get burned by fireworks. If ingested, the heavy metals or other materials may cause vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, jaundice, tremors, and seizures.


If pets are burned or ingest fireworks, immediate examination by a veterinarian is recommended. Given the potential for severe burns especially in the mouth and upper gastrointestinal tract, Pet Poison Helpline does not routinely recommend that pet owners induce vomiting at home. Also, in-clinic administration of activated charcoal to bind the toxin is not often recommended since activated charcoal doesn’t bind well to metals. Overall, treatment is based on the clinical signs noted and may include pain medications, anti-emetics, IV fluids, burn-management procedures, and chelation therapy for heavy metals.


Good in many cases involving small fireworks, minor burns, or very small ingestions. Poor in cases involving large ingestions of multiple fireworks and in cases of liver and neurological damage.

Next July Fourth danger:

Glow-in-the-dark jewelry and glow sticks

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