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This holiday weekend, families will likely be enjoying time outside, barbecuing, watching fireworks and sharing a cold drink with friends and loved ones. During the festivities, it’s important to keep a close eye on the family pets too, according to a press release.

The Humane Society of Missouri offers four tips pet parents should remember this Fourth of July to keep their pets safe, healthy and happy.

Fireworks are no fun for pets, a press release states. The bright lights and loud noises of fireworks are often frightening and disorienting for pets. A dog’s ears, on average, are four times more sensitive than humans. Also keep pets away from the fireworks, as exposure to a lit firework could result in severe burns to a curious pet. Additionally, many substances used to create color in fireworks, like potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals can be toxic if swallowed.

Don’t let your pet eat food they normally wouldn’t. Foods they normally don’t eat can give them severe indigestion and diarrhea. According to the release, this is particularly true for older animals with specific nutritional requirements. Foods like onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins and salt can be toxic to pets.

Be aware of poison hazards. Many substances found at a summer cookout or campsite can be harmful to pets if ingested. Don’t put any bug spray or sunscreen on pets that is not made for animal use. Do not allow your animals to play with glowsticks or luminescent jewelry. Keep citronella candles, tiki torch oil, charcoal and other fire accelerants away from pets too.

Keep ID tags and microchips up to date. Some pets can become so frightened by fireworks that they run away scared. Without proper identification it will be much harder to find them if they get lost. Always make sure that all ID tags are properly affixed to your pet’s collar and that they have your current contact information, including cell phone numbers.

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