July 4th Pet Safety Tips / Recipes

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Statistics show that more pets leave home on the 4th of July than any other day of the year. The loud and sudden sounds from fireworks can release adrenaline and stress hormones that drive a pet’s instincts to run. Talk about turning a celebration into a disaster! Here are some tips to help ensure that your Independence Day ends on a happy note for you and Fido. 

Fireworks can be very scary for our pets. For any holiday, whether it is a huge commercial display or a few fireworks in the neighborhood. It's important to keep you pet indoors. Leave a radio or TV on louder than the fireworks outside, especially if you are not going to be home. Plan ahead, take your dog on a long walk or engage them in vigorous play so they will be tired when the fireworks begin.  Pets can sense if you are uneasy, it is important you are calm.  If they want to hide, that's fine, just continue to be calm so they know it is not a threat.  

This is called desensitizing introducing our pet to scary situations, then rewarding him positively.

A tight fitting harness or tank can often help to calm them. 

Make sure your pet’s identification is current
The best way to get your pet back if he leaves the safety of your home is by having current information on his id tag. Has Fido been microchipped? This is a great excuse for doing so. Just in case, take a current photo of your pet.

Baby, it’s hot outside and in your car
Don’t leave your pet in your car on a sunny day. Temperatures can reach dangerous levels in just minutes. It’s hot outside, too. If it is hot for you it is hot for Fifi. Know the signs of overheating – hyperventilation, excessive panting, dry and pale gums, increased salivation, erratic or rapid pulse, to name a few. If you see signs of overheating soak your pet in cool water using a hose, wet towels or any other source of cool (not cold) water.

You can party like an animal but your pet shouldn’t
Going to a party – leave your pet at home. Hosting a party – enlist your guests to help keep an eye on your pet. Ask them to refrain from feeding him table scraps and help keep him away from the BBQ. Place notes on all exit doors warning guests to be careful not to let your pet escape.

Turn to natural products or medications for pets with higher anxiety levels
If your pet is prone to stress or exhibiting anxious behavior, ask your vet to prescribe something to help take the edge off. Or take advantage of one of the many natural products you can find at your pet store. CBD, acquired from a reputable source and used as directed might even be a solution.

Keep pets away from fireworks
Sure, you enjoy oohing and aahing to the sights and sounds that make the 4th so special. Your pet, not so much. She doesn't need to see or hear them. It’s a much better idea to keep your pet away from the crowds, loud noises and unfamiliar places where you find yourself celebrating. After the festivities, check your yard for fireworks debris, etc.

Keep Fido at home
For your peace of mind and your pet’s safety, keep him at home. If you are going out, leave him in a safe, escape proof room or crate. Turn on soothing music or the TV to help muffle the sounds of fireworks outside.

You might also consider giving calming aid tabs, which are available at pet stores if they are known to be frightened. Read dosage information carefully and discuss the option with your vet first.

If you are home with your pets, keep an eye out for signs of stress during the fireworks.  Look for the three P's: panting, pooping and pacing. Loss of hair, hiding under the bed or couch, not wanting to go on walks, and not eating for more than one day are other signs of stress, as are excessive licking and behavioral changes, such as constant tail chasing. These behaviors are normal in stressful situations, but if they last more than a day, seek your vet's advise.

TAIL WAGGIN DOG LOVIN' RECIPES

Keep your best friend cool on hot summer days with refreshing canine coolers. Serve by the poochie pool or under the shade of your dog's favorite tree. Choose from the suggestions below, or make up your own.

CANINE COOLERS

Mix the punch ingredients together in a jug. Pour the punch, or the chicken soup, into Popsicle molds or ice-cube trays. If you want, replace standard lollipop sticks with rawhide chew sticks. Freeze and feed.

PAW-ty Punch
3 1/2 fl oz apple juice (unsweetened)
3 1/2 fl oz cranberry juice (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 
Cheeky Chicken Cocktail
7 fl oz Chicken Soup (cooled)
 
Chicken Soup RECIPE:
1 free-range chicken, cut into quarters
2 carrots, sliced
3.5 pints (2 liters) cold water
2 TBSP corn flour, diluted in 3.5 oz cold water
2 oz. cabbage, shredded
1 TBSP dried oregano

 

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1. Place chicken pieces in a large saucepan with the carrots. Add the measured water and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and set aside.
2. Bring the stock back to simmering, add the diluted cornflour and stir until it has thickened. Add the cabbage and oregano and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off, then leave to cool.
3. Discard the chicken bones and skin, and finely shred the meat. Add to the cooled sou. Transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months. Serve cold or warmed slightly, but never hot - your dog cannot digest hot food and it can cause damage to his stomach lining.
 
This chicken and veggie soup is a great meal-topper for regular dog food. The natural gravy adds flavor without the salt and preservatives.  DO NOT salt the chicken.  Salt is dangerous for your dogs.
 
Add berries to the soup is your dog has a sweet tooth. Or swap the chicken for liver or veggies. Customize it for your pet.

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CHEESY APPLE NIPS
Makes 16, wagging wedges

3 oz low-fat cream cheese
2 oz blue cheese
4 medium apples
 
1. Beat cream cheese and blue cheese together until smooth.
2. Core apples and fill with cheese mixture
3. Chill 2 to 3 hours
4. Cut into wedges to serve. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

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Banana Mutt Cookies
Makes about 20 mutt pleasers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1-1/2 cups ripe mashed bananas
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oats
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup applesauce
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1. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.
2. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet and press flat with a fork
3. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, then cool on a rack before serving. Store in an airtight container.