By Animal Behaviorist Diane Anderson
The fifth of July is the busiest day of the year for Animal Shelters. Why? Because the night before, pets all over town flee their homes in fear running from fireworks. How do you prevent this from happening to your pet?
First thing’s first. Make sure your pet has ID tags and a micro chip. If they do end up at the shelter or on the street it will be easier for them to find their way back to you. If your pet is not micro chipped, make an appointment at our veterinary clinic to have that done sooner rather than later.
There are many steps you can take to prevent your pet from becoming a tragic statistic. First of which is to stay home with them. Many pet parents take this approach on this particular holiday. If you are keeping a watchful eye on your pet, they won’t get out and get lost.
If you cannot stay home, secure your pet. Crate them or shut them in a secure room. Also, make sure that this secure space is away from any windows where they might see the flashes of light from the festivities. Leave the TV or radio on to help muffle the sound.
If your pet already suffers from anxiety, place a dog thunder jacket or cat thunder jacket on him or her and spray a calming mist on their bedding. You can also purchase calming treats. As a last resort your veterinarian can prescribe anti anxiety medication.
It is possible to desensitize your dog to the sound and sights of fireworks. That however is a lengthy process and more than this blog can hold. If you are interested in this method, please contact us for more information.
Fireworks are not the only hazard Independence Day brings to our pets. Many people celebrate the holiday with a back yard barbeque. There are hidden hazards there as well. Your dog may end up eating food you do not intend for them to eat.
Guests may not be able to resist that oh-so-cute and “obviously starving” face. Kids may think it’s fun to feed your dog. Food gets dropped, plates get left unattended, and you’d be surprised at how stealth and quick your dog can be!
Foods that your dog should not have include: Pork (hot dogs), onion, grapes, raisins, chocolate, heavily spiced foods, and alcohol. At worst there may be a vet visit in your future, at best you may have quite a mess to clean up later.
Lastly, if you have an outside pet (read about the hazards of leaving your dog or cat outside, no matter the day), consider bringing them in for the night. Not only will they benefit from a quieter environment, but unfortunately, there are some people who do horrible things to animals with fire works. Protect your pet. Overall it is best to keep your dog as involved in family activities as possible, as safely as you can.
If you find a lost pet, check for ID tags. It may be as simple as calling the number on the tag to reunite the pet with their family. If no tags are present, please call your local Animal Control or bring the pet to them if you can. They can scan the pet for a micro chip, plus it will be the place the owners will most likely check first.
Have a happy, healthy, and safe Fourth of July!