For us, the sound of fireworks on the Fourth of July is exciting, but for our pets, it's a different story. The unanticipated, loud, jolting sound of a firework is extremely frightening and sometimes painful to our pets. It can evoke fright in an animal and cause behaviors that we would never think our pet was capable of. When fright takes over, your animal is likely to take "flight."
Unfortunately, numerous animals will run in fear to escape from what they perceive to be as danger. Animals running in fear can escape from enclosures or yards, become injured in various ways or hit by cars, as well as become lost. In a panic, they may not listen to you or even bite someone in fear. Unfortunately, this one night of celebration can keep emergency animal clinics and County Animal Services hopping.
This holiday we encourage you to be sensitive to the needs and comfort of your pets during impending celebrations, which cause a change in routine, loud noises and gatherings that can be stressful to your pets. The heightened activity of "strangers" celebrating at your home, or you being away from home while your pet hears other nearby activities and strange noises can make your pet anxious.
To keep your pet safe on July 4, consider these precautions and tips:
* Leave your pet at home and indoors if you attend a fireworks display. Pets should be put in a safe, escape proof place, in familiar surroundings with a television or radio on to mitigate noise.
* Do not leave your pets in your vehicle to watch fireworks. Vehicle interiors can get dangerously hot, even when windows are left partially open or during evening hours, and your pet could be injured trying to escape from noise.
* Consult your veterinarian if you know your pet is reactive to noise. A veterinarian may be able to suggest an anti-anxiety medication or other technique to keep your pet calm.
* Keep alert to foods and products used on July 4 that can harm your pets. Alcoholic drinks, toothpicks in foods, chicken bones, matches and lighter fluid, hot coals or flames from the barbeque, citronella candles, are just a few things that can entice your pet and can injure or make them ill.
* Ensure pets are easily identifiable. Pets with a properly registered microchip and/or external identification tags are more readily reunited with their owners. Microchipping is available at the the County Animal Shelters every Thursday from 1-3 p.m. If your pet is already microchipped, make sure your personal information is current.
* If you lose your pet, visit your local animal shelters immediately. Owners of lost pets should personally visit local shelters frequently. Post signs and place ads. Visit sddac.com to search for pets, and find shelter locations and hours.
* If you find a pet, it should be taken to the nearest shelter. Pets are considered private property and distraught owners will be searching area shelters for their pets. If you find a pet, call County Animal Services at 619-767-2675.