How to keep pets safe dur­ing Fourth of July fire­works

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Gra­ham Am­brose

As the coun­try gears up for its 241st birthday cel­e­bra­tion, pet own­ers na­tion­wide are on alert. More pets go miss­ing over the Fourth of July week­end than any other time of year, ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals. But a few pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures can help keep your pet safe and happy dur­ing the fam­ily-friendly hol­i­day.

Whether stay­ing in or trav­el­ing far, you can turn these rou­tine steps into a yearly tra­di­tion as de­pend­able as hol­i­day sparklers and ap­ple pie.

Don’t bring pets to f ire­works dis­plays.

Fire­works shows are a per­fect storm for an­i­mals: loud, bright, crowded and most of­ten in an unfamiliar place. Vet­eri­nar­i­ans rec­om­mend that you re­sist the urge and keep pets away from the lights dis­play. The sights and sounds can sim­u­late se­vere storm con­di­tions, trans­form­ing a joy­ous cel­e­bra­tion for the fam­ily into a night­mare for man’s best friend.

Keep pets in­doors — ideally in a quiet, iso­lated room with no win­dows.

Your pet has the low­est like­li­hood of run­ning away or ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dis­tress in his fa­vorite room at home. Keep­ing noise and flash­ing lights at bay will help ease anx­i­ety, sug­gests the Amer­i­can Ve­teri­nary Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion. Win­dow­less rooms such as bath­rooms or base­ments help muf­fle sound and keep out light.

Play back­ground noise to f ight the blast of f ire­works.

Sooth­ing sounds from a TV, ra­dio or fan can help soothe your pet. You can also try play­ing recorded noises from fire­works or sim­i­lar ex­plo­sions in the days be­fore July 4 to ac­cli­mate your pet be­fore the hol­i­day.

If you must be out­doors with your pet, use a leash or a car­rier.

Do not leave the an­i­mal alone, as even a well-be­haved pet can act out or try to es­cape un­der un­usual stress from noise, heat, smoke or light. Play­ing with your pet on a leash can help keep him calm dur­ing a stress-in­duc­ing fire­works show.

Con­sider ask­ing a ve­teri­nar­ian for a pet tran­quil­izer.

If you know your pet is prone to dis­pro­por­tion­ate anx­i­ety that could jeop­ar­dize your Fourth of July plans, con­sider ask­ing a ve­teri­nar­ian for a pet tran­quil­izer or seda­tive. But be warned: Anx­i­etyre­duc­ers have side ef­fects, ac­cord­ing to PetMD, so ask your ve­teri­nar­ian be­fore giv­ing your pup any new med­i­ca­tion.

Ease anx­i­ety with qual­ity time.

Nor­mal com­fort­ing tac­tics can help keep your pet calm. Pet­ting, play­ing, walk­ing, sooth­ing and dis­tract­ing can keep your pet from act­ing out. Chew toys, treats, and plenty of wa­ter for pant­ing dogs will help mit­i­gate a po­ten­tial melt­down. Just like peo­ple, pets thrive with a lit­tle help from their friends.

Make sure your pet has proper iden­tif ica­tion list­ing your name, cur­rent phone and ad­dress.

There’s never a bad time to im­prove your pet’s chance of stick­ing around. In the un­for­tu­nate case that your pet es­capes, proper iden­ti­fi­ca­tion might be his only ticket home. Make sure his col­lar lists a re­spon­sive, re­li­able way to find you. Also con­sider plant­ing a GPS-ac­ces- sible mi­crochip in your pet in case of an emer­gency, rec­om­mends the Metro Den­ver An­i­mal Wel­fare Al­liance.

Conf irm that your yard is safe and se­cure for pets.

Use the hol­i­day to dou­ble-check for holes, fenc­ing gaps and other ways your pet could es­cape un­der the cover of dark­ness and noise.

Make sure to have a photo of your pet, just in case.

Nowa­days, pet searchers of­ten take to so­cial me­dia. A good pic­ture will al­low friends on­line to share the story and ex­pand the reach of pos­si­ble res­cuers.

Found a lost an­i­mal? Take it to your lo­cal an­i­mal shel­ter.

Check Petfinder to lo­cate an an­i­mal shel­ter or res­cue groups. Call your lo­cal an­i­mal shel­ter to sched­ule a drop-off.

TJ Hutchin­son, The Den­ver Post

Take pre­cau­tions with your pets when Fourth of July Fire­works might frighten them.

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