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Keep Your Pets Safe on the 4th of July

Family and friends of G.R. Gordon-Ross watch his private fireworks show at the Youth Sports Complex in Lawrence, Kan., Friday, June 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Mercury News – Originally posted on July 02, 2013: The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Hot dogs, potato salad and, of course, fireworks.

But Independence Day is not such a joyful time for our animal friends. The noises and flashes of light are anything but enjoyable for them. Some become emotionally traumatized, cowering in corners, while others may bolt out of fear. Even pets that normally aren’t phased can have bad reactions to all of the bangs and pops.

The East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has kindly provided tips to help keep our animals calm and safe during the next few days:

– Keeping your dogs and cats indoors is one of the simplest things you can do to keep them safe. Even if your pet usually does well outdoors, both cats and dogs might run in a panic from fireworks or people. More pets go missing during the July Fourth holiday than at any other time of the year.

– If possible, stay at home with your pet. That way, you will be able to make adjustments to routines and comfort a distraught animal. If your dog appears fearful, allow him to go into his kennel or somewhere he feels safe. If your cat is skittish, place her in a darkened, cozy room with some of her favorite things. Most important, comfort them and reassure them that all is OK.

– Make sure your pets are wearing identification. One in three pets will go missing in their lifetime. If they don’t have identification, 90 percent don’t return home.

In addition to a collar with tags, consider microchipping your pet. Many frightened pets can slip their collars, leaving them with no path home. Contact the SPCA or other animal groups to see if they offer the service. Also make sure that contact information with the chipping company and on collar tags is up-to-date.

– Keep an emergency file. If your pet does go missing, it is a good idea to have a folder with a list of local shelters, as well as a current photo of your pet showing any unique markings for identification. Make sure the entire family knows where this folder is kept and that it is easily accessible.

– If your pet has a history of problems, talk to your veterinarian about medications. East Bay SPCA Chief Veterinarian Michael Sozanski says pets often find the loud, unpredictable noise and bright light displays frightening and should not be subjected to fireworks shows. "In case of severe phobia," Sozanski says, "nothing may work to ease your pet’s fear. If there is a chance your pet may exhibit this level of fear, speak to your veterinarian about possible medications." Medications can include anti-anxiety drugs or sedatives.

– Consider your pet when party planning. If you have friends over to celebrate, be especially mindful of doors and windows. Guests may be unaware that your dog or cat might escape even if a door is left open for a short amount of time. Try securing your cat in a quiet room or keeping your dog in the kennel or with you on a leash as guests are coming and going.

– If you are going to an outdoor event and bringing your pet, make sure there is plenty or water and shade.

American Pride - Dog with Flag

Things to watch for:

–In dogs, warning signs of anxiety can be excessive panting, drooling, trembling and shaking, pacing, aggression, panicking and escape behavior. Watch for inappropriate body movements, such as jumping erratically over or on furniture, that could lead to injuries.

–Symptoms in cats may include panting, drooling, trembling, hiding, freezing, aggression, panicking and escape behavior. They also may behave erratically, jumping and climbing. They may hurt themselves or others.

Joan Morris’ column runs five days a week in print and online. Contact her at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com.

*Even events at home and indoors can be traumatic for some dogs/pets.  Be watchful for signs.  Sometimes putting pets who are not social in a separate room by themselves or with another pet with the TV or music on and some of their toys and snacks can be helpful.

Related:

Fourth of July food safety tips

4th of July Pet Parades Around the Country

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July 1, 2015 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holidays With Pets, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pets | , , , , | 1 Comment