American Humane Society, Special to Valley News
Independence Day may be fun for people, but for pets, it can be frightening and even dangerous. July 5 is the busiest day of the year at animal shelters as companion animals that fled in fright the night before are found miles from their homes, disoriented and exhausted. Anxious families often find themselves searching the streets and shelters looking for a treasured family member whose fear drove him to jump a high fence or break her leash or chain.
If a pet is upset by thunder, a door slamming or other loud noises, Fourth of July fireworks will be utterly terrifying, so take these precautions:
Pets won’t enjoy the fireworks display, so leave them at home. Keep them inside and shielded from loud noises. Keep windows closed and draw the shades to minimize the sound and flashes of light.
If loud noises upset pets, do not leave them alone while you’re out celebrating; make sure someone can stay with them. If the family is home, act calm and give them reassuring pets and hugs. Animals look to their family to see how they’re reacting.
If pet owners think their pets should be tranquilized, consult a veterinarian well in advance.
Contact an animal behaviorist to work with pets on their fears. With some positive reinforcement and behavior modification training, by next Independence Day, everyone may be worry-free.
Be sure that all ID tags are properly affixed to the pet’s collar and that they have current contact information, including a phone number.
Update microchip registrations and pet license information to ensure they’re current.
“With a little care and preparation, the Fourth of July can be fun for people and safe for pets,” Robin Ganzert, Ph.D., president and CEO of American Humane Society, said. “Let’s keep our best friends quiet and calm so we can continue to enjoy them come July 5.”