Originally Published: June 30, 2005 5 a.m.
The Fourth of July is a great time for parades, picnics and parties. However, it can be a frightening time for pets, and that fear can cause your dog or cat to panic and try to jump through windows, over fences, break ropes, and run blindly to escape from the noise of fireworks.
The easiest way to keep your pets safe is to keep them inside, but be sure to bring them inside in the late afternoon before it starts to get dark. Pets will feel safe and secure in a quiet and secluded room with covered windows. A fan, radio or television can help muffle the sounds of fireworks and may soothe a dog or cat left alone on this noisy holiday. Crating your pet with a favorite toy during the night is also a good idea. Don't take your pet to a fireworks display.
If your pet behaves nervously by pacing, whining or crying, distract him by playing with him or doing something he enjoys. Don't stroke, pet or reassure your pet by saying, "Don't worry, it's okay." This may actually reinforce nervousness or fright.
Local pet stores offer natural calming supplements, such as Nutri-Vet Nutritionals' Pet-Ease, to help reduce some of your pet's anxiety. In extreme cases, your veterinarian may prescribe animal tranquilizers, but they should be given well in advance of the fireworks. Do not ever administer human sedating prescription products to your dog or cat without checking with your veterinarian.
Make sure your dog or cat always wears an appropriately fitting collar with a current license/rabies tag and an identification tag with your current phone number and address. I also recommend a microchip identification implant, in case the collar and tags are lost.
If your pet does stray away from home, call the Yavapai Humane Society at 928-445-2666 or your local animal control agency. YHS broadcasts a list of lost and found animals on KYCA at 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If you find a lost pet, bring the animal to Animal Control or the Yavapai Humane Society (both are on Sundog Ranch Road in Prescott). You can also place a "found" ad in the Daily Courier and post notices around your neighborhood.
Make sure that the upcoming Fourth of July is an enjoyable and safe time for all members of your family, especially for the four-footed, furry ones.
If you have questions for Critter Chatter, mail them to The Daily Courier, P.O. Box 312, Prescott AZ 86302 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.