Column: July Fourth pet tips
The next two weeks are chock-full of patriotic festivities that include outdoor celebrations, picnics, barbecues, and of course, fireworks. Before you pack up for the lake or outdoor arena, stadium or even your own front yard to enjoy the pyrotechnic delights of the holiday, be aware of your pets’ needs and fears.
The Yavapai Humane Society experiences a significant increase in the number of lost (and injured) pets brought to the YHS Lost & Found Pet Center after every July Fourth holiday.
“The days following the Fourth of July are the busiest days of the year at YHS with people turning in lost pets or looking for lost animals,” said Jason Marchesano, manager of the YHS Lost & Found Pet Center, located at 1605 Sundog Ranch Road in Prescott, Arizona.
Even pets who are normally calm and obedient can show unpredictable behavior when frightened. Dogs and cats can become frightened or confused by the excitement and loud noises of the holiday. YHS has rescued terrified pets who have chewed through their tethers, jumped through plate glass windows or over fences, and escaped “secure” enclosures.
Dogs attempting to flee the frightening, and even painful noises of the fireworks may lose their sense of direction and run long distances risking injury or death as they dart in and out of traffic. This is one of the most dangerous times of year for your pets.
Up close, fireworks can burn or injure your pets, but even if they are far away, they still pose a unique danger to your companion animals.
To minimize the danger to your pets take these few simple steps before you set out to celebrate this Fourth of July:
• Keep pets indoors in an enclosed area that they are familiar with to minimize fear. If possible, turn on a radio to mask the noise of the fireworks or other celebratory noises.
• If your pet is excitable, consult your veterinarian to arrange for the administration of a proper calming drug ahead of time.
• If you have to be away for an extended time, board your pets with family or friends you trust and who can assure you that your pet will be kept confined and cared for.
• Always be sure your pet has a current microchip. A microchip is the best identification for a pet because it is always with him. A microchip makes it easier for YHS to find you should the unthinkable happen and your pet manages to escape.
• Even if you think your pet is ok with fireworks and noise, do not let him out when fireworks are being lit and set off. The pet may run at them and sustain serious burns, or bolt and run away.
If your pet does escape this holiday, visit YHS every day and post “Lost Dog” or “Lost Cat” signs and canvass surrounding neighborhoods. Place a yard sign in front of your house with a picture of your pet and your phone number. People who find lost pets will often walk or drive around the area attempting to find the owner. This Fourth of July can be the best ever if you take these simple precautions to keep your pets safe and happy. Let’s enjoy the festivities without having to worry about the family pet.
You can still protect your pet this Fourth of July with a $10 microchip from the YHS Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic’s Friday Walk-In Clinic on July 1. The Clinic is open from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary. The Clinic is located at 2989 Centerpointe E. Drive in Prescott.
Ed Boks is the executive director of the Yavapai Humane Society. He can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 928-445-2666, ext. 101.