Fourth of July warning for pet owners

The Fourth of July is the day the United States gained independence from Great Britain and the date of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence of 1776. It is considered by many as the birthday of the United States.

As such, most American citizens celebrate this day with parties and fireworks. However, what might be a joyous occasion by most Americans can be a very terrifying one for your pets.

Many pets become panic-stricken by the unfamiliar, loud, and unpredictable noises and bright displays of fireworks. Their terror can be so overwhelming that they will do anything to escape the noise. This includes jumping through windows, over fences, and chewing through doors – just to name a few.

Dawn Danielson, Director of the County of San Diego, Department of Animal Services, says that:

[t]he noise generated by fireworks displays and other noisemakers on the Fourth of July can frighten pets and trigger an escape or flight response that can cause serious injury or even death.

For this reason, a Press Release was issued by the San Diego County Department of Animal Services to Keep Pets Out of Harm’s Way This July Fourth. In it, the following tips are provided to keep your pets safe during the holiday celebration:
    • Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays.
    • Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects, even death, in a few minutes.
    • Keep your pets indoors in a sheltered, quiet area. Some dogs may become destructive when frightened, so be sure to remove dangerous objects your pet may chew. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep your pet company while you’re away.
    • Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard. In their fear, pets that normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and get lost.
    • If you know your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July Fourth to see if medication that relieves anxiety is appropriate.
    • Ensure your pets are easily identifiable and call the Department at 619-767-2675 if you have found a lost pet. The department’s shelters are located in Carlsbad, Bonita and on Gaines Street in San Diego. Although the shelters will be closed on July Fourth, animal control officers will be on duty. Lost pets found with internal microchip identification and/or external ID tags or licenses are more readily reunited with their owners. If you have lost your pet, visit the shelter closest to you on Tuesday, July 5, or check the Department’s web site.

Danielson stresses that your pet should be microchipped and wearing visible identification in the event he or she should become lost. She also notes that a scared dog could run for miles to try and escape the noise. Therefore, if your dog runs away, visiting all shelters in the area is recommended.

Have a joyful, but safe holiday.

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