Thursday, July 1, 2010

Keep pets safe on the Fourth of July

Keep your pets safe this Fourth of July by preparing them and your home for what can be a scary and anxiety-provoking experience.”For most of us, Independence Day celebrations are fun and exciting, an opportunity to gather with friends or go into town.

And watch spectacular fireworks displays -- flashing lights in a rainbow of colors punctuated with the 'boom, boom, boom' that signify the gunshots of victory and the birth of our nation,” said Cynthia Ryan, executive director of the Sequoia Humane Society.

But for animals, she added, bright lights and loud noises can be frightening, causing panic and hysteria. ”Cats and dogs possess hearing that is much more sensitive than human hearing. The bang of a firecracker strikes many pets on a survival level and spells certain doom, a sensation that instills a visceral, primitive fear and can cause them to overreact, becoming destructive or bolting in panic,” Ryan said.

It is common for animal shelters to become overcrowded over the July Fourth holiday, she said, as scared pets flee the confines of their yards, seeking the security of their human companions and a place to escape the cacophony of noise. Even worse are those animals that dart across the street, she said, and are hit by vehicles, never to return home.

The Sequoia Humane Society urges people to keep their pets safe this Fourth of July by taking some simple precautions:

* Resist the urge to take pets to firework displays. They will not find the crowds exciting and may react to the loud noises by running, hurting themselves or hurting others.

* Keep pets indoors at home, in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so make sure you've removed any items your pet could destroy or would be harmful to your pet if chewed.

* Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him comfortable while you're attending Fourth of July celebrations.

* If you know your pet is distressed by loud noises such as fireworks and thunder, consult your veterinarian before the holiday for ways to help alleviate their fear and anxiety.

* Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or tied up. In their fear, pets that wouldn't normally leave their yard may escape and become lost, or get tangled up in their lead, risking injury or even death.

* Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags and/or are microchipped, so if they do become lost they can be returned promptly.


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