(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
Independence Day may be fun for us, but for pets it can be frightening and even dangerous. July 5th 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 your pet is upset by thunder, a door slamming or other loud noises, Fourth of July fireworks will be utterly terrifying, so take these precautions:
• Your pets won’t enjoy the fireworks display, so leave them at home! Keep them inside, shielded from loud noises. Keep windows closed and draw the shades to minimize the sound and flashes of light.
• If loud noises upset your pets, do not leave them alone while you’re out celebrating; make sure someone can stay with them. If you’re home, act calm and give them reassuring pets and hugs … animals look to you to see how you’re reacting.
• If you think your pets should be tranquilized, consult your veterinarian well in advance.
• Contact an animal behaviorist to work with your pets on their fears. With some positive reinforcement and behavior modification training, by next Independence Day, you all may be worry-free!
• Be sure that all ID tags are properly affixed to your pet’s collar and that they have your current contact information, including cell number(s).
• Update your 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,” says American Humane President and CEO Robin Ganzert, Ph.D. “Let’s keep our best friends quiet and calm so we can continue to enjoy them come July 5.”
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)