I know it still June, but have you seen the fireworks stands already propped up in just about every parking lot and empty corner? Are you aware that Fireworks are going on sale THIS week? Fire works are sold before the Fourth even gets here. It's time to think about your pets.
Do they have id on them? Tags? Microchip with CURRENT contact information? Even as simple as using a permanent marker and writing your phone number on the collar.
No one thinks that it will happen to them. "Oh my dog will be fine." Tell that to the hundreds or thousands of animals that end up in the shelters the week prior to and the week after the holiday. Or how about animals who will be running in fear of the strange scary noises, smells and sights who are hit by cars? It happens EVERY year. This year can we make a difference.
Make sure your pets have ID tags. Does the ID have an alternate contact in case your out of town? You can go to Wal-mart and for a couple bucks get a tag to put at least a name and phone number on. It's that simple. Or simpler still for those who use the excuse, "I don't like hearing those tags jingle all the time": how about using a simple permanent marker and writing a phone number on the collar?
Does your pet already have a tag or a microchip? IS the information current? Make sure to always keep phone numbers current. What good is the microchip is you don't have the information in there?
Are you going to be out of town and leaving pets behind? Make sure whoever is caring for your pets has emergency numbers, vet and animal shelter, should something happen and the pet goes missing. Pet care takers tend to not think of these things. Remember too than many vet hospitals will be closed for the holiday, so be sure to include your local emergency vet. Ask your regular vet who they refer their clients to.
If you're at home, watch your pets for behavior changes, shaking, worried looks, startling at sudden noises. These could be signs that your pet is hearing the fireworks that inevitably are set off before the holiday itself. Take this as a sign that your pet will not do well with the bombardment on the actual holiday. You still have time to talk to your vet about ways to keep your pets calm. Call them for advice.
The best and safest place for scared pets is inside where the sounds and smells aren't as loud. They can still hear them, but being inside provides a safer place. With very reactive pets, you may want to place them in a central room in the house where noise from outside is buffered the most and play a radio or TV with a talk show or calm music. I don't recommend and action movie or heavy metal music, kind of defeats the purpose of creating a calming atmosphere.
If the house is not an option, do the same thing in the garage. If you cannot keep them in the garage, check your fences and gates so that a scared dog cannot easily get out.
Now what if you have done all this and your pet still goes missing? Make fliers to put up around your area, give to local vets and to bring in to the shelters. Have a clear current photo of your pet to put on fliers or post ad on places such as Craigslist. Call or look up on line the hours of operation for ALL the shelters in your area. Some have reduced hours, some are closed on certain days of the week. Call your vet to notify them of your lost pet.
If your pet is lost, has a license, has ID, has a current microchip and is picked up by animal control, we will try our best to return your pet to you as quickly as possible.
Summer time and Fourth of July should be fun for all and that includes your pets. Make sure your pets have current ID and take precautions to safeguard fearful pets.