Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — As the July 4th holiday approaches, the East Bay SPCA urges pet owners to plan ahead to keep their pets safe and comfortable. Each year, many dogs and cats become lost after running away because they are frightened by loud fireworks or raucous celebration. Bay Area animal shelters do all that they can to reunite lost pets with their families, but prevention is the key to protecting pets!
To help keep your cat or dog safe, please consider the following tips:
Keep your pets indoors. Keeping your dog and cat indoors is one of the simplest things you can do to keep him/her safe. Even if your pet usually does well outdoors, both cats and dogs might run from fireworks or people in a panic, unable to find their way home. July 4th is the number one day that pets go missing; make sure yours doesn’t!
If possible, stay at home with your pet. Staying at home with your pet will provide you with an opportunity to make adjustments, such as inviting your dog to enter his/her kennel if he/she is fearful. Remember also, that you are your pet’s biggest source of comfort. He/she may attempt seek you out for reassurance and attention! You can also create a “safe haven” for your cat or dog by putting them in a darkened, cozy room with their favorite things.
Make sure your dog or cat is wearing identification. One in three pets will go missing in their lifetime and without ID, 90 percent don’t return home. In addition to a collar with tags, your pet should be microchipped! Many frightened pets can “slip” their collars leaving them with no path home. East Bay SPCA offers affordable drop-in microchipping services.
Keep an emergency file. In the sad case that your pet does go missing, it is a good idea to have an already-prepared emergency folder with a list of local shelters, as well as a current photo of your pet showing any unique identification markings (e.g. an all-black dog with a speck of white on its paw). Make sure that the entire family knows where this folder is kept, so you are prepared in case your dog or cat is ever lost.
Speak to your veterinarian. East Bay SPCA Chief Veterinarian Dr. Michael Sozanski says, pets and fireworks do not mix. “Pets often find the loud, unpredictable noise and bright displays of light very frightening.” Dr. Sozanski recommends not taking your pet to fireworks shows, and providing them with a place to curl up and hide while at home. “In case of severe phobia, nothing may work to ease your pet’s fear. If there is a chance your pet may exhibit this level of fear, speak to your veterinarian about possible medications.” Medications can include anti-anxiety drugs or sedatives to help your pet stay safe and comfortable.
Concerning behaviors in dogs include: Excessive panting, drooling, trembling and shaking, pacing, aggression, panicking, and escape behavior including inappropriate body movements that could lead to injury (e.g. jumping erratically over or on furniture).
Concerning behaviors in cat include: Panting, drooling, trembling, hiding, freezing, aggression, panicking, and escape behavior including inappropriate body movements that could lead to injury (e.g. jumping erratically over or on furniture).
Consider your pet when party planning. If you are planning to have friends over to celebrate, be especially mindful of doors and windows. Guests may be unaware that your precious dog or cat might escape, even if a door is left open for a short amount of time. Consider securing your cat in a quiet room or keeping your dog in his/her kennel or with you on a leash in your yard as guests are coming and going.
About East Bay SPCA The East Bay SPCA (EBSPCA) is a nonprofit organization committed to the welfare of cats and dogs in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. We strive to eliminate animal cruelty, neglect and overpopulation by providing programs and education that support people and companion animals. More information about EBSPCA can be found at http://www.eastbayspca.org or by calling 510.569.0702.
East Bay SPCA