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Safety tips for anxious pets during July 4th activities

Dogs who get anxious over firework sounds are known to dig under or jump over fences, break tethers or even shatter windows in response to their fireworks fears.

ARKANSAS, USA — The excitement for Fourth of July celebrations is underway and Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) wants to help pet owners keep their pets safe and calm this holiday. 

BFAS says this holiday is often traumatic for four-legged family members who get nervous when they hear loud sounds such as fireworks.

Dogs who get anxious over the sounds are known to dig under or jump over fences, break tethers or even shatter windows in response to their fireworks fears.  

Your pet can end up injured or at a busy shelter overflowing with other lost pets. To avoid this, BFAS is providing tips to keep pets safe this 4th of July.

Fourth of July pet safety tips:

  • Bring all pets indoors whenever neighborhood fireworks displays are likely, making sure that any potentially harmful food or alcohol is kept out of reach. 
  • Secure pets in a room, close the windows, draw the curtains, surround them with comforting toys, and play loud music or turn on the television to drown out the frightening sounds.  
  • Always keep pets away from lit fireworks (including in your own backyard). Some will chase after the bright moving objects and are at risk of being burned or blinded in the process.  
  • Fireworks also contain substances that are toxic if ingested, so be sure to keep unlit fireworks out of reach. 
  • Ensure that pets are wearing current identification tags, and make sure your current contact info is recorded with the vet clinic or shelter that implanted the microchip.  
  • Have a plan in place in case your pet does go missing that includes calling and visiting the local shelter and posting information about your missing pet on platforms such as Nextdoor and Facebook. 

Best Friends Animal Society says with staffing shortages and decreased availability across the country, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure for your pets.

“The last thing you want is an emergency over a holiday when many veterinary clinics and shelters are closed or open only for limited hours,” said Dr. Erin Katribe, veterinarian and medical director of Best Friends Animal Society. “If you know your pets get severely anxious, discuss pharmaceutical options with your veterinarian in advance. Several medications to treat anxiety in pets are available.”  

According to Katribe, it’s important to do this based on your pet’s weight, age and health issues. Pet owners are recommended to get the proper prescription and dosage from your vet.  

Pet first aid kits can help treat minor injuries such as scrapes or cuts at home. More serious situations such as puncture wounds, burns, broken bones, eye injuries or heat stroke require immediate vet consultation. 

“If medical care is warranted, start by contacting your veterinarian’s office to see if they can take your pet for an emergency exam. If not, you may need to go to a 24/7 emergency facility, which your vet can refer you to,” Katribe said. “I recommend that all pet owners find out the contact information of their local emergency clinic ahead of time, so that it’s quickly within reach in those unexpected moments.”  

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