Pets’ peeve: Fourth of July (Here’s how to keep ’em safe)
BY DONNA VICKROY firstname.lastname@example.org July 2, 2012 5:58PM
The Fourth of July can be a frightening experience for dogs and cats. | File photo
Pet safety tips
Keep pets away from fireworks.
License your dog and have an identification tag on your pet.
Don’t leave dogs in the back yard on July 4.
If your pet gets lost, contact the Animal Welfare League, 10305 Southwest Highway, Chicago Ridge; (708) 636-8586; animalwelfareleague.com.
Don’t leave alcoholic drinks unattended where they can be reached by pets, who can be poisoned by them. Ditto for onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes and raisins, salt and yeast dough; all can be potentially toxic to companion animals.
Do not apply sunscreen or insect repellent to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.
Keep matches, lighter fluid, glow jewelry, citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of pets’ reach.
Keep pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea.
Don’t take pets to Independence Day festivities. Keep them in a quiet, sheltered, escape-proof area at home.
Sources: Animal Welfare League, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Updated: August 4, 2012 6:08AM
While you’re celebrating our forefathers’ courage this holiday, be mindful that your pets may be cowering in a corner.
The Fourth of July can be a frightening experience for dogs and cats. And, given the chance, many will get spooked and make a run for it.
Cook County Animal Control director Donna Alexander said pet pickups spike by about 25 percent on Independence Day, making July 5 among the busiest days of the year for animal shelters.
“People forget about their pets. They leave them outside or forget to tell guests to keep doors closed,” Alexander said.
Pets hear what sounds like an attack, panic and head for a safe haven.
The best way to keep your animals safe, Alexander said, is to plan ahead.
“If your dog needs a tranquilizer, now is the time to get it,” she said. “A lot of people think they can head to a (pet) emergency clinic on the holiday but doctors there won’t give them tranquilizers because they don’t know your pet.”
If you plan to medicate your pet, do so at least four hours before the fireworks begin, she said.
This year’s holiday promises a double-whammy for vulnerable dogs and cats — loud noises combined with intense heat.
Alexander said it’s best to keep pets in a cool room, with lots of fresh, cool water. Background noise from a TV or radio can help muffle the pops and bangs of fireworks.
If your dog does escape, get in the car and go looking immediately, she said.
“Be calm, be slow, call his name calmly. He’ll be looking for safety, so provide it,” she said.
If more than 24 hours passes and you still haven’t located your pet, expand your search to animal shelters farther away.
Alexander said people always need to be reminded to not leave pets in vehicles on a hot day. Even with the windows rolled down, the temperature inside the car can surpass 115 degrees, potentially causing serious injury or death to an animal.
Terri Sparks, a spokeswoman for the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge, said the Fourth of July results in the biggest single-day intake of strays there, too.
“More dogs become lost on the Fourth of July than on any other day of the year,” Sparks said. “Dogs often become anxious due to fireworks and can dig out under a fence or even jump the fence in an attempt to escape the noises.”
Getting them back can be expensive, she warned. Retrieving a pet from a shelter can cost the owner impoundment fees, charges for mandatory vaccinations, plus a daily boarding fee.
Sparks advises pet owners to keep their animals secure and make sure they are microchipped and wearing identification tags.