Fourth of July is No Blast for Your Pets

Americans love a patriotic Fourth of July party that includes lots of family, friends, food and loud fireworks. To our pets, especially dogs, however, it is a nightmare. Canines have a keen sense of hearing and the blasts from the fireworks can cause them distress and be disorienting. Your pet may try to escape the sounds and may start exhibiting some extreme nervous behaviors such as excessive barking, digging, shaking, trembling, running around in circles, running into doors, hiding or worst of all, running away.

More pets get lost on the Fourth of July than any other time of the year. Each year, animal shelters experience an increase in the number of calls about lost or injured animals and the busiest time at animal shelters is after the fireworks. If pet owners follow a few preventative steps now, they can reduce the chances their pet will get lost or injured, and increase the chances of recovery if they do get away.

Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets. Keep all pets safely confined indoors away from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home before and after the holiday, when people may be inclined to set off fireworks.

If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.

Never leave pets outside unattended during fireworks, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.

Animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.

Make sure your pets are wearing current, visible identification at all times. Writing your phone number with a permanent marker on your pet’s collar can get you a phone call from a Good Samaritan if they should find your pet. Valley Oak SPCA recommends you consider getting your dog or cat microchipped. A microchip is a permanent ID that can never be removed or become impossible to read. Microchips do not hurt your pet, do not require surgery and do not wear out. They do give your pet the best chance of coming back home to you.

No bigger than a grain of rice, a pet microchip is a radio-frequency identification transponder made up of just a few components encased within a slender capsule of bioglass, which is used extensively for implants in both humans and animals. A microchip’s sole function is to store a unique ID number that is used to retrieve a pet parent’s contact information. It differs from a Global Positioning System/GPS, which is used for tracking, and requires a power source such as a battery.

When a microchip scanner is passed over the skin of a microchipped pet, the implanted microchip emits a radio frequency signal. The scanner reads the microchip’s unique ID code. The microchip registry is called, and the registry company uses the ID number to retrieve the pet’s parent contact information from the pet recovery database. Valley Oak SPCA offers microchipping for $35 per pet. Call 651-1111 or 741-1121 for more information.

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