You think fireworks are great on the Fourth of July…well, chances are your dog or cat disagrees. More pets are lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year. According to PetAmberAlert, animal control officers across the country report a 30 percent increase in lost pets July 4-6, with July 5 being the busiest day of the year.
Our Animal Welfare Section has some tips to keep your furbabies safe and secure this Independence Day:
-DO NOT take pets to fireworks displays; pets and pyrotechnics do not mix. Even animals that are trained to handle loud noises, such as hunting dogs, do not necessarily take to fireworks. Animals are much more sensitive to sound and pressure than humans. If it is loud to you, it is exponentially louder to your pet.
-DO leave pets at home and properly secured inside, away from windows and doors (crated if necessary), in a quiet, comfortable place. Turn on the radio or TV to help drown out the sound of fireworks or noisemakers from outside. Make sure all windows and doors are closed to block out as much sound as possible. Also, keep in mind that even though a larger fireworks display may not take place near your home or until later in the evening, you never know when your neighbors may set off devices of their own.
-DO NOT leave pets unattended outside, even if the yard is fenced in or a dog is tethered. Animals that would ordinarily never leave the yard may do so when frightened. A scared animal can escape even the most well-built fence, or accidentally strangle itself on a tether.
-DO speak to your veterinarian about options for alleviating your pet’s anxiety if your pet is prone to strong reactions to loud noises. There are medical and non-medical solutions available; your vet can help you choose what is best for your pet.
-DO identify your pet with a collar tag and microchip. Make sure the collar tag has at least your name and cell phone number. If the collar comes off, you have the microchip as backup, which cannot be removed. All public animal shelters in North Carolina have universal scanners. Helpful tip: the tags that rivet onto the collar are more secure than a hanging tag and less likely to get pulled off in brush or debris should your pet get lost.
-DO NOT forget to keep your contact information current in the microchip database.
You were prepared, and somehow your pet was still lost. Now what?
-DO visit, not just call, surrounding shelters. Remember this is a volume time for shelters, and visiting the shelter yourself will increase your chances of finding your pet. Check around at multiple shelters; a frightened animal can cover a long distance.
-DO take vaccination records and proof of ownership with you to the shelter when you go look for your pet. Take a picture of your pet with you, and even a picture with you and your pet, to assist the shelter in confirming the pet is yours. Shelters want to reunite the right pet with the right owner, and pictures make this an easier task. Take your microchip number if your animal is microchipped. This is the easiest way to confirm an animal is yours.
-DO make fliers with a picture of your lost pet and post them in conspicuous, heavily traveled areas that will be seen by as many people as possible: gas stations, grocery stores, pet supply stores, veterinary clinics, restaurants, dog parks, parks, walking trails, etc (be sure to ask property owners for permission before posting fliers). Start close to home and spread out further as time goes on.
-DO utilize social media.
-DO contact your microchip company to initiate a lost pet report. Many companies have a system that sends out notices when a pet microchipped through their company goes missing.
-DO NOT give up hope.