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June 27, 2012

The HSUS Offers Tips for a Safe Fourth of July for Your Pets

The Humane Society of the United States encourages pet owners to take extra precautions to keep their pets safe while celebrating the Fourth of July.

While parades and fireworks displays are beloved Independence Day traditions, for many pets the noise and commotion can be overwhelming. In fact, so many pets become frightened and try to flee the sights and sounds that animal shelters around the nation report a dramatic increase in lost pets during the holiday.

“The loud fireworks and large gatherings of people at public Fourth of July festivities can be stressful for your pets,” said Inga Fricke, The HSUS’ director of sheltering and pet care issues. “It’s best to enjoy the Independence Day holiday by ensuring that your furry friends are safe at home.”

To ensure your pets stay safe this Fourth of July holiday, follow these simple tips:

Keep all pets safely confined indoors on the 4th and the days leading up to it when people may be inclined to set off fireworks. There are many family and group activities that are perfect for pets, but a public fireworks display or any other type of gathering where fireworks will be set off usually isn’t one of them. It’s best to leave your pets safely indoors, preferably with a radio or TV on to dampen jarring noises. Pets usually kept outdoors should be brought inside as an extra measure of safety. And if you do take your pet with you to an Independence Day event, keep her leashed and under your direct control at all times.

Never leave your pet in a parked car. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise to dangerous levels within minutes. On an 85 degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car even with the windows cracked open can reach 102 degrees within just 10 minutes; after 30 minutes the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Even when the temperature outside is a balmy 72 degrees, the temperature inside your car can rocket to a fatal 116 degrees in less than an hour’s time.

Consult your veterinarian if your pet is distressed by loud noises like fireworks displays. Your veterinarian may be able to recommend medications and techniques to help alleviate your pet’s fear and anxiety. You can also find tips for helping your dog cope with loud noises like thunder and fireworks at: humanesociety.org/dogs_loud_noises  

Ensure your pet is wearing a collar and identification tag with current contact information so you can be reunited quickly if your pet does escape. All pets, even those kept indoors full-time, should wear collars with identification tags at all times. Indoor-only animals can become so frightened during fireworks displays that they take desperate measures to escape the noise, such as breaking through window or door screens. As an extra precaution, it’s a good idea to have your pet microchipped, with your current contact information registered with the chip company. If your pet does become lost, contact your local animal control and surrounding shelters immediately. If you find a lost pet, either take her to the address on the tag or bring her to the local animal shelter so she can be reunited with her family.

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Media Contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras, 301-721-6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org

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