Pet Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

With the Fourth of July almost here, I thought it would be a good idea to remind people about pet safety. During holiday celebrations, many pets escape through doors and windows that were accidentally left open. In my experience, the Fourth of July is the worst time for pet escapes because of fireworks. The loud noises scare pets including scaring them from returning home. Here are my tips for promoting pet safety during the Fourth of July as well as other holidays:

1) Make sure your pet’s identification is current. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a pet, calling the number on the tag and learning it is ‘no longer in service’. If your pet has a microchip, contact the company to update your contact information and verify your pet’s registration. I also recommend having your veterinarian scan the chip during annual examinations to make sure it is working.

2) Keep a current picture of your pet in a convenient place. Besides their face, take pictures of unique identifiers such as scars, or unusual marks. Look closely to see the kitty pictured below is missing her right rear leg at the hock.

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3) Check fences, runs and cat enclosures for holes. Fix holes that a frightened pet may enlarge to escape. Also, check the integrity of the screens and walls including the area underneath the structure. I have had several patients dig their way out of enclosures.

4) Lock gates with secure locks that require a key or code to open. This will prevent guests from accidentally releasing a pet.

5) Exercise your pet heavily on the Fourth. By the time the fireworks are going off, they might be asleep.

6) Keep your pet inside with the doors and windows closed. Leave the T.V. or music on to muffle outdoor noise.

7) Double leash (one being a slip lead) your pets when going outdoors to prevent the pet from backing out of their collars.

8) Secure your pet in a crate or small room during parties.

9) If your pet will tolerate it, place cotton balls inside their ears and then remove after the fireworks are over.

Mason with cotton in ears

10) Contact your veterinarian for additional help with pets who suffer from anxiety. Sometimes, they may need a mild tranquilizer to get them through the night.

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.

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