Our nation’s birthday is right around the corner, and while celebrations with fireworks are exciting for people, those same booming fireworks can terrorize dogs and cats.

What’s the best way to keep your pets safe during the holiday?

Leave them at home in the air conditioning! This will make the Fourth of July happy and stress-free for you and your pet! Nationally, the first business day following July 4th is the busiest at animal shelters for lost and found pets.

“The thunderous noise from firework displays often frightens and disorients pets, and as a result they will often bolt from their owners or yard trying to get away from that noise," say VHS staff members. “Even the most social, easygoing pets are often affected.”

Typically, the VHS receives three times the normal calls for lost pets following the explosive holiday. When fireworks begin, dogs have been known to jump fences, dig out of their yards, break chains, and even bust through glass windows because of their wild fear. When pets are left alone to panic while owners are at holiday celebrations, ordinarily well-behaved pets may become destructive and unpredictable.

Make sure your pet is inside confined to a crate or safe area of your home where they cannot destroy contents of your home or harm themselves. If your pet’s anxiety is serious, contact your veterinarian in advance to discuss ways to alleviate the fear and anxiety.

Pet identification is a necessary factor in ensuring your pet’s safe return if it does go missing. A properly-fitting collar, ID tags, and a microchip will greatly increase your chances of getting your beloved pet home safely and promptly. Make sure that all of your contact information is up-to-date with the microchip company and on your pet’s tags.

The VHS is hosting a special evening microchipping clinic on the Thursday before Independence Day! Typically we only offer microchipping on Saturday mornings at our Vaccine Clinic, but we realize that work schedules prevent some pet owners from utilizing our services. The Independence Day Microchipping Clinic will be Thursday, July 2nd from 3:00-6:00 pm at our shelter. Microchips will be available for $15, which is 40% off regular price. The Clinic is first-come first-serve, no appointment necessary so clients should arrive as close to 3:00 as possible!

Additional tips to keep pets safe:

• Do not leave fireworks out where your pet can eat them. Whether lit or unlit, fireworks are toxic!
• Use caution with pool chemicals. Many common pool treatments are poisonous to animals!
• Grapes/raisins, onions/garlic, and even peanut butter sweetened with xylitol is harmful to dogs. Be sure your pet is not getting table scraps at family barbecues & gatherings.
• NEVER leave your dog in your vehicle, even for a few minutes. Dogs (and children!) die every year in hot cars.

Let's make this a safe and happy Independence Day for people and pets by starting with prevention! All VHS Departments will be closed on Saturday, July 4th in observance of the holiday. We will not be accepting animals or answering phones to take lost/found animal reports until our regular business hours on Tuesday, July 7th. For more information, contact Amanda Coburn at 426-2563 ext. 218.