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How to Keep Your Companion Animals 🐶😽Safe This 4th of July 🎆

Follow these 5 tips to protect cats and dogs during Independence Day weekend.

More pets run away from home on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. Some lucky ones will find their way back home, but many will end up unclaimed in shelters, or hit by cars. The DCSPCA sees a dramatic increase in lost animals in the days leading up to and including Independence Day, as people begin celebrating early with fireworks, not realizing the devastating repercussions for families with dogs and cats.

Fireworks set off in the days leading up to, and on July 4, may be entertaining for humans, but they can be terrifying to our pets. Many who are outdoors run away in panic, sometimes escaping fences that otherwise kept them safe. In their fear they end up in dangerous roadways, or lost far away from home.

To avoid losing your furry loved ones during Independence Day celebrations, DCSPCA offers 5 tips for keeping them safe.

5 Tips for Ensuring a Fido and Feline-friendly Holiday Include:

1. Keep Your Animals Inside

As much as your dog may enjoy lounging in your fenced-in yard, please keep them inside for the days leading up to and including the Fourth of July. They may whine at the door and you might feel bad for keeping them indoors, but parents know best and in this case you are definitely keeping them in for their own good. When potty time comes you can take them for a brief walk on a leash attached to a martingale collar. Unfortunately, fireworks can be anywhere, and avoiding certain areas won’t guarantee that your dog won’t be spooked. Plan for the worst case scenario, and expect fireworks to be set off in your own neighborhood.

2. Be sure your pets are microchipped and have visible ID tags on their collars

Just in case your pets do manage to escape when frightened by fireworks, make sure they are microchipped and have identification tags. Also, be sure their microchip information is up to date. Microchips are the best way to ensure that a pet will make their way back to you should they be lost. We offer low-cost microchipping services here at DCSPCA. If you don’t have an identification tag on your pet, you can easily purchase one at a local pet supply store. Many have machines that will make the tag for you in minutes.

3. Give pets fun enrichment toys during fireworks

While you’re at the pet supply store, pick up a Kong and other enrichment items to keep your pets occupied during fireworks. Try putting peanut butter on a lick mat and placing it in your freezer. The frozen peanut butter on the mat should keep your dog occupied and distracted from the loud noise outside. Or hide some dry food in a snuffle mat so your dog will be so occupied foraging that they will hopefully not notice the boom of the fireworks.

Cats can also be distracted with fun enrichment activities during scary fireworks. Many cats love fishing pole toys that can be purchased at any pet supply store. It would also be a great time to break out the catnip for those kitties who enjoy it.

4. Have a current photo of your cat or dog, just in case

Make sure you have at least one photo of each pet that would make them easy for a stranger to identify them. That means one where their face is clearly visible as are unique markings. The photos should be current and easily accessible. You don’t want to have to scroll through thousands of photos to find them in an emergency, so keep them handy.

5. Play gentle music during fireworks to drown out the sound

Another way to soothe your furry family members during loud fireworks is to play gentle music. This YouTube video features 20 hours of music just to calm dogs during the explosions.

As long as there are fireworks, there will be cats and dogs who are traumatized by the noise. The best thing we can do to help the situation is to make our pets as secure and comfortable as possible. These tips will help you do just that.

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