Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Pet-Safe 4th of July !

from June Newletter http://www.homeagain.com/

Independence Day is almost here: Camping, BBQs, and of course, fireworks! But while you’re getting ready to celebrate with the rest of the country, don’t forget about your pets. The 4th of July is dangerous for dog and cats—more pets go missing this day than any other day of the year.

The main threat for pets comes from fireworks. All of those noises and flashing lights can send your cats or dogs into a fight-or-flight response so strong they take off at first blast. One minute your beloved Corgi, Moxie, is sitting in your lap, and the next she bolts through an open gate into the night.

With a little preparation, you can help your pets avoid this scenario, and even protect them if they do get loose.

Plan ahead for the festivities

Know where you’ll be this 4th of July and who you’ll be with. Then you’ll know if the environment is right to bring your pets. Are there going to be a lot of people around? Do your pets do well in crowds? Will you be too distracted having fun to keep a good eye on them? Holidays were designed for people to have a good time together, but don’t get caught up and forget about your pets’ whereabouts.

It’s okay to leave pets at home. Although they’d rather come along, we’re certain they don’t want to spend a harrowing night running from fireworks, possibly ending up at a shelter or worse. Give them a free pass to stay at home, cozy with the AC, and away from the overwhelming excitement.

You’ve got to take some precautions when leaving pets at home, though; the 4th of July isn’t just another night. The evening can be a real shock, and it’s common to come home to shredded pillows, scratched furniture, and love puddles on the floor. Rise to the occasion by following these tips for keeping pets home alone on the 4th of July:

Find a safe and quiet room for each pet.

Cover the windows and do your best to dampen outside sounds.
Make sure pets have plenty of fresh food and water.
Leave your pets’ favorite toys out, so they can play.
Before you leave for the celebrations, take your pets for a walk.
Turn the radio or television on at a low volume for distraction and comfort.
Remove anything you don’t want chewed, scratched, or damaged—anxiety draws out survival instincts in pets, leaving your property at risk.
Make any pet-sitting arrangements ahead of time, too, because many people go out of town and leave their pets at home. Your local pet sitter may already be booked up!

Tips for 4th of July vacationers.

Not only is the 4th a fabulous holiday, it’s also a great time for your family vacation. And a family vacation without your pets just isn’t a family vacation. Anyone travelling with pets over the holiday should be extra cautious to keep them safe.

A new environment—your summer cabin, a beach rental, or a pet-friendly hotel—can be intimidating enough for your pets. It’s full of new smells and unfamiliar areas. But add loud explosions from fireworks, and that new environment becomes downright hostile. Keep your pets with you and on a leash at all times. It’s too dangerous to let them hang out sans leash even if that’s the norm. Pay attention to their behavior. Watch for signs they’re scared, and act quickly to remove them from stressful situations. If your pet runs off in an area that is unfamiliar to both of you, it’s going to be that much harder to find them.

None of this means you have to leave your pets at home. Just keep a close watch and understand the risks the holiday poses. A little awareness ought to do the trick.

Amp up your pet safety routine.

Double up on your pet identification during this week. In addition to your microchip, make sure your pets are wearing visible ID that displays your phone number, or that of your pet recovery service or veterinarian. Consider a bright, attention-grabbing color for the ID tag, so people don’t have to search for it. Rescuers are much more likely to approach an animal they see has visible ID, because they know it belongs to someone who cares! Shop HomeAgain collar tags in bright and stylish colors like yellow, pink, and blue. Each tag is personalized with your pet’s microchip ID number and our 24-hour lost pet hotline.

Remember, even though the 4th of July is just one day, the fireworks often start before then and continue a few days after. Don’t leave your pets alone outside during this time. It only takes one unexpected blast to send them into a scared frenzy. Do take them outside for a walk. They can release some pent up energy, and you can avoid in-the-house accidents.

Lastly, it’s helpful to understand what pets are going through. Cats and dogs hear with a much keener sense than humans do, and at that magnitude, fireworks sound terrifying. Just like us, they’re hard-wired for self-preservation. It’s your job to help your pets avoid that adrenaline roller coaster. Control their exposure to the noise and take necessary precautions to keep them calm during the celebrations.

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