Experts offer safety tips for pets for July 4

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, July 3, 2021

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The Fourth of July acts as an enjoyable holiday for people of all ages, but for their furry companions, the celebration can be less enjoyable.

Pets, especially dogs, are sensitive to the goings on of their environment, and the reverberating sounds of fireworks and other noises related to the holiday can scare them into flight-mode very quickly.

“You know what’s going on…you know this is on purpose…animals have no concept of that,” said Marcus Webster, a veterinarian medical officer with the Georgia Department of Agriculture. “Being animals, they have to evaluate: is this pleasurable, is this a threat, or is this something benign that I don’t really have to pay attention to? Those are the three main categories where we have the knowledge that they don’t.”

Sudden noise equals danger for animals, Webster continued, so in their minds they are set up to analyze situations a certain way.

Webster suggests communicating to one’s neighbors or family in advance if they are putting on fireworks and making sure that a pet is in a safe place for them to calm down.

“A lot of people are sensitive to animal welfare … so most likely they will [be sensitive on the matter,]” he said.

Factors such as age and the socialization of the pet can also be factors to its sensitivity levels, Webster said.

Older dogs tend to be more sensitve to louder noises and may have trouble adjusting to new environments, event if the animal is with people it knows, Webster warns.

Webster also suggests talking with a veterinarian about medical and psychological options for animals.

“Discuss with the primary vet what medications may be useful, or since it’s a temporary event, if relocating the animal for a period of time would be better,” he said.

Spaces such as closets and under a bed are main go-to spots for animals and could be kept clean for an animal’s easy access, Webster said.

Chris Bussey, Animal Services Supervisor with the Troup County Animal Shelter, adds that having a pet’s microchip and license information up to date can help in pet recovery.

“Definitely have up to date rabies tags or chip information that way we call the owner when we pick the animal up and reunite it with the owner as soon as possible,” Bussey said.

Webster added that having an up-to-date photo of the animal  to show to neighbors in case it does escape is beneficial as well.