June 27, 2011
By Marcie Willms, Community Relations Manager
Oooh… Awww… Ohhh… Fireworks typically elicit joyous responses from people both young and old, but for many of our canine friends, fireworks can mean an entirely different story. Every year around the Fourth of July holiday, animal shelters like Larimer Humane Society see a surge of lost dogs brought into the shelter by one of our Animal Protection and Control officers or a good-natured neighbor.
Frightened by the booms, bangs and bright lights that accompany fireworks, many tragically terrified dogs will break free of their outdoor leash or jump a high fence looking for a safe haven. Many will travel in the fright of night, later to be found miles from their homes, exhausted and disoriented.
Fortunately, Independence Day doesn’t have to bring panic to your pet. If you take the necessary precautions and plan accordingly, your dog can have a calmer, more relaxing holiday.
Consider the following tips:
If heading off to a July 4th Celebration, keep your pets a home, inside, shielded from loud noises. When leaving your pet indoors, it’s often helpful to leave a television or radio on at a normal volume to help drown out the noise of the explosive fireworks and keep your pet company.
Once inside, consider crating or kenneling your dog to create a special den-like area where your pet feels safe and secure. If you don’t already use a crate, be sure to remove any items from the room that your dog could destroy or be that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Dogs have a tendency to become destructive when frightened.
Do not leave your pet outside unattended, even if on a leash or in a high-fenced yard. With their acute hearing, loud noises have a tendency to upset dogs, causing many to act erratically out of fear. Even dogs who are normally happy and accustomed to being in their yards may try to escape by jumping over or digging under the fence; or worse, become entangled in their chain risking serious injury or even death.
If you know that you’ll be gone for an extended period of time – either at a morning parade, afternoon barbeque, evening fireworks celebration or combination of the three -- consider hiring a pet-sitter or invite a friend a family member to stay with your pet. Dogs have a tendency to react less severely to loud noises and bright flashes of light when with their owners or people with they love and trust.
Visit with your veterinarian prior to July 4th if your pet experiences severe anxiety or fear of loud noises.
Do not leave your pet in the car. Cars heat very quickly with the temperature reaching 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even in shaded areas. With the ability to dispel heat only through panting and the paws of their feet, dogs can overheat very quickly inside a car, causing heat stroke, heat exhaustion or even death. Partially opened windows are not sufficient enough to keep your dog cool during the hot summer months.
License your pet! A license is your pet’s ticket home. Available for purchase online at www.larimerhumane.org via phone at 970-226-3647 or in person at Larimer Humane Society’s administrative offices, at a cost of only $10 if your pet is spayed or neutered, or $27 if your pet is intact, licenses are the most inexpensive way to ensure your pet is reunited with you quickly and safely should they escape during the Fourth of July holiday (or anytime throughout the year.) It is the law to license your dog or cat if living in Loveland, Fort Collins or Wellington so be sure and purchase and/or renew your pet’s license today. (If your pet is micro-chipped, please be sure to update your pet’s chip information to ensure the correct information is stored in the company’s database. Licenses are still required on all micro-chipped animals.)
Check the lost and found section on our website. Our website syncs with our animal shelter database every 10 minutes so once a lost animal is processed into our system, you’ll be sure to see information on the animal online. Owners hoping be reunited with their lost pets are encouraged to visit the shelter and bring in a photo of their pet to help with the identification process.
Thank you for helping us make this Independence Day a safe and secure one for all our furry four-legged friends.