Animal Shelter Warns Owners About Pets and Fireworks

By Beacon Staff

Summer is here and the July 4th celebrations are just around the corner, along with fireworks and thunderstorm season. Some pets take these events in stride, but many become frightened, confused or downright terrified, according to the Flathead County Animal Shelter.

Each year many animals run away in a panic from the loud noises of fireworks and become disoriented, lost and sometimes suffer injury or death through accidents. Please take the following precautions to help keep your pet comfortable and safe this summer:

• Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Since all dogs in Flathead County are required to be licensed, the license tag becomes your dog’s ticket home!

• Animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.

• Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. Dogs can slip out of collars, break chains, jump over or dig under fences or jump from a vehicle.

• Don’t take your dog to fireworks displays. Even if they don’t seem to mind, the sounds may cause damage to their sensitive ears.

• If you use fireworks at home, keep your pet indoors and well away from the action. Fireworks can injure pets just as easily as children.

• While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and injury, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

• It is best to keep your pet inside and well supervised. Dogs and cats can bolt out of homes when someone is entering or leaving the house and have even been known to tear through window and door screens. Be sure that windows and doors are securely closed/locked if you hear fireworks nearby, or if you are out and your pet is home.

• For pets that are known to have phobias to loud noises, it is recommended to keep the pet confined to a crate in an interior room of the home. Play some soft music or the television to help drown out the noise outside. If your pet panics easily, talk to your veterinarian about using a safe sedative to relieve your pet’s anxiety. Do this well in advance — unless your pet has had a thorough physical exam very recently, your veterinarian will need to perform a physical examination and possibly blood-work before prescribing medication.

In summary, provide your pets with current identification (like a dog license!), keep them securely restrained, and discuss, if needed, the situation with your veterinarian. Keep yourself and your pets safe, and have a fun summer!

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