Fourth of July is a fun summer holiday for most people, but for many animals, it’s a nightmare. The booming fireworks, festivals and company coming and going make this holiday particularly difficult for our pets. According to Petfinder, more pets are lost on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. It doesn't have to be that way if you think in advance about lost pet prevention. Here are 10 tips.
Extra security goes a long way – Check gates, doors, fences and other areas that a spooked dog (or cat) could escape to make sure that everything is secure. Inspect your dog’s collar and leash to make sure he can’t slip out of the back of the collar and to make sure the leash is both strong and secure. This step goes a long way in lost pet prevention.
Get your dog plenty of exercise before the party starts – Take your dog for a long walk or romp in the dog park before your company comes over or before your community fireworks are slated for the evening. Often the best prevention is leaving your pet at home since the crowds, explosions and everything else that is associated with the parades and fireworks on the Fourth are often too much for dogs.
Keep a tight grip on your dog’s leash – This sounds like a no-brainer, but it's so easy to slip up. A small distraction when you are out with your dog – like a small noise or something blowing in the wind – could startle your dog and cause her to bolt.
Make sure your pet has updated tags and microchips – Dogs slip out of fenced in yards and indoor cats also escape. That’s why it’s important to make sure they are microchipped, that the chips work and are up-to-date. Your dog should always wear his or her tags just in case. It's also important to keep an updated digital photo of your pet if you need to make a lost pet flyer.
Create a safe zone for your pet – Keeping your pet calm is another important lost pet prevention tip. Set up a comfortable spot in a quiet room or crate for your pet. If you have company coming and going, your pet may easily slip out. There is an estimated 30 percent increase in lost dogs during fireworks. Shut the windows, turn on the air conditioning and some background noise before leaving for fireworks.
Check into other calming methods – If a Thunder shirt, Rescue Remedy or other medication works during a storm, you may need to suit your pet up or medicate her prior to the rockets red glare.
Should your dog get out, immediately contact the shelter or rescue. It doesn't matter if you've had your pet a long time or if you’ve recently adopted a dog or cat. If he or she gets loose, call the shelter, rescue or foster home immediately for help. Don’t be embarrassed and consider the safety of your pet - their network could be vital in helping you find your pet.
Get the word out. Dogs do get out and get lost. Contact local police, shelters and rescues, local veterinarians and animal controls to let them know your pet is missing. Provide a description and digital photo, get signs out and utilize social media. The more you reach out, the more your chances of reuniting with your lost pet improves.
Take extra pet loss preventative steps with shy or timid pets -
Keep the lead on. Since shy, fearful or newly adopted dogs will try to run and hide if frightened, leave a short lead on in the house and a longer lead in the yard. He or she should drag it around and you then have something to grab if your dog bolts or runs from you.
Consider investing in a tracking device. There are GPS units available for pets that make it easier to track down those that bolt and hide. A popular option is the Tagg Pet Tracking Device.
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