In getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, take a moment to check that safety precautions are in place to keep your pets safe. While fireworks can be heard and seen throughout San Benito County, there is a real threat of pets running away from home or becoming extremely anxious because of loud noises.
BenitoLink reached out to local veterinary offices and paired their responses with animal organizations, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), to provide tips on how to care for pets during the Fourth of July holiday.
Keep your pets at home
While you may have the urge to take your pet with you to festivities, animals get anxious and can become fearful of large crowds and/or the loud noises associated with fireworks. Your best bet is to keep your pet at home.
“Keep your pet indoors, in a confined area with loud music or the TV on to help drown out the noise. Do something to help them feel calm,” said Charrie Wright, office manager at the Hollister Veterinary Clinic.
If your pet tends to dig or destroy items when they are anxious or scared, putting them in an appropriately sized pet crate is an option. You can also reach out to your veterinarian to see if sedatives would be an appropriate way to get your pet through the holiday if you have an overly anxious pet. Note that all local veterinary offices are closed on July 4 so making contact beforehand is key.
Make sure your pet has clear identification
If your pet leaves home or gets lost on the holiday, it is important that they have identification. Make sure that your pet has a collar on with your name and phone number clearly legible. Pets with microchips can also be tracked.
The AVMA recommends taking an updated photo of your pet for reference if needed.
Keep pets away from sparklers and glow sticks
If pets are with you while celebrating the Fourth of July, make sure to keep all fireworks, including sparklers and glow sticks, away from them.
While it sounds obvious to keep your pet away from open flames, note that substances used to create sparklers and glow sticks can result in health problems for your pet if consumed. As explained by petMD, “Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.”
Pets can also run into health problems if they ingest a glow stick and have pieces of the plastic obstruct an airway or get into their intestinal tract.
Do not change your pets’ diet or give them table scraps
While it can be tempting to give pets table scraps during the holiday season, try to refrain from doing so. Common items found at picnics and gatherings, such as beer, onions and grapes can be hazardous for pets.
Talk to guests if celebrating at home
If celebrating the holiday at your home, remind guests about not feeding human food items to your pet. Also make sure your guests keep doors closed while going in and out of your home to prevent the possibility of your pet getting out.
If you find a lost animal
If you find a lost animal in the coming days, here is how to help.
If the animal is friendly and allows you to get close, check the pet’s tags and call the owner to let them know you have found their pet.
If the animal is friendly but has no tags, reach out to the Hollister Animal Lost and Found Facebook page to post a photo of the animal with its information. You can also bring it to Hollister Animal Control to hold until the owners are found.
If you cannot get close to the animal, you can also call the Hollister Animal Control office at (831) 636-4320 to report a lost pet. The Hollister Animal Lost and Found Facebook page will also post any information you have on the pet, such as a description and where the pet was found.
If you are able to catch the pet but unable to contact Hollister Animal Control, or if the office is closed, you can place the lost animal in their temporary kennels next to their main building at 1331 South St. in Hollister.