Pets | Fourth of July tips

Helping your pet cope with the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July can be a festive day, with family gatherings, cookouts and fireworks. But it can be a traumatic time for your pets. The loud explosions of fireworks can be overwhelming for dogs. Watch your pets for symptoms of anxiety (shaking, whining, hiding). Here are some tips from the SPCA of Tampa Bay to keep your pets secure:

• Don't leave pets outside alone.

• Give your pet his own space where he can feel safe, such as an indoor kennel covered with a blanket.

• Keep the windows and curtains closed to reduce the noise and bright flashes from fireworks.

• Distract your pet with other "normal" noises, such as the television or music.

• Every pet should have clearly marked and updated identification. Ensure your pet's microchip contact information is current.

If fireworks scare off your pet, here's what to do

Many scared pets run away, even if they haven't reacted to fireworks before. "July 5th is our Lost and Found Department's busiest day," said Marissa Segundo, public relations manager at the SPCA of Tampa Bay in Largo. "The phone rings off the hook with frantic pet owners who lost their scared best friend. We can't stress enough the importance of having updated identification on your pets around the holidays, especially cats. Identification is your pet's best ticket home. If you have a microchip make sure it is current."

The SPCA has a checklist you can use to help find your missing pet:

Lost pet owners' checklist

� Ask you neighbors if they have seen your pet.

� Call local animal shelters to fill out a lost and found report and visit the shelters for visual inspection.

� Place a lost pet sign in your yard.

� Ask your letter carrier if they have seen your pet.

� Check with children in your area.

� Prepare and distribute fliers with a current picture of your pet. Include information from the Animal Description Guide, right.

� Check with local veterinarians, emergency clinics and pet groomers.

� Check the lost/found sections in the newspaper daily.

� As soon as possible, place a lost pet ad in the newspaper.

� If you have recently moved, check your old neighborhood.

� If your pet has a microchip, keep the microchip number handy. If your contact information has changed contact the microchip company to update it. Call Animal Services to update license information.

� If you do not find your pet, check with local animal shelters periodically so your file is updated.

� When you find your pet, notify the animal shelters, as they will continue to search.

� If you find a lost pet with no external identification, take the pet to an animal shelter or veterinarian to see if the pet has an internal microchip.

Helping your pet cope with the Fourth of July 06/30/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2008 1:42pm]

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