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Tips to keep your pets safe this Independence Day weekend

Tips to keep your pets safe this Independence Day weekend

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Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Fourth of July weekend is sure to bring great food, fanfare and fireworks, but it also comes with some very real danger for pets.

Independence Day in Utah brings a 30 percent bump in the number of missing pet reports, as many animals are terrified of the bright lights and loud sounds associated with fireworks, according to the Humane Society of Utah.

Additionally, pets respond to those loud noises in a variety of ways. Often animals can turn to aggressive behaviors like barking, chewing on furniture and fencing, digging and running away, said Kerry Rood, a USU veterinary sciences specialist.

Animal advocates say it’s important for pet owners to be aware of the risks so they can protect their furry friends this holiday weekend. Here’s a list of tips from Rood and the Humane Society on how to keep your pets safe:

Don’t take your animals to the fireworks show

First, and most importantly, don’t take your pets with you to watch the fireworks. Odds are they won’t enjoy the experience as much as you will, and you may run the risk of them taking off, according to the Humane Society. It’s equally as important to remember not to leave your animals outside unattended.

Make sure your pets are wearing ID tags

The best way to get your animal back if they run is to make sure they can be easily identified. Check to make sure your pet’s tags are current, and experts advise microchipping them as well.

Make sure your pet gets exercise during the day

Animals that have used up a lot of energy are more likely to stay calm during stressful situations, Rood says. Take your pet for a walk, let them run in the yard during daylight hours and make sure they’ve had adequate chances to play before night falls.

Prepare the house

Make sure your home feels safe for your animals. Keep a few lights on, close doors and windows and leave a blanket or toy for your pet to cozy up to if they’re afraid. You might also consider preparing a safe room for your pet so they don’t end up running around the house.

“House the pet deep inside the home where there is the least amount of noise,” Rood said. “Sometimes a basement bathroom or bedroom will suffice.”

Leave plenty of food and water, and allow them to hide if they’re scared.

Stay calm

When you’re calm, your animal will likely follow suit. If you’re anxious and upset during the day, that’s likely to transfer to your pet.

“Stay calm yourself and do not become agitated, as this fuels your pet’s reaction,” Rood said.

If your pet is stressed after fireworks, keep them inside overnight.

Ask your veterinarian for advice

Some pets may require medication to calm anxiety and prevent injury. If you’re concerned, don’t be afraid to ask your vet for advice or help.

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Jessica Ivins

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