Phil Boerner: 916-649-0599 (California Veterinary Medical Association)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pets Depend on Us for July 4 Safety
Sacramento, CA– Fireworks stands are popping up across California, and the night quiet is interrupted by early celebrations in anticipation of Independence Day. Whether it’s a few kids on the block, a neighborhood celebration, or a town show, the night sky is frequently alive with the sights and sounds of the holiday. The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) reminds everyone that though they are legal in some communities, fireworks cause many animals to be caught somewhere between nervous and terrified.
Reasonable precautions can make our annual ritual of exploding bright colors and loud bangs safer for pets. “The first step is understanding that our animals have a keener sense of hearing than people,” states CVMA President Jon Klingborg, DVM. “Those pops and booms can be harmful as well as frightening to an animal.” Dogs, cats, horses, and even birds might experience pain and panic from an unexpected blast of fireworks.
The CVMA urges pet owners to pay extra attention to their animals’ safety and protection during July 4 celebrations. Many scared pets try to escape the frightening noises and end up breaking through their normal security and running away. “July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters,” adds Klingborg. “Identification is critical. Pet owners must make sure each animal has easily recognizable I.D.”
Watch your pets closely during the long holiday weekend. Even one that hasn’t reacted in previous years could become unexpectedly fearful. Look for common signs like shaking and trembling; barking and howling; excessive drooling; attempting to hide; refusing food; and trying to escape the house, fence, or enclosure. Frightened horses have been known to jump over, or even run through, fences, resulting in serious injuries, lacerations, or impalement.
To ensure your pet stays safe and with you this Fourth of July, the CVMA recommends the following:
- Keep small pets sheltered indoors. Turn on the radio or TV for distraction.
- Never leave pets alone outdoors, even if tethered or in a fenced yard. Dogs especially may escape and become lost or injure themselves by chewing or choking on their leashes.
- Do not take your pet to a fireworks show or leave it in your car unattended. If you must be outside with your pet, be sure to keep it on a leash or in a carrier.
- Protect animals from children who may not realize that waving sparklers or setting off “safe” firecrackers could upset a family pet.
- Keep your pet’s I.D. tags current, so you can be reunited easily in the event it runs away.
- Talk to your veterinarian about a mild sedative or tranquilizer to calm the fears of an extremely stressed dog or cat.
- Horses may need to be sedated. Make sure all sharp objects are removed from their enclosures. If you have stalls, keep them in their stalls rather than outside.
The CVMA wants all pets and their owners to enjoy a safe and sane Fourth of July. For more information about this press release, please contact Phil Boernerat (916) 649-0599.
The California Veterinary Medical Association is the largest state veterinary medical association in the United States, with more than 5,400 members. Founded in 1888, its mission is to serve its membership and community through innovative leadership and to improve animal and human health in an ethically and socially responsible manner.