Keeping Your Pets Safe This Fourth of July
By Beth Ward
For most people, The Fourth of July is a time for fun and celebration. We enjoy going to, or hosting, parties and cookouts with friends, great food and, of course, fireworks. However, for your pets, the Fourth of July can be a stressful, scary time. Most animals have sensitive hearing, and the loud noises of parties and fireworks can cause them remarkable stress and discomfort. They don’t understand what’s happening and can often become scared and try to escape, which can result in the animal becoming lost, endangered or injured.
At Contra Costa Animal Services, the Fourth of July is our busiest day of the year for taking in lost animals. July fifth is equally busy, as we work to reunite lost animals with their owners. Making sure that your pets are licensed, collared and microchipped greatly increases the likelihood of reuniting lost animals with their owners, and we cannot stress enough the importance of taking those measures to ensure the safety of your animals.
Contra Costa Animal Services is working to reduce the number of stray and lost animals in our community. With two locations in Martinez and Pinole, CCAS takes in over 10,000 dogs and cats per year, making it one of the largest animal sheltering agencies in Northern California. This July, we will be hosting our second annual Mission Unite Program following the Fourth of July. The program seeks to reunite lost pets with their owners by providing information and resources, such as free posters and vehicle displays for people looking for lost pets, to help reunite lost pets with their owners. Building off of last year’s success, the goal of Mission Reunite in 2018 is to reunite as many lost pets with their owners in the shortest timeframe possible.
However, the best possible scenario would be for your pet to be home safe with you. Below are some tips on how to ensure your pets remain safe.
If you know your animal is sensitive to loud noises, there are some helpful steps you can take to make them more comfortable and reduce the chances of them attempting to escape. Whether you are hosting a party or going away for the evening, there are ways you can keep your pet safe and stress-free from the noises of fireworks and other loud noises:
1. Ensure that your pet is wearing a collar that identifies who to contact if they are lost or injured. Additionally, ensuring that your animal is microchipped greatly increases the likelihood of reunification.
2. Keep your pet indoors. Even if they spend the majority of their time outside, bring them in during the Fourth of July. It will help them feel safe and might save your pet’s life. Many pets go missing because they become extremely scared of the fireworks and other loud noises, which results in them escaping and fleeing.
3. Leave your pet at home if you head out to enjoy a Fourth of July celebration. You may think it's fun to take your pet with you to a party, but it is likely that your pet will not enjoy the fireworks, noise or large crowds.
4. If you leave your pets at home on the Fourth of July, consider enlisting a pet sitter for the evening to help keep your pets company and distracted from the noise.
5. Never leave your pets tethered or chained outside on the Fourth of July. When animals become stressed, they will go to great lengths to escape their bonds and often succeed in breaking free.
6. If you know that your pet is prone to stress from fireworks and loud noises, soothe it by closing windows and curtains and turning on the television or a calming radio station to help drown out the noise. Your pet will still be able to “feel” the fireworks, but the distraction will help alleviate some of the stress.
In the event that your pet does escape, call Contra Costa County Animal Services’ Lost and Found department at 925-608-8430 (West and Central Contra Costa), or our Pinole shelter at 510-942-4530 to report your lost pet. Our shelters will be open on Tuesday, July 5th, and our staff will be happy to assist in locating and reuniting you with your lost pet.
Beth Ward is the Director of Contra Costa Animal Services.