FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The sounds and celebrations surrounding the Fourth of July may have come and gone, but the threat posed by fireworks and loud noises remains very real for pets.
Frankie Spatafore, shelter manager at the Marion Co. Humane Society, said fireworks go on long before and after the Fourth, so it is essential for pet owners to be aware of the dangers posed. Every pet is affected differently by fireworks and different celebrations, Spatafore said.
We see a big increase in animals that do go missing around this time of year because it can sometimes startle them, especially if they are left unattended or outside. So, we always recommend that if you are aware that something is upcoming to try to do everything you can to ensure your animal is safe, so including: keeping them inside, if possible, if you are going to take them out and about, making sure that they have on a good harness with a leash attached a collar with any kind of identifying markers, contact information for a callback and that kind of thing; and then also for the animals that are more nervous around this time of year in different celebrations, we always recommend going to a veterinarian.Frankie Spatafore
Vets, Spatafore said, have a lot of different ideas to try to assist pet owners with keeping the anxiety down and keeping them feeling well.
For example, they have certain kinds of vest sweaters that you can put on pets that are tight, “that kind of give a little bit of comfort”. They also have some “really nice anti-anxiety medications” that some animals do need to help them through.
There are many signs of an animal in distress and Sapatafore shared a few of them for pet owners.
“You see the first, initial, shock when they get nervous,” Spatafore said. “You can see a tail tuck, sometimes their hair will stand up, shaking, panting that sort of thing, so always watch out if your animals acting kind of different. Try to do what you can to get them situated where they feel more comfortable.”
Another concern around this time of the year, Spatafore said, is heat.
That is why the Humane Society always recommends that you have a checklist, of sorts, before taking a pet outside.
“A great way to test a lot of concrete, pavement, that kind of thing is either take off your shoe or put your palm down on the concrete; see if you can withstand the heat first to ensure that it’s OK,” Spatafore said. “And then you can take them out and about that way. Also, making sure that animals are staying hydrated OK, watching for any kind of forecasts. Of course, with the heat and humidity trying to walk, if you do, if you’re a daily walker with your pet going later in the afternoon or really early in the morning when the heat isn’t as bad. And then, of course, always making sure that they do have on their call or identifying markers and everything as well if you do take them out.”
It is never recommended that pets are kept outside and unattended, Spatafore said. However, she said, different circumstances arise and people have to leave their pets alone.
If a pet is to be left outside and unattended, owners must “always check the weather beforehand”.
“Try to make any accommodations necessary making sure they have shelter where the shade can be, making sure they do have water available, food if necessary, seeing if maybe a neighbor or family member can come in and check in on them,” Spatafore said. “Make sure that they are OK and of course, that they are in some type of enclosure so that they aren’t tided up to get tangled, that kind of thing, and then caller with identifying markers. Always have your tags on.”
Again, Spatafore said, it may not be the Fourth of July, but there are still many concerns the summer season brings with it.
“Anytime there’s parades or anything like that, a lot of pets kind of act the same way during thunderstorms, so a lot of people that do have animals with issues kind of already know how to go about it,” said Spatafore. “But, of course, always making sure it’s something veterinarian recommended, and no one knows your pet better than you, so do what you can for them.”