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Keeping Your Pet Safe This 4th of July

Check out these tips to keep your pet safe and happy during the holiday.

While packing the sandwiches, soda and picnic blanket for an evening out to be sure to make arrangements for the family pet.

The Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve are the two holidays each year where the highest number of pets go astray.

According to Gwinnett County Animal Shelter, at least 10 pets went missing in Gwinnett on July 4 last year.

“The fireworks really just scare these poor animals to death “ said Lt. Mary Lou Respess, manager of the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

With an increased capacity for hearing, some animals are especially sensitive to loud noises and are frightened by both the sound and the bursts of color of a huge firework display.

In order to keep your pet safe on the Fourth of July, Lindy Barrett-Grove, president of Hightower Farm & Animal Sanctuary in Snellville, offers the following suggestions:

1) Do NOT take your pet to see the fireworks.

You may enjoy the festivities, but your pet will not.

“I get so many emails each year from people who brought their pet to see fireworks and the animal went missing. One couple brought their dog to Stone Mountain Park last year, and the dog ran when it heard fireworks,” said Barret-Grove.

2) Keep your pet in a safe place.

“It’s important that you keep your pet in a place where they cannot run and get out of the house,” said Barrett-Grove. “A lot of people think it’s OK to leave their pet in the backyard, but it isn’t. I have heard stories of animals jumping through home windows to get outside.”

Barrett-Grove suggests placing your pet in a room with no windows such as a basement or inside a storage kennel.

3) Create a calming mood.

If you’re worried about the emotional well-being of your pet, and hope to keep it from being fearful of loud noises created by fireworks, popper rockets and other celebratory noise-makers, Barrett-Grove recommends speaking with your veterinarian about a tranquilizer.

“Sometimes even something as simple as Benadryl can help to keep your dog calm in the midst of fireworks or a thunderstorm,” said Barrett-Grove. “Before using any kind of tranquilizer on your pet, however, speak to your vet first.”

4) Be proactive.

In addition to these measures it’s important to think ahead. Make sure to place your dog’s collar around their neck, with a tag that lists your contact information, before you leave the house.

“If your dog has a tag, it’s an easy way for whoever finds your pet to reach you and return the dog home safely,” said Barrett-Grove.

5) Be persistent and keep a cool-head.

If despite your best efforts your animal goes missing, contact your local animal control immediately. If your pet is not there on your first visit, do not become discouraged and continue to check back frequently.

“Sometimes pets will hide for a few days or a week because they are still frightened,” said Barrett-Grove. “It’s important that you keep checking because it may be a few days before your pet is comfortable enough to let someone rescue them.”

For more information on ways to keep your pet safe during the Fourth of July visit the Hightower Farm website . If you spot a lost pet please contact Gwinnett County Animal Shelter at 770-339-3200.

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