ST. GEORGE – The Fourth of July is a day celebrated with parades, barbecues, flying the flag and striking fear into the hearts of pets everywhere with thunderous displays of patriotism.
July in Utah brings not one, but two days – Independence Day and Pioneer Day – in which we can get send our beloved pets into a pyrotechnic panic when the fireworks launch. The loud booms can scare both cats and dogs, though the reaction from dogs tends to be more pronounced.
Loud bangs and booms will commonly send a cat into hiding while a dog will do its best to escape the noises altogether. Fido will start running and keep running. A dog in St. George could end up in Washington or Santa Clara. These pets can get lost and, ultimately, end up in the custody of area animal shelters. Some dogs may not be so lucky due to potentially being injured or killed in traffic.
In the wake of 2014’s Independence Day, the St. George Animal Shelter reported that 23 dogs were brought into the shelter. Only about half were reunited with their owner by Pioneer Day (July 24).
Tips for pet owners
As a way to help pets cope with the coming onslaught of fireworks, Best Friends Animal Society posted a list of tips on its website suggesting ways to help pets stay home, safe and comfortable:
- Bring all pets indoors whenever neighborhood fireworks displays are likely. Secure dogs in a quiet room, close curtains and play music or turn on the television to drown out the frightening sounds.
- Keep pets away from lit fireworks at all times, including in your own yard or street, as some will chase after the bright moving objects and are at risk to be burned or blinded in the process.
- Ensure that pets are microchipped and wear current identification tags, just in case they accidentally get loose.
- If your pet does go missing over the holiday, check immediately and often with local animal shelters. Go to the shelter in person to identify your pet, rather than calling or emailing, as staff may not be able to respond in a timely enough fashion.
Under Utah law, fireworks can be set off three days before and after the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day.
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