By LuAnn McLain
We recently learned about some friends who had a tragedy last Fourth of July. Their older dog was killed by one of the younger dogs. Both the younger dogs had been found as strays when about 6 months old. One tended to be a little aggressive.
The family was gone for some time on the Fourth of July and when they returned, they found that the aggressive one had killed the older dog.
Just what role fireworks played in this tragedy will never be known but it is likely that the loud noises and flashes of light had the dogs upset.
Not all pets are afraid of fireworks and loud noises, but a pet which shows no fear one year, might be afraid the next. We cant always predict the behavior of a pet.
This holiday weekend we will want to prepare safety strategies for our pets.
The best protection this time of year is to be sure that pets are secure. Inside the house is probably the best place. It is not wise to take a pet along for outings when fireworks or firecrackers might be exploding. Leave them at home if possible.
Even pets in the house may suffer, however. If left alone, a pet may still manage to escape. Dogs have been known to break through a window or tear through a screen. Leaving someone at home with your pet is the best option. By leaving someone with your pet during the noisy time, you can feel more secure about your pets safety.
For the majority of animal shelters around the nation, July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year. Many pets run away and are lost around this holiday. Concern for pet safety needs to start prior to the Fourth of July since fireworks are not always limited to that day only. The pops and booms can often be heard sporadically for weeks before and after the big day.
The noises and flashes of light may well startle a pet. Even when at home, the fright might be enough to make a pet bolt. Add to that fear a foreign place and the pet may well become hopelessly lost.
Many animals will be picked up and delivered to the shelter and many more people will call looking for their lost animals. Animals can be found miles from home, confused, exhausted, disoriented, and maybe even injured. Dogs will jump high fences or break a leash or chain and then run and run from fear caused by the flashes of light and the noises.
Pets are also at risk of being injured by fireworks. They might approach when the fireworks are being ignited or may be struck by them. The risk is too high to include our pets in our activities on this holiday. Even if you are not planning to have any fireworks, neighbors may and the noise, as we know, carries well.
There are methods by which you can desensitize your pet to noises that he fears. Those methods require a period of time to be worked on and consist of a gradual process. Training tapes can be purchased commercially or designed personally. Sometimes tranquilizing a pet can be helpful. A veterinarian should be consulted for this, however.
Should you lose your pet during this time, check with the shelter right away. Continue checking by personal visits. This is very important because one persons description of a pet can be so very different from the next persons.
It is also important to advertise your lost pet as widely as possible. A photocopied poster with a picture of your pet should be posted in as many public places as feasible. Contact radio stations and newspapers, any veterinarians in the area, and other animal related facilities.
Search your neighborhood thoroughly, knocking on doors and asking to search enclosed buildings like garages and sheds. This needs to be done as quickly as you can.
Keep your companion critters safe during this time of year. Keep them secure and provide them with protection from the noise and other disturbances. Most of all be sure to enjoy the summer with them!
If you would like to write to Pawsitively Pets, send your letter to P.O. Box 1731, Havre, MT 59501.