How new pet owners can prepare for July 4 fireworks scares

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SAN DIEGO — There’s been a silver lining of the coronavirus stay-at-home order for animal shelters: they’re seeing a surge in adoptions, as people bring home new furry friends to keep them company in quarantine.

But with all those new pet owners comes concerns that this year’s Fourth of July fireworks could lead to even more runaways and distressed pets than usual, because inexperienced caretakers don’t know how to prepare.

Especially given a surge of illegal fireworks reports already around the county, the San Diego Humane Society is working to get the message out early — every pet owner should take a few steps to make sure their animal is OK (and stays safely at home) when the scary “booms” start sounding off.

Experts say animals should always be licensed, and have a collar and a tag. Here are some of their other top tips, as written directly by the Humane Society:

  1. Pets are members of our family, so it is understandable to want to include them in your holiday plans. But it’s safer and less stressful for your pet if you keep them inside as fireworks can be scary and stressful for them! Pets have a heightened sense of hearing so the jolts and loud noises cause many animals to flee in search of safe haven. Thundershirts can also help to ease anxiety for firework phobic dogs.
  2. In advance, prepare a comfortable refuge for your pets to retreat to during the holiday. Provide your furry loved one a crate or bed to snuggle in and consider leaving on the TV or playing soothing music to help drown out the noise and ease anxiety. Giving your pets their favorite treat or toy provides enrichment and will help keep them busy throughout the day.
  3. Keep all doors and windows closed, as well as patch up any holes in your fence, in order to keep your pets in and unfamiliar animals out of your yard. If houseguests come over, ensure they know the rules about keeping your pets inside at all times.
  4. Make sure all your pets are microchipped with current contact information tags on their collar and that your dogs are licensed. That way, if your pet does go missing, these steps will assist in a quick reunion. If your pet goes missing, please refer here for which local shelter to contact.

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