Celebrate the fourth, but leave your pets safely indoors at home. Franklin County Animal Care and Control picks up more strays this week than any other, primarily because dogs are so frightened by fireworks. The shelter will be open on July 4 so that owners may reclaim their lost dogs.
According to Don Winstel, Director of Franklin County Animal Care and Control, "Pets and fireworks are just not a good combination. We see a dramatic increase in the number of lost dogs every fourth of July and many of those are never recovered by their owners. It’s very sad to see people searching for a lost pet, especially when it’s so easy to prevent."
Winstel urges pet owners to plan ahead so that everyone can enjoy the holiday safely. Follow these tips and both you and your pet will have a safe and happy holiday.
•Leave your pets at home. Pets and fireworks are a dangerous combination. Fireworks and the loud noises can terrify your pet, causing it to bolt and run away.
•Don’t leave pets unattended outside. Don’t leave pets outside this week, not even in a fenced yard or tied up. Dogs trying to escape the noises can become panicked, scale fences they never did before, or injure themselves by becoming entangled in ropes. They can end up lost miles from home, suffer heat exhaustion or get hit by a car.
•Exercise pets early in the day. Take your pet for a walk early in the day before the fireworks start, so it will be tired and ready for a snooze when all the excitement begins.
•Keep pets safely indoors in a quiet place. Shut the windows, close the curtains or window blinds and use your air conditioner or a fan. Turn on the TV or radio to provide a normal sound to help drown out the noise from the fireworks. If you know your pet has a history of anxiety around loud noises, consult your vet before the holiday. Your vet may prescribe a mild tranquilizer to help keep your pet calm.
•Make sure dogs are wearing an ID tag with your current address and phone number, and a 2010 county dog license so the county can return it to you, if it should get lost. About 95 percent of all licensed dogs are reclaimed.
If your dog does become lost, visit the shelter to file a lost dog report and come back every day to look for your pet. The shelter brings in new dogs 24 hours/day. They are open seven days a week, but closed July 5.
Franklin County Dog Shelter is the largest county shelter in Ohio. Last year the shelter took in more than 12,600 lost and unwanted dogs and puppies.