Keeping pets safe from fireworks

Franklin County Animal Care and Control advises that you leave your pets indoors this Fourth of July.

The county picks up more strays after the Fourth than any other time of the year, primarily because dogs are so frightened by fireworks.

According to Lisa Wahoff, director of the shelter, "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."  

Wahoff urges pet owners to plan ahead so that everyone can enjoy the holiday safely.

Don’t let your pet become a statistic. Follow these tips and both you and your pet will have a safe and happy holiday.  

•Leave your pets at home. 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. Put your pet in a quiet room, away from outside sounds. 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.

•Make sure dogs are wearing an ID tag and license. Check your dog’s collar now, before it gets lost. Make sure your dog is wearing an ID tag with your current address and phone number, and a 2008 county dog license it can be returned 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 a day. They are open seven days a week, but closed July 4.

The Franklin County Dog Shelter is the largest county shelter in Ohio. Last year the shelter took in more than 13,300 lost and unwanted dogs and puppies.

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