Early Fourth of July Fireworks prompts pet safety reminders

Misty, a blue mastiff, lies in between an isle in PetSmart in Stevenson Ranch on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

This Independence Day, the Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) is reminding pet owners to take extra precautions for their furry friends, according to a news release. The DACC counts the Fourth of July and the days that follow as the busiest days of the year.

“Fireworks can be terrifying for many pets, who may panic, harm themselves or run away,” said Marcia Mayeda, director of the DACC. “Pet owners are not always aware that their pets may react to the sounds and bright flashes of fireworks. This can trigger the fight or flight instinct.”

To ensure pet safety, the department recommends that pets have a collar with an ID tag on it, including a phone number where the owner can be reached. Getting pets microchipped is also recommended.

During the holiday, owners should allow pets access to a room away from windows. Animals should not be kept in the backyard, even if they are tied up, according to Don Belton, public information officer for the DACC. Dogs, in particular, can break free from restraints and jump fences when frightened.

If pets do remain outside, all gates should be closed and locked and fencing secure, as dogs may try to escape if they become startled.

Owners should refrain from taking pets to community fireworks events, as the noise and other activities at these events can easily surprise and frighten dogs or cats.

If a pet does get lost, the DACC recommends that owners check other animal control agencies in case the pet wandered into another jurisdiction or was brought there by a concerned resident.

Residents should also visit local animal care centers daily, as it may take days or weeks for the pet to appear in the shelter.

Another way to keep track of one’s dog is by using a Pawscout tag. This tag creates a virtual leash by linking the Pawscout tag on a dog’s leash to the Pawscout app on one’s phone via Bluetooth. It also has a Community Pet Finder feature, which alerts other users in the area as soon as a pet goes missing, according to Pawscout officials.

“I wanted to do something more meaningful that merged my interest in tech and my love for animals,” said Andrea Chavez, Pawscout CEO and founder.

Pawscout tags can be ordered online from the Pawscout website or Amazon.

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