The Humane Society of Sumter County is urging pet owners to practice pet safety during this year’s Independence Day celebrations.
According to the society, July 4th can be a very stressful and dangerous day for pets due to the loud sounds and sights of the fireworks.
In a statement issued by the Humane Society, they wrote, “The highest number of lost and injured pets arrive at shelters the days immediately following Independence Day events.”
In order to help pet owners keep their pets safe this year, the Humane Society has listed tips to keep them safe.
- Keep your pets inside or in a secure kennel, especially when you are not home. Extremely loud noises can be quite stressful to animals. With their sensitive hearing, fireworks can cause your pet to panic and some may bolt from their home in terror. Even normally calm pets may bite or scratch out of fear or anxiety.
- Leave a TV on, or play soft music on the radio. This may help soothe your pet.
- Close the blinds/curtains and keep the lights on. Your pet won’t see the bursts of light outside.
- Other precautions should be considered prior to fireworks season, such as Thundershirts, calming essential oils, and as a last resort, a prescription for the right dosage from your vet to help calm your pet during anxiety. Do not give any type of human medication to your pet.
- If you are out of town, make arrangements early for a qualified pet sitter and provide the sitter with emergency contact numbers.
Horses or livestock:
- Make sure no fireworks are set off near them or your barn. Fireworks can ignite a fire or set off a stampede.
- Feeding your livestock hay during fireworks may help distract them.
- Leave barn lights on to diffuse the bright fireworks in the sky.
- Fans blowing on high in the barn can buffer loud noises.
- Talk radio may provide a calming human presence.
- Be sure to have an ID on each horse in case they manage to escape.
- If you are out of town, notify neighbors and/or book a farm sitter early and provide them with emergency contact numbers.
Recovery of Lost Pets:
- The highest number of lost or injured pets occurs during the 4th of July holiday. The fear and chaos of the fireworks cause them to try to escape and many succeed. If they have no identification, they have little chance of being reunited with their family.
- All pets should minimally have two forms of ID: a collar with an ID tag, and either a County License or a microchip. Each ID should have an emergency contact number. Any form of current ID greatly increase the chances of reuniting you with your lost pet!
Lost/Found a Pet?
- Contact the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County at 352-793-9117 and post your pet on their website’s “Lost & Found” page at https://www.hsspca.org/lost-
found-animals. Contact Sumter County Animal Services at 352-689-4400 and visit their facility to review the lost animals that arrived daily. Be prepared to leave them a full description of the animal and your contact information. They also have a bulletin board there for lost pets.
- Create a flyer with a photo of the lost animal and your contact information. Post it at all local veterinary offices, groomers, pet supply stores, and throughout your neighborhood.
- Tell your neighbors. They may know the pet owner or they may be willing to help you in your search.
- Post your pet’s photos & contact info on local social media pages specifically for Lost and Found Pets.
Additional Safety Tips During Holiday Cookouts:
- Know your pet’s temperament. If your pet isn’t used to a lot of visitors or noise or is food/toy aggressive, it’s best to place them in a quiet part of your house until the guests leave. On the other hand, if your pet is a party animal, be sure to ask your guests to not slip them table scraps or take them near fireworks of any kind.
- Do not feed your pet any picnic scraps or bones. Bones can easily break or splinter and cause blockage or perforation within the intestines. Cooked bones are even more dangerous. Be aware that symptoms of a bone lodged in the digestive system may not show up for a day or two. Typical symptoms include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting or diarrhea.
- Do not give your pet alcoholic beverages or toxic foods, such as onions, chocolate, grapes or raisins, and keep them out of reach, as these items can cause an accidental overdose, organ damage or possibly death.