Reports of lost dogs and deliveries of found dogs to shelters consistently peak on July 5 and Jan. 1. This is due to the stress and panic of fireworks. The commotion of the loud and unexpected booms and bangs can cause a dog to flee in panic. It is very common for dogs to be frightened of loud noises, and this can cause them great distress. Signs of stress include trembling, shaking, pacing, panting, destructive behavior, whining, barking, vomiting and escape.
It is never a good idea to assume that a dog will tolerate the loud noises caused by fireworks. Dogs change over the years, and a pet that once went along with the celebrations may now be bothered.
Here are some tips to keep pets safe this Fourth of July weekend:
If a dog is nervous, he will likely avoid going outside once the celebrations have started, so make sure all potty breaks are taken care of before the sun goes down.
Keep pets indoors for the duration of the fireworks.
If the dog must go outside, closely supervise him, as unexpected noises may take him by surprise and his instinct may be to run for it.
Make sure pets are wearing collars and ID tags with current information.
Turn the television or radio up to help buffer the outside noise, and keep doors and windows shut.
If no one will be home, make sure pets are left in a safe area indoors.
If away from home, do not be surprised if the dog has been destructive or has a potty accident, as these are ways of coping with the stress.
A new chew toy is a good distraction to keep the dog occupied.
In severe cases of anxiety or fear, a vet may recommend medication.
The last thing we want is for an already frightened dog to be in distress and roaming the streets away from the comfort of his family during a fireworks celebration. Have a plan in place to keep all pets safe and secure this holiday weekend.
YAPPY HOUR: The Louisiana SPCA is the beneficiary of Yappy Hour from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday at Rare Form, 437 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans. Fresh water and treats will be provided for pups while owners enjoy $1 off all craft cocktails. When patrons mention “Yappy Hour,” 15 percent of the proceeds will benefit the SPCA. For information, visit www.rareformnola.com.
SPAY/NEUTER DISCOUNT: The Louisiana SPCA Community Clinic is offering $20.15 spay/neuter surgeries through August for all pets residing in Orleans Parish. In addition, microchips will be available at a reduced fee of $10 in conjunction with a spay/neuter surgery or wellness visit, and “trap-neuter-return” for feral cats will be reduced to $10. To make an appointment, call (504) 363-1333. For information, visit www.la-spca.org/communityclinic.
SPAY/NEUTER DISCOUNT: The Jefferson SPCA offers spay/neuter with a $50 co-payment at participating clinics through its Fix-a-Canine program for Jefferson Parish residents. For information, including a list of participating clinics, visit www.jeffersonspca.org/fix-a-canine.html.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to email@example.com.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@ gmail.com, www.animal rescueneworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.