Updated: Aug 19
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Do you want to you and your pet to have a safe and stress-free 4th of July? Check out these pet safety tips to help you enjoy the 4th of July:
4th of July Pet Safety Tip #1: Exercise
Make sure your pet gets plenty of structured exercise each day leading up to the 4th. You can even squeeze in some exercise that morning before all the parties and fireworks begin! Structured exercise should work out your pet's body AND brain so they can easily be calm, confident, and focused afterwards. Fetch, tug, leash walking, swimming, and agility are all great forms of structured exercise!
4th of July Pet Safety Tip #2: Watch
Stay out and monitor your pets whenever they are outside. Panicked pets can escape the most secure containment systems. Keep your pet indoors as much as possible. Whether it's 4th of July weekend or not, it's always best to monitor pets when they are outside. Maybe the gate was left open, the batteries on their in-ground fence collar died, or they saw a prey animal they just HAD to chase... If we're watching, we can intervene! (Not to mention what could happen if people or other animals enter your yard!)
4th of July Pet Safety Tip #3: ID
Make sure your dogs and cats are wearing clearly displayed ID tags with your contact information on their collars. Check online to ensure your pet's microchip information is up to date. No matter how closely we watch them, accidents happen. If your pet gets lots, id tags with your current information attached to their collar may help them get home before they even reach the shelter. However, collars and tags can get caught and fall off if your pet is on the run. Microchips are the most secure form of ID. Make sure to keep you info updated and ask your vet to check that your pet's microchip is functional and in the right place during their regular checkups.
4th of July Pet Safety Tip #4: Photograph
Take a current photo of your pets, just in case! Make sure to include any distinct markings. When I was a shelter worker, it always blew my mind when owners came in looking for a lost pet with no clear picture of their pet. I generally have roughly 3000 photos of each pet on my phone 😹If you're anything like my hubby though, you almost never take pictures. Each year, set aside some time to take clear photos of your pets! These will come in handy if your pet ever gets lost. Does your pet have heterochromatic eyes? A smiley face shaped group of spots on their side? Make sure to photograph those unique things that make it easy to pick out your pet!
4th of July Pet Safety Tip #5: Stay
Leave your pets at home during the fireworks. Provide them with a safe spot where they can go to calm down -- preferably a crate or bed where you have already practiced place! If your pet has severe anxiety, stay home with them. While we love spending time with our pets, there are plenty of times when it is best for them to stay home. Fireworks, music festivals, crowded areas, or visiting friends with a pet that doesn't get along well with other pets are all examples of time when it's probably best for our pet to stay home.
4th of July Pet Safety Tip #6: Distract
Turn on the TV and/or music before you leave to help cover loud noises. Give your pet a toy stuffed with frozen food to keep them occupied while you are away. If you do leave your pet at home on the 4th, leave some distractions! Crank the music, freeze some yummy treats in a Kong, hide treats all over the house, or whatever your pet likes best.
Remember, if your pet's anxiety is severe you may just need to stay home with them until you've had time to conquer the anxiety with training and/or medication.
4th of July Pet Safety Tip #7: Train
The easiest way to give your pet a stress-free 4th of July is to train them to be calm and confident in any environment. Realistically, if you're concerned about your pet's reaction to 4th of July fireworks, your pet probably needs training! While beginning training today may not make a significant difference in severe anxiety before July 4th this year, if you start now, your pet will certainly be ready to handle fireworks by next year.
Join the KCAT Club so you and your pet can learn to calmly and confidently tackle any of life's adventures or head to kingscreatures.com/book-now to request one-on-one training online or in your own home!
4th of July Pet Safety Tip #8: Contact List
Despite our best efforts, more pets go missing on July 4th than any other day. If your pet goes missing, contact your local dispatch center and animal shelters ASAP. Depending on local laws, your pet may only be required to be held for 72 hours or so after coming in, so it is always best to contact your local shelters the minute your pet goes missing. Remember to be kind! This is their busiest time of year! Make posters with the photos you took of your pet (don't forget to include those distinct markings).
If you see your pet, don't chase them! They are probably pretty spooked. Sit down on the ground with their favorite smelly treats or even walk steadily away from them to get them to follow/chase you.
Do you live in the Corridor? The following organizations may be able to help you find your furry family member. Please be kind and calm when contacting them!
Linn County Non-Emergency Dispatch - 319.892.6100
Johnson County Non-Emergency Dispatch - 319.356.6800
Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center - 319.356.5295
Did you use any of these tips with your pet? How did it go? Feel free to reach out if you need any help getting ready for the next big holiday! Love, purrs, and wiggle butts,