Pet owners urged to protect pets during 4th of July holiday

As the 4th of July approaches, Kern County Animal Services wants pet owners to be prepared and aware of the dangers associated with the fun and festive activities that occur this time of  year.

“This can be a stressful and scary time for many of our family pets,” said Shyanne Schull, Director of Kern County Animal Services.  “The loud noises and flashing lights associated with the holiday can cause pets a great deal of unnecessary anxiety, resulting in pets behaving differently than they typically would.”

Frightened pets are at risk of escaping the safety of their normally tranquil environments in search of calmer surroundings.  They can break leashes, jump fences, run away and even bite.  As a result Kern County Animal services, like shelters across the country, will see an increase in lost pets entering the shelter.

Shelter staff hopes to see the number of animals that enter the shelter during this time period decrease with simple planning and some basic precautionary measures.

  • Do not take your pet to fireworks displays.
  • Do not leave your pet in the car – with only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects, even death, in a few short minutes.  It is also against the law.
  • Keep your pets at home, indoors, in a sheltered, quiet area – some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you have removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed or ingested.  Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him/her company while you are away.
  • If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises, consult with your veterinarian before the holiday for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he/she will experience during the fireworks display.
  • Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain.  In their fear, pets who normally wouldn’t leave the yard, may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or even death.
  • Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be reunited promptly. 
  • If you plan to go away for the holiday, make sure your pet is properly cared for by a neighbor, relative, or close friend.  Make sure that your pet-sitter is aware of these precautions for the holiday as well.

Loud noises, confusion and fireworks are not the only hazards that pets can face during the holiday.  Alcoholic drinks, chocolate, raisons, onions, grapes, insect repellents, citronella candles, insect coils, oil products, matches, lighter fluid and glow jewelry all have the potential to poison, injure and even kill your pets.  Pet owners are urged to take precautions when using these items.

“Having some form of identification on your pet will increase the chance of being reunited with your pet if your pet does get out,” added Schull.

To help pet owners get prepared for the holiday, Kern County Animal Services and the Friends of the Kern County Animal Shelters Foundation have partnered together to protect pets.  The Foundation will be onsite at the Bakersfield shelter location (3951 Fruitvale Avenue) selling ID tags for pets July 1st from 10 am to 5 pm, July 2nd from 2 pm to 7 pm and July 3rd from 10 am to 5 pm.  Pet owners can customize their tags including shape, size and color.  Cost for the tags is $5 for imprinting on one side or two sides imprinted for $6. 

If a pet is lost, Kern County Animal Services urges pet owners to come to all 3 of their shelters on July 5th to walk through the kennels to look for their lost pet or they can log onto www.co.kern.ca.us/acd to view all of the lost/stray animals at the shelter.

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