Every year around Independence Day, animal shelters fill up with pets that have strayed from home after being spooked by the loud bangs of fireworks.
Some people even head up to Canada so they and their pets can have a peaceful holiday.
Here are some tips for keeping your pet calm:
- Keep your pet secured indoors in the quietest room of your home while fireworks are being set off. You can also use soothing music or television as a distraction. Some pets will stay calmer when placed in a secure crate in a darkened, quiet room.
- If your pet is normally kept outside, bring them inside or put them in a garage or basement while fireworks are going off.
- Make sure your pet has at least two forms of identification. This can be a pet license and personalized tag, a license and a microchip, or all three (license, tag, and microchip). Pets with ID have a much greater chance of being returned to their owners.
- Don't assume that your pet won't react just because you haven't had problems in the past. Sometimes pets become sensitive to loud noises later in life.
Unfortunately, terrified animals do get loose and can run for miles, trying to escape the noise. If your pet is lost, check in person at all local shelters and check back often. It may take some time before pets are found and brought to shelters.
Of course the best thing is to microchip your pet. Homeward Pet in Woodinville offers $20 microchipping every Tuesday between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. No appointment is necessary. All pets must be spayed/neutered. More info at www.homewardpet.org
Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) will have animal services staff and extra volunteers will be on duty over the holiday weekend at the King County Pet Adoption Center in Kent to help owners looking for their missing pets.
Volunteers will be able to help owners search the stray pet kennels, file a missing pet report, and create missing pet posters. Residents whose pets are missing can also call the RASKC stray hotline at 206-296-3936 to hear a list of the pets picked up by animal control officers each day.
The King County Pet Adoption Center is located at 21615 64th Ave. S. in Kent. The center is open Monday from 3 to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday noon to 6 p.m., and weekends from noon to 5 p.m. The center will be closed on Independence Day.
Missing Pet Partnership has a creative and highly effective tool for recovering lost pets with a method they call the "FIVE + FIVE + FIFTY-FIVE RULE." They say at any typical intersection, you only have five seconds and five words to get your message across to drivers who are passing through the area where your pet is missing. They say they have had success in recovering lost pets several weeks after they disappeared by helping people create posters using the following rules:
- Make them GIANT so that people driving by cannot miss them.
- Make them FLUORESCENT so that the color attracts the attention of everyone.
- Put them at major intersections near where you lost your pet (and in areas of sightings).
- Keep them BRIEF and to the point.
- Let them convey a VISUAL IMAGE of what you have lost.
Car tagging is also a good method of getting the word out about your lost pet. Writing a fluorescent message on the back window of your car is a proven method for recovering lost dogs, MPP says. How to tag