Keeping pets safe on Independence Day holiday

It's Independence Day weekend, do you know where your pet is? Hopefully, safe by your side. More pets disappear on July 4 and 5th than any other two day period of the year, according to shelters nationwide.

Why? They get frightened by fireworks and other loud noises and flee. There also are increased reports of dogs taken to vets with bloody paws and other injuries from trying escape the cacaphony.

Here are some tips for keeping pets safe from In Defense of Animals (which also provided the cartoon above):

Don’t take animals to fireworks displays. (Seems like a no-brainer)

Walk dogs prior to nightfall. Dogs may become fearful upon seeing or hearing fireworks. Walk your dog on a leash at dusk when it’s both cooler and quiet outside.

Keep dogs and cats indoors. If left in yards or screened patio enclosures, they will often dig, climb or tear out when hearing fireworks or other noises. The safest place is in your home. Create a sanctuary by putting your animals in a quiet room and turning on soft music or talk radio so they’ll be comforted by the sound of human voices.

Speak with your vet. If your companion animal usually becomes anxious from loud noises, talk to your vet before the holiday to determine if medication might be appropriate. (If you want to avoid medication, there are also products like Dog Anxiety Wrap which uses accupressure to reduce stress.)

I.D. is the key. It’s best for all dogs and cats to be microchipped AND wearing a collar and current I.D. tag. In many cities, humane society I.D. tags are available free of charge. But even if you have to pay a small fee, it's worth it, Microchipping is an inexpensive and fast procedure that provides animals with life-long, permanent identification. Speak with your vet about microchipping your animals before the Fourth. And always remember to update your information with the microchip company and your community's humane society if you move.

Call and visit your humane society and animal control (and also Craig's List) immediately if your pet goes missing. Families should regularly visit the humane society to look for your four-legged friend, as well as file lost reports with other animal shelters, humane societies and animal control facilities within a 50 mile radius of your home.