SIERRA VISTA, AZ (Tucson News Now) - While Independence Day promises plenty of family-friendly fun, the combination of extreme heat, large crowds, and loud noises can make it anything but fun for the furry members of the family.
The most common risk is the potential for fireworks to spook pets, especially dogs, into running away and getting lost. With one of the largest fireworks shows in the state, Sierra Vista will offer a spectacular display in the Domingo Paiz and Stone Fields just after 8 p.m. That's a great time to ensure pets are safe and secure at home.
The Fourth of July festivities do kick off with a Pets and People Promenade in Veterans Memorial Park from 7 to 8:30 a.m. That's the perfect opportunity to include pets in the holiday festivities, decking them out in their best red, white, and blue duds and accessories. Just consider taking them home before the Salute to the Union ceremony in the park at 11:30 a.m., when canons will offer to a salute to the 50 states and a flyover will add to the loud noises that may alarms pets.
"Each year, animal shelters across the country receive lost dogs that get spooked by fireworks displays during the Fourth of July," says Arleen Garcia, the City's animal control supervisor. "It's a good time to make sure all your pets are properly tagged or microchipped, so if they do get lost they can be easily identified and quickly returned."
Leaving pets outside unsheltered is also dangerous due to the extreme heat experienced during the day. And hot cars are the last place for a pet, as the temperature can reach levels that cause brain damage or even death in a matter of minutes.
Taking simple precautions can prevent pet problems on Independence Day. The following tips will help ensure your pet stays safe over the holiday:
Leave pets at home
There are many activities that are perfect for pets, but a public fireworks display or an event where there will be loud, sudden noises is not one of them.
Don't 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. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.
Give pets shelter
Keep your pets indoors at home 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. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep them accompanied while you're attending Fourth of July picnics, parades, and other celebrations.
Talk to your vet
If your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.
Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their panic, pets who normally would not leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Animals found can be taken to the Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.